I have been collecting skulls since I started hunting and have found out that it is extremely expensive to take things to a taxidermist. Being a frugal person I have decided to start preserving my own skulls and it has been a very rewarding and cash saving experience. I am currently working on 3 more and have done a coyote and moose and they turned out fantastic! Here’s how I do it:
1. Take the head of your harvested animal and bury it completely in a space that won’t get walked on. Depending on the season and the size of your animal you may need to keep it buried for 6 months until the fur and brain matter is eaten. Another faster way to go about this is to skin the head and boil the skull to remove the meat and brain matter.
2. When you dig up your skull and discover the fur and brain matter has been removed take it out of the ground and let it soak in water, Borax and dish soap for a week. And if you used the boiling method let it cool and then place the skull in the mixture. I used a wheelbarrow in my backyard but you can use any large container that completely covers the skull.
3. Replace the old water with a half and half mixture of bleach or peroxide (many people believe peroxide is better than bleach because bleach can cause bones to brittle or yellow over time) and water and let soak for 5 days. There are other whitening products available that you can apply as well.
4. Take the skull out and give it a gentle scrub with a brush and a sprinkle of borax, rinse it off and let it dry completely. Now you can choose to paint it, carve it, or leave it natural. If the skull still smells like rotten flesh leave it outside for a couple weeks to air out and then add a couple drops of some essential oils to the brain cavity.