How To Bleach A Deer Skull-No Waste: 5 Simple Steps to a Beautiful Skull Trophy

When it comes to hunting, one of the best parts for many of us is taking and cleaning trophies. Whether it’s a rack of antlers or a pelt, they make for impressive talking pieces. One of the favored of deer hunters everywhere is a nice, white skull.


It’s something of an involved process, but if you follow these instructions we can show you how to bleach a deer skull to a sparkling white that will leave you the envy of your hunting friends.


In this blog post, we're going to show you how to bleach a deer skull. This is a great way to preserve your hunting trophy and keep it looking its best.


We'll walk you through the steps of prepping the skull, bleaching it, and then sealing it. With just a little bit of effort, you can have a beautiful trophy that will last for years to come. Let's get started!


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What is a bleach a deer skull

Bleaching a deer skull is the process of using Hydrogen peroxide to remove all the flesh and tissue from the bone, leaving behind a clean white skeleton. This is typically done by boiling the skull in a large pot, though there are other methods which can be used.

The advantage of bleaching your own deer skull is that you can control the level of whiteness, as well as how long it takes for the process to be completed. It also allows you to add any additional decorations or finishes that you desire.

The downside of this method is that it can be quite time consuming, and if not done properly can result in damage to the skull. It is also important to note that hydrogen peroxide is a hazardous chemical and should be handled with care.

Why bleach a deer skull?

The most common reason to want a bleached deer skull is for mounting purposes. A nice, white skull makes for an excellent contrast against a dark pelt and really makes the rack stand out. It’s also much easier to work with when it comes to hanging or attaching to plaques and logs.

Another good reason is that it just looks cool. If you’re looking for a unique piece to add to your décor, a bleached deer skull definitely fits the bill. They make great conversation starters and can really add some personality to a room.

What You’ll Need

Make sure to gather what you need before you get started. Since the process will take a few days, we’ll list them in the order you’ll need them to give you a good overview of the whole thing and you can definitely purchase things as you go.

  • Deer Head
  • Sharp Hunting or Skinning Knife
  • A Pot Large Enough for the Skull
  • A Two By Four Big Enough to Fit Across the Pot
  • Hydrogen Peroxide of at Least 6% Concentration
  • Spray On Clear Coat in Your Desired Finish
  • Optional: A Plaque or Log

If you’re averse to boiling, you might want to look into deremestid beetles and if you’re not the type who’s willing to raise them yourself then there are services available online which can handle the cleaning process for you with them. You’ll definitely want to invest if your deer is a true trophy, as it reduces the risk of damage from boiling.

The hydrogen peroxide can be a bit difficult to source in large enough quantities and chemical suppliers are generally unwilling to sell them to private individuals. It is, however, used for bleaching hair and is available through hair product suppliers quite easily.

Do not attempt to use bleach in lieu of hydrogen peroxide, it will damage the bone irreversibly and makes for an inferior whitening agent anyways.

Related: Where To Shoot A Deer – Top 5 Best Places To Shoot A Deer

How To Bleach A Deer Skull- In 5 Steps

1.) Cleaning the Skull

how to whiten a deer skull

Before you can even begin the process, you’ll need to have skinned and scraped the skull to get it ready for the further preparations you’ll be wanting to do. Removing the head with a saw before preparation can make things rather easy, then remove the eyes and get to skinning and scraping.

Assuming you’ve cleaned a deer before, the initial part is quite simple but the scraping is a little bit more specialized of a skill. With a good knife, you can make short work of this task. Don’t worry too much about getting every little bit off of the bone just yet, that’ll be taken care of in the next step.

Your goal here is to get as much off as you can without damaging the skull in any visual way, so have at it and try not to scratch the bones.

Protip: You can skip this and the next step if you want by utilizing deremestid beetles, professionals who work with bones often opt to do this but it’s an entirely different skillset if you don’t opt to send your skull off.

2.) Boiling

boiling deer skull

Once you’ve done the rough cleaning, it’s time to start the process in earnest. You’ll begin by adding calcium carbonate to water at a ratio of ¼ cup per gallon of water. This can be a bit tricky of a process, but as long as you’re careful you’ll be good.

Bring the treated water to a rolling boil, but do not add the skull to the water while it’s at this level). Allow temperature levels to fall to a simmer and place the skull in the water for thirty minutes or so. Scrape it again, the flesh and hair bits should come off easily.

Once you’ve done this, use a hose to clear out the nasal tissues and brain and boil for another twenty minutes or so if there’s still tissue left. Don’t over-boil, this can damage the jaw, loosen the teeth, and have other unintended side effects which will make your trophy less attractive.

Protip: You can easily keep the antlers clear of the water by hooking them onto a board held over the pot. Use wood thick enough it won’t bend from a little bit of steam and you’ll be golden.

3.) Peroxide Whitening

deer skull

You’ll want to let the skull dry out entirely before this step, allow it to sit until there’s no moisture at all. It’s best to do this in the shade, although it will add some time the slower drying process can avoid damage to the skull.

It’s imperative to set up the bath in this instance without getting the antlers in it. Hydrogen peroxide can be a bit difficult to source in quantities, so try hair dressing suppliers. Anything from 12% down will work pretty well, higher concentrations aren’t ideal and are harder to get ahold of anyways.

Mix it 50/50 with water and allow it to soak until it’s reached a desired level of brightness, the bone will actually dry out and look a bit lighter than it does while wet. The process can take a few days, but don’t forget about the skull or you can damage it.

4.) Clear Coat Lacquer the Skull

mule deer skull european mount for sale 14653 the taxidermy store

Once you’ve let the peroxide dry off, you can quite easily help to maintain the finish of your skull and antlers for a Euro-mount or whatever use you want to keep it for by applying a clear coat of spray lacquer.

The finish you want to go for will depend on your personal tastes. I like to use a matte finish to give the sun-bleached, untouched bone look but some will prefer to go with a gloss or satin finish which can result in a very attractive finished skull albeit one that’s obviously been altered post-bleaching.

This doesn’t just give your skull a nice finish, it can also help to prevent mold or anything else from getting into it and will keep air from yellowing the skull for a long time to come.

5.) Optional: Mounting

skull-mount-8point-whitetail

Many hunters opt for the attractive Euro-mount style after finishing their skulls off. The skull will be placed on a plaque, parallel to the wall and facing downwards in order to show off the rack.

Many hunters will opt to use a belt sander to level out the bottom of the skull and ensure a flush mount in order to maintain a perfect angle. You can easily attach it by running two screws through the back of the plaque and into the skull just be careful about the length and placement as you don’t want things to protrude.

A more creative mount can be made by slicing the front piece of a log out with the bark included, screwing the skull on, and then reattaching the front of the log to make for a round “post” style of mount.

Tips for bleaching a deer skull

1. Thoroughly clean the skull before bleaching to avoid any damage.

2. Use a mild bleach solution and let it soak for 30 minutes to an hour.

3. Scrub the skull gently with a toothbrush to remove any remaining flesh or tissue.

4. Rinse the skull well and allow it to dry completely before applying a clear coat of lacquer.

5. Optionally, you can mount the skull using a belt sander to ensure a flush mount.

6. Enjoy your beautiful deer skull!

Conclusion

We hope that we’ve given you some ideas on how to bleach a deer skull and what to do with it afterwards. While hunting strictly for trophies is often frowned upon, there’s no need to let any of the animal go to waste once it’s been harvested and with a few simple steps you can make an attractive trophy with minimal fuss and skills required.

Like our tutorial? Have your own methods? Let us know in the comments below.

FAQ How To Bleach A Deer Skull

How do you keep a deer skull from rotting?

The best way to keep a deer skull from rotting is to thoroughly clean it and then apply a clear coat of lacquer. This will seal the skull and prevent any air or moisture from getting in and causing it to rot.

How do you get the brains out of a deer skull for mounting?

The easiest way to remove the brains from a deer skull is to boil it for 30 minutes to an hour. This will loosen up the brain matter and make it easier to remove. You can then rinse the skull well and allow it to dry completely before mounting.

How do you clean a deer skull for euro mount?

The best way to clean a deer skull for euro mount is to boil it for 30 minutes to an hour. This will loosen up the brain matter and make it easier to remove. You can then rinse the skull well and allow it to dry completely before mounting.

How long does it take to bleach a deer skull?

It usually takes around 24 hours for the bleach to work its magic on a deer skull. However, you may need to let it soak for longer if the skull is particularly dirty or greasy.

How do you whiten a deer skull?

The best way to whiten a deer skull is to use a mild bleach solution and let it soak for 30 minutes to an hour. You can then scrub the skull gently with a toothbrush to remove any remaining flesh or tissue. Rinse the skull well and allow it to dry completely before applying a clear coat of lacquer.

What do you use to bleach a deer skull?

The best thing to use to bleach a deer skull is a mild bleach solution. You can make your own by mixing one part bleach with ten parts water. Let the skull soak in the solution for 30 minutes to an hour before scrubbing it gently with a toothbrush. Rinse the skull well and allow it to dry completely before applying a clear coat of lacquer.

How long do you soak a deer skull in bleach?

You can soak a deer skull in bleach for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. However, you may need to let it soak for longer if the skull is particularly dirty or greasy.

What is the best way to mount a deer skull?

The best way to mount a deer skull is to use a belt sander to ensure a flush mount. You can also attach it by running two screws through the back of the plaque and into the skull just be careful about the length and placement as you don’t want things to protrude. A more creative mount can be made by slicing the front piece of a log out with the bark included, screwing the skull on, and then reattaching the front of the log to the back. This will give the skull a 3-D look.

Can you put a deer skull in the oven to dry it?

You can put a deer skull in the oven to dry it but be very careful not to overheat it as this could cause the Lacquer to melt or the bone to crack. A better option is to use a hair dryer on low setting if you need to speed up the drying process.

How do you whiten an old deer skull?

You can whiten an old deer skull by using a mild bleach solution and letting it soak for 30 minutes to an hour. You can then scrub the skull gently with a toothbrush to remove any remaining flesh or tissue. Rinse the skull well and allow it to dry completely before applying a clear coat of lacquer.

How do you clean a deer skull cap?

The best way to clean a deer skull cap is to boil it for 30 minutes to an hour. This will loosen up the brain matter and make it easier to remove. You can then rinse the skull well and allow it to dry completely before mounting.

How do you get the meat off a deer skull?

The easiest way to remove the meat from a deer skull is to boil it for 30 minutes to an hour. This will loosen up the brain matter and make it easier to remove. You can then rinse the skull well and allow it to dry completely before mounting.

Can you put a deer skull in the dishwasher?

You can put a deer skull in the dishwasher but be very careful not to overheat it as this could cause the Lacquer to melt or the bone to crack. A better option is to use a hair dryer on low setting if you need to speed up the drying process.

How do you clean a deer skull for wall mounting?

The best way to clean a deer skull for wall mounting is to boil it for 30 minutes to an hour. This will loosen up the brain matter and make it easier to remove. You can then rinse the skull well and allow it to dry completely before mounting.

Is it legal to possess a deer skull?

In most states, it is legal to possess a deer skull as long as it is not attached to the carcass. However, it is always best to check with your local wildlife department to be sure.

What do you do with a deer skull?

There are many things you can do with a deer skull including mounting it, using it for crafts, or simply collecting it. You can also have it professionally cleaned and whitened to create a unique piece of art.

How much does it cost to get a deer skull cleaned?

The average cost to have a deer skull cleaned is $50 but this can vary depending on the size and condition of the skull. It is also important to factor in the cost of shipping if you plan on having it done by a professional.

Where can I find a deer skull?

You can find a deer skull at many different places including hunting stores, online retailers, and even some thrift stores. You can also find skulls for sale on websites like eBay and Craigslist.

How do you clean a deer skull with the meat still on it?

The best way to clean a deer skull with the meat still on it is to boil it for 30 minutes to an hour. This will loosen up the brain matter and make it easier to remove. You can then rinse the skull well and allow it to dry completely before mounting.

Can you use vinegar to clean a deer skull?

Yes, you can use vinegar to clean a deer skull but be sure to dilute it with water as undiluted vinegar can damage the bone. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to the vinegar solution to help mask the smell.

What is the best way to clean a deer skull?

The best way to clean a deer skull is to boil it for 30 minutes to an hour. This will loosen up the brain matter and make it easier to remove. You can then rinse the skull well and allow it to dry completely before mounting.

How do you remove the brain from a deer skull?

The easiest way to remove the brain from a deer skull is to boil it for 30 minutes to an hour. This will loosen up the brain matter and make it easier to remove. You can then rinse the skull well and allow it to dry completely before mounting.

Can you use bleach to clean a deer skull?

Yes, you can use bleach to clean a deer skull but be sure to dilute it with water as undiluted bleach can damage the bone. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to the bleach solution to help mask the smell.

How long does it take to Whiten a deer skull?

The amount of time it takes to whiten a deer skull will vary depending on the method you use. If you are using a chemical whitener, it could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. If you are using a natural method like soaking in the sun, it could take weeks or even months.

What is the best way to Whiten a deer skull?

The best way to whiten a deer skull is to use a chemical whitener specifically designed for skulls. These can be found at many hunting and taxidermy stores. You can also find them online at retailers like Amazon.com.

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