There are things in our lives that hold deep a personal meaning to us. Most of the time it reminds us of an experience we hold close.  Sometimes it is simply to remember that you have been to a place.  If you go on a vacation, you likely came back with a mug or shirt that had the name of the state or some attraction you visited.  Airports are littered with such memorabilia filling spots reserved for items that sale better than others so there’s something to that rhetoric.

We as hunters put in a lot of work doing what we love to do and keep totems to remember the experience, personal drive and determination exerted to reach our goal.  Often, we come up short and pack out a shed or something else we found along to the journey to remember the experience.  These items act like anchors for lessons learned, relationships forged, or grit we didn’t know we had.  

A European Mount is a great way to preserve a memory.  It takes up less space as regular taxidermy and the white skull has a sort of elegance that lightens up a room and produces some good contrast complementing any decor.  You would be surprised how many people that don’t like skin on taxidermy that enjoy this type of mount. 

There are different ways of doing a European Mount like boiling and pressure washing the skull or using dermestid beetles.  We’re going to use a technique called maceration using a bucket with a lid and an aquarium heater.  It is a very simple process that does a great job of softening and decomposing softer tissues. 

Maceration uses naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria in water that breaks down everything except the hard bone.  There is a nasty smell produced by this so be mindful of the neighbors.  Also consider gloves and if you’re squeamish a mask, respirator, or vapor rub will help manage the smell (I didn’t need it).  You will want to change the water out every one to two weeks.  The more you change the water out the faster the process will go. You can do this without the aquarium heater in warmer weather.


Macerating the Skull

1 Bucket with lid

1 Aquarium heater


Step 0 

Aquire a bear.

Step 1

You will want to skin out the head as much as possible.  It will speed things up if you remove the brain.


Step 2

Put the skull in a bucket, add water, install aquarium heater, cover with lid, plug it in and wait.


Step 3

Let the setup sit for 1-2 weeks, drain, and fill with clean water.  Optional: use this time to get rid of any easy to remove tissues. 


Step 4

You will need to continue this process until the skull is mainly clean of all tissues.  Some residual tissue is fine and will boil away during the whitening process.


Whitening the Skull


Cooking pot

40 Volume Clear Developer (40% Peroxide)

Elmer’s Glue


Step 1

Put the skull in a pan and slowly bring to a boil in a 50/50 mixture of 40% by volume peroxide and water then cut the heat.


Step 2

Remove the skull and any teeth from the pot and use Elmer’s Glue to paste them back into the skull.


Step 3

Let the skull rest, it will continue to brighten over the next few days.