Thursday, December 6, 2018

Arkansas: make your own European-style mount from this year’s trophy buck

JONESBORO — The Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center will host a special workshop on how to prepare your own European skull mount of your deer from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15.

Although there’s no substituting a professionally prepared mounted head of a trophy deer from a taxidermist, many hunters like the look of a cleaned skull mount, commonly called a European mount because of its popularity with big-game hunters overseas. Skull mounts also cost a fraction of a traditional shoulder-mounted deer from a taxidermist. In fact, hunters willing to put in a little sweat equity can create their own works of art at home with minimal equipment.

“We will have a seminar and a demonstration to show people first-hand how to make their own mount,” said Cody Walker, education program specialist for the AGFC. “We’ll take folks from a harvested deer all the way through the process of skinning, cleaning, boiling, bleaching and sealing their trophy.”

Walker says people are welcome to bring photos to share with the group, but the center has already procured a few deer heads to use in the demonstration. Attendees will not be able to bring their own trophy to the workshop, but will leave with all the knowledge to finish their own mounts independently.

“We had this workshop last year, and a few people were really shocked at how simple it actually was to do,” Walker said. “The trick is to do a thorough job at every step.”

Walker says even once the skull has been whitened, it’s important to seal it if you want your mount to last the test of time.

“Bone is a very porous material, and using peroxide on it will really clean it up, but dust can gather in those pores,” Walker said. “Anything that sits in your house will gather some dust over time, and that dust can give the mount an off color and be impossible to clean out. So the sealing helps preserve your trophy.”

Taxidermy is only one of many classes that revolve around hunting and angling at Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center. Since its establishment in 2004, the center has prided itself in focusing on conservation and how hunters and anglers are part of the big picture.

“We do several different taxidermy seminars for different types of animals during the year,” Walker said. “We also really try to put on as many ‘Hunting 101’ or ‘introduction to hunting and angling’ workshops as we can. Recruiting the next generation of hunters and anglers is part of our mission, and it’s one of the things we enjoy doing most at the center.”

Walker said one of the most recent successes was a full-day workshop for area schools devoted to trapping and its importance in conservation. Students spent a whole day learning how to set specific types of traps to humanely take furbearers and even created their own trap sets under the supervision of an experienced trapper.

“It was so popular, we had to have two different days of workshops, and we plan to do another one soon just on handing the furbearers to get the most out of the furs they provide,” Walker said.

The European antler seminar is free but registration is required. Call Walker at 870-336-6787 or email at cody.walker@agfc.ar.gov to register.