LET’S TALK ABOUT EUROPEAN MOUNTS – Today let’s talk about the European mount. A style of mount that has been around for centuries and is named after its origins of being created in Europe. I have been a Taxidermist for 10+ years, and I have done well over 1,500+ European mounts. I have seen the European style mount popularity take a path like a roller coaster ride. This year alone we took in and completed over 220+ European skulls. And by no means do these numbers make me an expert. I’m just going to talk about what I experience and what I see in my business.
One reason for the European skull mount trend is that they are beautiful and have their place in the hunters home. There are many variations on what you can do with your European mount. Another reason is the financial aspect for hunters as European mounts are cheaper than a shoulder mount.
Over the last 10 years I have done everything from maceration, simmering skulls, and using beetles, which I’m currently using. They all have their own place for the European skull process. The current trend for the last few years has most hunters believing beetles are the best choice. I will say as a Taxidermist in my experience maceration is the best process followed by beetles then simmering skulls. For the diy hunter that only does a few heads a year, simmering or maceration are the usual choices. For the professional Taxidermist that does it as a business, beetles and maceration are the top two choices.
Let’s talk about the process of you deciding to have a Taxidermist European your trophy. After you harvest your trophy most hunters either call a Taxidermist for pricing or they already know prices. This is where some Taxidermists vary in process and prices. With some Taxidermists you need to reserve a spot with them, so make sure you do that first if needed. Some Taxidermists for pricing charge a flat rate for each species of animal. Other Taxidermists, like myself, charge a flat rate and an additional skinning fee if skinning of the head is needed.
My suggestion is that once you process your trophy, you skin the head of the animal to prepare it for your Taxidermist. You can also cut the eyes out and remove the brains if you can or want to. If you don’t know how to do this you can ask your Taxidermist what they suggest or you can watch videos on Youtube. But none of this is required unless they require it, for the others it will just help the Taxidermist in the process. Do not let your trophy stay out in the heat or in the back of the truck for days. This may cause maggots to infest it or turn your trophy green.
Most Taxidermists will charge extra for nasty heads or refuse to take them. Nobody likes a stinky maggot infested head, trust me! If you skin your animal’s head out you can freeze it until you take it to your taxidermist. If you’re taking it right away to the Taxidermist, skin it out and place it in a game bag so that it breathes a bit until you get there. Remember time is money for a Taxidermist and it’s a business that is very busy especially during the season.
Taxidermists turn around times on finished European mounts vary for many reasons so there is no catch all time frame. Remember Taxidermists are not just doing one project they are usually doing lots, ontop of other work, so make sure to ask what normal turnaround times are. And all species are different and some take longer than others. All Taxidermists will explain upfront their protocols for contacting them or not contacting them regarding your European skull. Abide by them the best that you can. Be patient, your trophy will get done in a timely manner and it will look great!
If you decide to try your own European mount of your trophy don’t feel overwhelmed. In today’s world there are many articles on the process and literally thousands of videos on how to do it. My suggestion is to watch a bunch of the videos and pick the best that works for you. These articles and videos will tell you everything you need to get and use.
The biggest suggestion I can give is do not boil your skull in water. It is the fastest way and worst way to destroy your trophy. In my experience I have learned that most hunters will try to do their own European mounts once and not like it because they either destroyed it, it wasn’t cost effective, or it was way too much work. It’s like an oil change, either you can buy all the stuff and change your own oil to save a bit of money, or pay and let a professional do it. The decision is up to you.