Finding a matched set of shed antlers is not easy because the antlers often shed at different times and may end up a long distance apart. If you are lucky enough to find both antlers, mounting them together makes sense and creates an attractive display. Recently introduced commercial antler-mounting kits make displaying a set of sheds easier than ever. With minimal tools and a small investment of time and money, you can make a nice display with your antlers.
Buy an artificial skull plate. These are resin copies molded from actual skulls. Select the size for the species you want to mount.
Cut off the flared bases on the sheds with a hacksaw below the antler burrs. This ensures the sheds sit flush on the skull plate.
Set the shed bases on the skull plate. If they don't sit flush on the two pedicle areas of the skull plate, keep trimming until they do.
Insert a 3/16-inch drill bit into a drill. Wrap masking tape around the drill bit 1 and 3/4 inches from end of the bit so you know how deep to drill.
Set one antler on the pedicle of the artificial skull plate, aligned at a natural angle. If you're not sure how an antler naturally sits, look at a mounted set of deer antlers.
Drill through the pre-existing hole in the pedicle from the back of the skull plate, forward and up into the deer antler, keeping the antler base tight against the skull plate. If possible, have a partner hold the antler and skull plate as you drill. Drill squarely so you don't poke through the side of the antler.
Drill until the masking tape on the drill bit reaches the back of the skull plate. Repeat the process for the other antler.
Remove the drill bit and insert a screwdriver bit into the drill. Insert the screws into the drilled holes and tighten the antlers securely to the artificial skull plate.
Fill in the gaps between the skull plate and antlers, if any, with epoxy. Unscrew the antlers slightly to do this, fill with epoxy, then re-tighten before the epoxy dries.
Mount the antlers. You can simply screw the skull plate to a wall, cover the artificial skull plate with leather or felt like a traditional deer mount, or even attach the artificial skull plate and antlers to a taxidermy form and cover with a deer cape for a shoulder mount.
- Traditionally, you could only get artificial skull plates from taxidermy supply stores. Since about 2009, companies have produced these for consumers. They are available through sporting goods retailers.
- Mountain Mike's Reproductions Web site
- Joe Shead, shed hunter and antler collector, Superior, Wisconsin
- whitetail buck image by Bruce MacQueen from Fotolia.com