Dealling with Mule Deer Velvet

drthornton

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I leave for NV in 12 days for an archery Mule Deer hunt. Should I kill a mountable critter what should I do, if anything, with the velvet on the antlers?

I will be the only hunter so once I kill we (WV Hunter and I) will haul it out and head to Vegas(300 miles and 6 hours). I will have an additional 20 hr drive back to Texas. If I do kill before my 7 days are done we plan to have a little fun in Vegas before he flies out and I drive back.

I have heard things about taking surringes of formaldihide but my initial thoughts are to get the meat on ice and use a processor in Vegas area to process/freeze the meat and freeze the head/cape for my trip home.

Thoughts?
 

Hardstalk

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Cut the tips with a razorblade hang head upside down find veins at base and inject either formaldahyde or 4in1 solution into veins until all blood is gone i have also heard of others rubbing velvet down with same solution and softly brushing to preserve exterior after draining is complete.
 

Pueblo

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I took some nice archery bucks in the 1990s in SE Oregon about 500 miles from home. A taxidermy shop often had a tent set up in the town of Burns to service the Pronghorn hunters. This was about 140 miles from my hunting area. I'd just stop by and pay him $20 for a formaldehyde shot. These mounts are 15 to 20 years old and still have their velvet.

You might check to see if anything like that exists on you route.
 

Hardstalk

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I use great basin taxidermy in vegas. Might want to give him a call and asks what he likes to see done on a velvet buck before accepting it. I remember talking with him and he gets a bit heated when people bring in a rotten head with terrible cuts on the neck and expect a show quality mount.

I usually process my own but in vegas i have heard that john mulls is pretty fair on meat processing. Also on your way thru nevada you will probably hit ely nv and they have taxi and meat processing that would buy you some extra hours in vegas.
 

MJ from Oregon

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If you do freeze them or keep them cool until you get home I have soaked mine in Methanol for 10 days and the velvet comes out perfect. The ones I had used formaldehyde with came out a little rough.
 

RosinBag

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I know Bohuntr, who is a Rokslider wrote an article on this some time ago and it is a proven method. The faster to freeze the better is what I have heard from taxidermist. This year I am going with a a buddy who uses a paste. It comes in a powder form, mix with water, then coat the velvet. This method has worked for him in the past on numerous occasions. If you do the injection, bring latex gloves as the solution is pretty harsh on your skin and wear sunglasses if you have them to avoid any eye exposure.
 

evan williams

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I put mine in the freezer as soon as I got him out of the high country, called my taxidermist and he said to leave it there about a week later he called me and said he was taking stuff to a freeze-dryer and to get it to him. Here is how the mount turned out:




Here is him in the field:




I really like the way he turned out!!
 

Jared Bloomgren

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Sounds like getting to a freezer asap is gonna be difficult for you like it often is for me. I have always found the veins and squeezed all the blood out and have never had problems with mine. If available get an injection concoction to as many places under the velvet as possible. I have a big concern now about one of my high country bucks that had near perfect velvet before tumbling down the mountain side and how he'll turn out. This will really show a taxidermist talent as he is going to try to save it....airbrushing blood red areas where bone is exposed....we'll see! The fake velvet never looks as good imp.
 
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drthornton

drthornton

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Very nice deer Evan and the mount looks great!

I spoke with my Taxi here last night. He has a guy that freeze dries for him and called him for direction. They seem confident that if I can get the head totally caped and cut/clean the skull plate and freeze prior to the trip back I will be fine. 20 hours is a long time though and I don't see how it won't be defrosted. I guess if it comes to that I will put it in the backseat so at least it'll be cooler in the cab rather than in the bed.

Jared I like your idea of squeezing out the blood.
Where do you get formaldahyde or injection concoctions?

So this is really a moving target and I think the situation will dictate what I end up doing. I have several options and will choose the best one. Filing this under "Problems I want to Have".

Thanks for all the help guys!
 

RosinBag

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I did some research and found what Bohntr had written earlier on another site. Hopefully he doesn't mind me cutting and pasting the info here. I know Roy (Bohntr) has killed many velvet high country bucks and is a well respected bowhunter and writer. Here is what he recommended:

From Bohntr-

I can't count how many deer I've taken in velvet and wasn't able to get it to a freezer or taxidermist quick enough to preserve them. Here's what's worked for me over the years if you're unable to get them to a taxidermist within 24 hours.

If you want to properly preserve velvet antlers IN THE FIELD, you will have to inject & brush them with either formaldehyde and/or some of the new less toxic chemicals (4 in 1 solution works great) immediately after killing your trophy. I personally don't like Velvet Tan, as it didn't work as well as other solutions I've mentioned. I was taught this technique by a very respected taxidermist whose specialty was velvet antlers.

First, with a razor blade, make very small incisions at the tips of all points (less than 1/8"). Hang the antlers upside down, allowing the blood to drain. Starting at the bases inject (large gauge needle/syringe) the solution into the veins (you'll see and feel them) that follow the antler. You will begin to see the solution "push" out blood towards the tips. Continue injecting the solution as you work the untreated blood towards the tips. When you reach the ends, make sure you've treated ALL the veins on each antlers. You'll quit injecting solution when the color of the solution is the same coming out as it was going in.

Allow the antlers to hang upside down overnight. After the solution/blood has stopped dripping out the ends, use a very fine painters brush and lightly brush the velvet with the solution. This will prevent bugs from entering the velvet that has no blood. After allowing to dry, lightly "brush" out the velvet to give it the natural uniform look. Remember, wear eye protection and gloves when using formaldehyde or any other chemicals. Slow down and don't be in a hurry to finish. If done correctly, your trophy will last forever.

This of course should only be done if you're in the back country and have no way of freezing the antlers or getting them to a reputable taxidermist in a timely manner. Hope it helps and good luck. [/I]
 

bohntr

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If you can't get it to a freezer or taxidermist in a timely manner here's a portion of an article I did on this very subject:

Generally when archery seasons begin out West, most monster mule deer will still be in the velvet stage of antler development. Many hunters want to preserve their velvet trophy, but are either not able to get it frozen and preserved or get it to a taxidermist in a timely manner. As a result, the velvet slips and they no longer have the ability to mount it with the velvet on. Here's what I've done over the years that's worked for me.

If you want to properly preserve velvet antlers IN THE FIELD, you will have to inject & brush them with formaldehyde and/or some of the new less toxic chemicals (formaldehyde, Denatured alcohol, 4 in 1 solution,or Knobloch's antler in velvet tan). I personally prefer the 4 in 1 solution to Velvet Tan, as it was easier to use for me, however, all will work. A very respected taxidermist whose specialty was velvet antlers taught me this technique.

First, (using rubber gloves and eye protection) take a razor blade and make small incisions at the tips of all points (less than 1/8"). Next hang the antlers upside down, allowing the blood to drain. Starting at the bases inject the solution into the veins (you'll see and feel them) that follow the antler. You will begin to see the solution "push" out blood towards the tips. Continue injecting the solution as you work the untreated blood towards the tips. When you reach the ends, make sure you've treated ALL the veins on each antler. You'll quit injecting solution when the color of the solution is the same coming out as it was going in. Once you think you're done, inject some more to make sure.

Allow the antlers to hang upside down overnight. After the solution/blood has stopped dripping out the ends, use a very fine painters brush and lightly brush the velvet with the solution. This will prevent bugs from entering the velvet that has no blood. After allowing the velvet to dry, lightly "brush" out the velvet to give it the natural uniform look. Remember; wear eye protection and gloves when using formaldehyde or any other chemicals. Slow down and don't be in a hurry to finish. If done correctly, your trophy should last forever.

You can find 4 in 1 solution at the below listed link (page 6). Antler Tan and syringes can be purchased at most taxidermy supply stores. However, I've found large gauge needles and syringes are cheaper at Feed Stores or Vet supply stores.


http://www.touchstonetaxidermy.com/Cat121.pdf
 
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drthornton

drthornton

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Good info Rosin and bohntr...How much 4 in 1 would I need for a single deer and what gauge needle would be optimal?
 
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drthornton

drthornton

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Order is in, guy recommended a pint for a single deer...should be in my hands by Wed next week.
 

JG358

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This of course should only be done if you're in the back country and have no way of freezing the antlers or getting them to a reputable taxidermist in a timely manner.
Hours, day, days...Whats a timely manner?
 
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