Learning how to mount deer antlers is a fun and easy activity.
It may be because you can’t afford a taxidermist or the antler size doesn’t make the grade, or you just want to do it yourself.
The antler mount will not only be a physical reminder of your hunt, but also respect the animal’s life and spirit.
To begin you will need a set of antlers. Use a handsaw and cut an oval skull plate from the deer skull so you have the antlers intact on a small oval piece of bone.
Boil the skull plate for 20 minutes to remove any remaining tissue and then clean it with a wire brush and bleach.
List of Materials
- Paper and pencil
- Mounting plaque
- Jig saw
- Polyurethane or wood stain
- Leather or deer skin or velvet
- Foam or Crayola Model Magic Clay [air dry]
Preparing the Wood Plaque
An important part of learning how to mount deer antlers is choosing the wood for your plaque, and some of the simple woods look very nice when they are stained – such as oak and pine. Others could include cherry, willow and walnut. Check with your lumber yard to see which have the best grains.
Choose a piece that is large enough for the size of the skull plate. A popular size is 8 inches by 10 inches.
Take a piece of paper and sketch the design of your plaque. Now trace that onto your piece of wood and then cut the design out using a jigsaw or table saw.
Sand the edges straight or use a router.
Put two coats of polyurethane [or stain if you wish] on the plaque allowing drying time in-between coats. Dark antlers should have a light to medium stain, and light antlers should have a medium to dark stain. When putting on stain, follow the grain of the wood. Test the looks by trying it on the back of the plaque first.
Attaching the Antlers
Drill two small holes through the skull plate at the thickest part. Hold the antlers on the plaque to check their position. They look good about a third of the way from the top. Drill corresponding holes in the plaque.
If you don’t want the outline of the skull to show, you can tape foam around the skull plate and between the antlers to give it some shape. Alternatively you can use clay to build a moulded shape for the skull plate.
Cut a piece of leather [or deer skin or velvet etc] large enough to cover the skull plate plus half an inch to go over the edges. Measure the distance between the antler burrs and cut those holes out of the leather where the antlers will be.
Stretch the leather over the skull plate with the edges rolled under so it is free of lumps and indentations. Fasten securely with tacks on the underside.
Place the skull plate on the plaque so the pre-drilled holes in the plaque match up with the ones in the skull plate.
Secure the skull plate using two long drywall screws.
Some people attach a small photo below the skull plate or include details of the date and place of the hunt.