Deer Head - How to cut and prepare a Trophy
- Friday, 17 August 2012
(This Roebuck Trophy is prepared as a long nose cut).
If you stalk with a guide you can usually ask that they prepare the trophy for you, personally I charge £95-00. However, if you shoot on your own, or simply wish to give it a go yourself and save a bit of money,the following is a quick guide as to how to prepare your trophy head.
1) Firstly, as soon as you have shot your animal remove the head at the atlas joint and put the whole head in a bucket of water up to the height of the coronets. This will keep flies of the head and start to clean it. If you are pressed for time, you can leave it like this for a couple of days. Don't leave it longer or you'll end up making a grotty job even worse!
(Below Fig 1).
2) When you are ready cut through the skin and muscle from the mouth to the back of the neck then pull the lower jaw away from the main skull and cut it loose. (See fig 1)
3) Roughly skin the rest of the skull starting where the skin meets the top palate. (See Fig 2 Below).
4) For a long nose cut which is probably the most popular, lay the skull on its side take a wood saw and cut a straight line from the back of the skull through the bottom of the eye socket to just below the nose. Once you have cut half way through turn the skull over and start from the other side to insure that you have a straight cut.
If you are doing a large number of trophies it is possible to buy a specialist jig for this. (See Fig 3 Below).
(Below Fig 2).
5) You'll need to then pick out the brain remove the eyes and cut away any large amounts of muscle.
6) Put the whole thing in a pan of boiling water up to the level of the coronets and boil for around 45 mins. Longer for older animals and less for youngsters.
7) Once you have done this remove the skull from the pan let it cool slightly before using a blunt knife to cut and scrape away any loose flesh and sinew. Spend some time over this, it's important. If you have a power washer this can also be put to good effect however be careful of the delicate nose bones.
(Below Fig 3).
8) Finally spoon thick bleach over the skull and repeat this process two or three times until the skull becomes white. Some people also use hydrogen peroxide.
If you want to have your trophy formally measured you'll need to let it dry for at least three months before presenting it. That's it, simple!!
Clearly if you want a short nose cut then the line of your saw will come higher through the eye socket and to the top of nose. For a full skull simply cut away the minimum that is required for you to be able to remove the brain and retain the upper palate and teeth.
Now that you have your trophy head you may decide that it is worth measuring. For more information about how to measure a trophy head follow this link: how-to-measure-a-trophy