How to Whiten a Deer Skull?

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For hunters, it makes a lot of sense to have remembrances of what they catch. Apart from enjoying deer’s meat and storing all the valuable nutrients, one needs something to remind him/her of great hunting experiences. The best souvenir to gift yourself is a white skull for a trophy.

Deer skull is an excellent trophy to be proud of.  Such skulls command more respect than those of smaller animals.  Some hunters hire taxidermists to clean and whiten the skulls. However, it is cheaper and even an exciting opportunity to clean and bleach your own trophies.

This article takes you through a procedure of how to clean and whiten a deer skull.

Why Whiten a Deer Skull

Before mounting your deer skull on the wall, whitening is one of the essential things you need to learn. Like all other types of furniture, a deer skull should look clean and bright. This means making it look brand new. It should be free from dirt and all forms of grim, which it may have caught during hunting.

Deer skulls are also not originally white. In fact, there is always a lot of blood and fur around them, thus losing their creamy white color. For better enhancing when cleaning, proper whitening is mandatory.

Besides, knowing how to bleach deer skulls saves up on time and the efforts of looking for a taxidermist. There is also no need to spend quite a considerable amount of money on something that you can do yourself.  

Skull Whitening: Bleach vs Hydrogen Peroxide

When skull whitening, people often refer to it (wrongfully) as skull bleaching. If you want to add a white deer skull to your collection, bleaching is the procedure to follow. You can actually clean the skull all day long and every manner but fail to attain the desired pristine white. Therefore, treating the skull first is crucial.

The term “skull bleaching” is somewhat misnomer. It creates an impression/perception of using literal bleach to little-informed hunters. However, it would be best if you never used literal chlorine bleaching agents on a bone.

Without a doubt, bleach removes any excess tissue from bones but will definitely damage your skull permanently. Treating your deer skull with bleach makes it porous and chalky since bleach breaks down its (skull) structure. Eventually, the skull will deteriorate into dust. To make it worse, bleach does not deliver the expected beautiful bleach-white color. Instead, it turns the skull into a pretty funky yellow color. This is how to tell when someone mistook skull cleaning for literal bleaching.

The perfect reagent to use when bleaching a deer skull, on any other bones for that matter, is hydrogen peroxide. It effectively saps color out of bones without damaging their bone integrity. This is because hydrogen peroxide is less abrasive compared to bleach itself.

Although it offers the safest whitening channel, it takes relatively longer than chlorine-based bleaches. There is also a glaring risk that your containers’ tops might blow off from pressure, since the containers must be tightly covered when soaking the skull in hydrogen peroxide. 

Why is Bleaching Bad for the Skull? How to Tell a Deer Skull Is Bleached

Below are signs that your deer skull is bleached;

  • Tiny white pieces start flaking off when handling the skull.
  • The skull becomes very fragile. There is a high likelihood the thin sections will break and crumble compared to a well-processed skull.
  • The skull is very porous. The topmost layer is eaten away hence exposing underneath more porous layers.

How to Clean a Deer Skull

Before whitening your skull, cleaning is also an essential part of the process. That said, there are several ways to clean deer skulls. 

Steps to Follow When Cleaning a Deer Skull.

Prepare the Skull for Boiling

This involves removal of the hide and as much flesh as possible. It’s recommended when the animal is still warm to prevent grease from entering into the skull. Nevertheless, it can be done at any point after taking down a deer. See our article on How to Cape Deer </