'Easy' Trophy Bleaching - How to bleach your Trophy Head
Neil Allen discovers a quick and easy way to bleach trophy skulls.
(Above: A beautifully prepared and bleached Muntjac Trophy)
With Roe Buck season in full swing, many of us will be looking for Medal heads or good representative heads which may end up adorning a wall or mount.
Whatever your persuasion on trophy shooting, there is a question of course on whether you keep the head, or simply leave it in the field. Personally when I started stalking I had no interest in taking trophies and was more interested in the pursuit and venison after a successful outcome. However as the years have moved on, and with the more experience I've gained, I've had the good fortune to obtain my own ground and as a result, have been able to pursue Fallow, Roe and more recently Muntjac. With each occasion of grassing a quality Buck, I've thought about keeping the head as a memento, as burying it underground seemed such a waste.
So this led to the question of how to prepare the head? Well thankfully I know a man who I could rely on and as has already written about the subject, yes our very own County Deer Stalking Editor, Peter Jones, cheers Peter! Armed with the ‘know how’, I now needed the various tools to go about preparing the head.
Knife, needle nosed pliers, scalpel (bought in a craft shop), old tooth brush and small brush to apply the Hydrogen Peroxide, all present and correct. What about the all important Hydrogen Peroxide to bleach the skull? This is where I ran into difficulty in trying to purchase it. I wasn't really sure about purchasing the options on the internet as they didn't seem to have enough % of Peroxide in the solutions, but the research did suggest that the correct mixture could be bought through a chemist.
As my good lady wife was heading to our local Boots that day I asked if she wouldn't mind picking up a bottle, what could go wrong? Well I was suitably informed a few hours later that upon her request of said Peroxide, the Pharmacist wanted to know why she wanted to buy it, as it was now deemed a controlled substance. Apparently its sale (at least the higher % solutions) is now restricted due to its known use in the manufacture of Peroxide based explosives! No wonder my wife had some quizzical looks and explaining to do!
I thought my task might be scuppered by this news, but luckily for me a chance passing of another chemist, proved fruitful as I spotted Peroxide hair dye on offer. Is hair dye peroxide the same thing I thought? Well at under £2 per bottle I thought it’s definitely worth a try, especially as it had the right amount of Peroxide in the bottle (12% in fact).
So with Peroxide now bought, I returned home to finish the job. I simply used a small brush to directly apply the Peroxide to the skull and left for a few hours. Not only was this quicker than the research I found suggested, but is also did away with using the Peroxide in conjunction with cotton wool and stuffing the wool in and around the skull.
After 2/3 hours I simply rinsed the Peroxide off and gave it a scrub with the toothbrush, left it to dry and hey presto a sparkling white bleach skull. Feeling quite satisfied with the result, I've now used the same process 3 times on the 3 heads I've kept to show off the Fallow, Roe and Muntjac heads taken from my grounds. The whole bleaching process couldn't have been easier and certainly unexpected.
So save yourself the hassle of finding the right solution online, or explaining yourself to your local chemist and simply equip yourself with some hair dye bleach. Any thoughts on the results would be welcome and of course, if you've found a way to make the entire process easier, do let me know.
Best of luck for the rest of the season!
For more information on how to prepare a trophy, follow this link: how-to-prepare-a-trophy