Velvet... Keep or strip?

Yukondog

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I've not hunted mulies in velvet during August. But, there is a chance it will happen this year or next.

For those that have shot a buck in velvet what do you do? Do strip the velvet off or do you keep it? If you try to save it what is your routine for preserving your trophy before you can get it to your taxi? Depending on the what time in the hunt a buck was down it may take several days before I'm back in town.

Thanks for the info.

Matt
 

robby denning

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I love to keep them in the velvet, but it's pretty tough unless you're close to the road.
If you can get them in a hefty bag with ice, that will keep them cool and flies off. Then you can freeze-dry them in the freezer for about a year. I've done this once and it worked, but the velvet will become very flat.

I prefer to strip them now and send them in for the artificial velvet. Gets them "puffy" again and is actually more true-to life. Costs about a buck per measurable inch (can deduct inside spread and H measurments). Research Mannequins does the articial process. It's durable and looks good.

Great thing this way is you don't have to worry about tearing up the velvet in the hills on the packout or if the flies get to it.

Vandal did a thread on here a while back and had pics of his artificial. Maybe do a search or he'll chime in again or PM him from the member list under community above.
 

2rocky

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Roy Grace (Bohntr) wrote this up...

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 when I couldn't get the antlers to a taxidermist within one day.

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 (4 in 1 solution works great as does 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, both 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.

Allow the antlers to hang upside down overnight. After the solution/ treated 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 will last forever.
 

Slim Jim

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^^^ this is exactly what my taxidermist told me to do except not to make incisions at antler tips with a blade because the velvet will peel and open up. Instead take your needle that you are using to inject and flush the blood out and prick the tips about ten times or so with the needle.
 

muleyman

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It has been the experience of myself and my mentor in the taxidermy business (a combined 37 years) no matter how well you treat the natural velvet with the best products on the market, eventually you will end up with bugs in your mount. We always recommend artificial velvet to preserve the longevity of the trophy, there are ways to make it look just as natural.
 

BigSurArcher

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I've had good success with Velvet In Tan. I've done it a couple days post kill before with nice results. Poke the tips, hang upside down, then inject starting at the bases and working down toward the tips. When you hit veins you can see them fill up and the solution travels beneath the velvet like a mole tunnel. Once that's done I spray it all over the outside until soaked. After a few hours of drying I'll rinse it of them dry using a hair dryer and a soft boot polish brush to fluff. Honestly it's a pain in the ass even though it looks pretty good after. I prefer hard antlers all day long, except for ones that were stripped of their velvet prematurely.
 

bowuntr

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I treat them in the field with Velvet Tan. I always follow up with freeze drying. I've done about half a dozen racks so far with good success. I have yet to see a buck with artificial velvet... look real. Ed F
 
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Yukondog

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Great info guys, thank you!!! I think I will pick up some velvet tan and a spray bottle. If I mess up, which is highly likely on my first go at it, I will have the option of the artificial velvet as a back up plan.

Good stuff!!

Matt
 

BigSurArcher

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Even if you mess up, it will still look 10x better than artificial. I've seen better looking racks come with 3D targets than real ones with that stuff.
 

robby denning

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Looks like I'm odd man out on this one.
:(
I think I'll go pet my artificial velvet,
sniff, sniff.
 

BigSurArcher

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Sorry Robby, I guess it's not fair to generalize! Probably depends on who is doing the work, and it should be noted that I've only seen a half dozen or so with artificial- not a very big sample size.
 
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Yukondog

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Another question that ties into this issue.... Is it true that the velvet has to be strip for a official measurement?

Matt
 

robby denning

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Sorry Robby, I guess it's not fair to generalize! Probably depends on who is doing the work, and it should be noted that I've only seen a half dozen or so with artificial- not a very big sample size.

No apology needed. Maybe I just don't have good taste (that's what my wife says.)

Yukondog, it depends. If you want to be listed in the "All-Time" listings for Pope and Young, they have to be stripped. However, if you want to keep the velvet, they only give you a one-time listing in the book. Next publication, they don't show your entry. From memory, I think that's how it's done. Anyone else able to clarify better on that?

I know Jed Lowe's incredible (taken in 2005?) non-typ from Colorado was not included "All-Time" because he wouldn't strip them.
 

Matt Cashell

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Even if you mess up, it will still look 10x better than artificial. I've seen better looking racks come with 3D targets than real ones with that stuff.

My velvet buck turned out awesome with the artificial, IMO. Pretty expensive process though.

2011deermount.jpg
 

HellsCanyon

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^Same thing with Cody Robbins world record NT archery buck he shot 2 (?) years ago in Canada... didn't strip velvet and essentially 'gave up' the record book slot.

Mike
 

kuhn4

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I had artificial velvet put on a caribou last year by a company in OR. I was very impressed with the quality and appearance. It should last a long time.
 
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I am with Robby. I took a 160 with my Muzzle loader in velvet. I stripped it and sent it to research for the artificial velvet. I have used various methods over the years on clients work. The easiest to use was a Methanol soak. Soaked it for 7 days hung it for 10 and mounted it. It was a cactus buck and it came in smelling baddddddd. Once it dried no smell.. The client was pleased and to this day no problems. I do recommend the artificial velvet. Bug problems in you trophy room will soon out way the not real look.
 
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