As a hunter, you not only hunt for the purpose of putting food on the table, but each year, like the rest of us, you have high hopes of bagging a nice set of antlers, with further hopes of bragging rights.
So the season is over, you’ve earned your bragging rights, now what? You can show all the pictures you want, but think of the statement it will make to have that nice set of antlers hanging on your wall!
Of course, if you want to mount the whole head, then a taxidermist is what you want.
Mounting just the antlers can be an inexpensive and very attractive addition to any home or office wall. And yes, anybody can do this, it can be a little time consuming, but well worth the time spent when you are finished. My husband Bob has been doing antler mounts for many years, and each one is as beautiful as the last.
These are the tools you will need:
¾ inch Plywood (or other soft wood)
Sanding paper or Sanding blocks
Finishing material (the material you want it wrapped in)
¼ inch Hemp rope
The First thing you want to do, is cut the skull cap, including antlers, from the skull, a good rule of thumb is to cut just above the eye sockets and about an inch or so behind the antlers, you want it to lay flat on your plywood without the antlers touching the wood.
Remove all hair and meat from the skull cap and surrounding the antler base, your precision knife works well for this. Allow the skull cap to dry, usually 3- 4 weeks.
Once dried, you can get to work.
Prepare your wood base:
Using ¾ inch plywood cut an oval shape measuring 4 ¼ inches wide X 6 inches tall. The edges should be some what smooth.
Drill two 1/8 inch holes through the antler base, to allow screws to go through into the plywood. Depending on the thickness of the antler base, use screws that will securely anchor into the wood without coming through the back side.
Align the base of the antler knurls even with the top of the plywood, and making sure it is centered; screw the antlers to the plywood base.
You can attach some form of filler, that’s even with the skull cap, to fill in space and help with shaping.
Using drywall plaster, form your shape, the shape will eventually be the size of the plywood, but only after multiple applications, you want each application to thoroughly
Once you have formed the shape you want, use the rasp file to sand down all the real rough edges and bumps. Continue sanding with sand paper or blocks till you have a nice shaped and smooth surface.
The material you use to cover with, is all personal preference, we have found that pigskin is very easy to work with, its thin, comes in many earthly colors and on the stretchy side.
To start, lay the material evenly on top of the mount and staple on the back top and stretch around to the bottom and staple. Continue all the way around, ensuring the material stays taut to keep from getting wrinkles and or folds. You may have to pull some staples along the way in order for the material to lay nice and tight.
To add a finishing touch, hot glue the ¼ inch hemp rope around the very base of the antlers, with the cut to the back. We soak the hemp rope in coffee to get a darker shade.
You now have a finished antler mount ready to be attached to your board of choice.