Gastro Gnome - Eat Better Wherever

Bear Euro...pain in the

AvidIndoorsman

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After having done 30+ euros and 2 bears I thought I had a pretty good method down but this skull kicked my butt.

It's been a 5 month process, so I'm sure I will level out some details, but essentially my POW bear skull was just heinously greasy.

Cleaned the skull using my sous vide, you can see all the grease. 72 hours, at 135 with oxiclean
1571321549148.png1571321588886.png


Sous vide with dawn and ammonia (grocery store crap) for 2 weeks at 125... didn't so shit in my opinion
1571321658443.png1571321685616.png

Soak in ammonia for 2 months, possibly worse?

1571321910990.png

Did a deep dive into the interwebs of taxidermy and got acetone
1571321975204.png

Post acetone for 2 months
1571321994006.png

Soaked in dawn for a week
1571322041438.png

Post dawn
1571322067366.png

Then I got ammonia hydroxide from ace hardware and did that for 2 months, then I rinsed it and soaked it again for a week in dawn... didn't take pictures because now it was hunting season and I got busy. Final product from the last step was pretty good so I went ahead and whitened the skull.

After whitening.
1571322276791.png
1571322288414.png

Part of the impetus for getting all the grease out is I think I want to have it nickel platted by ironcladmetals in Denver... and it needs to be grease free.

Anyway, if you have a greasy skull I would go straight to acetone and ammonia hydroxide.
 
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Jesus, that sounds like it was a pain in the ass. I had a tiny mule deer buck that I had a hell of a time with once. It was like I baked the grease in to the bone. I kept trying to boil it in peroxide and water before I Felt like I was going to ruin the skull. Ended up just taking flat white paint to it, can’t really tell unless you fondle it. Something I’ve started doing is soaking the skulls in water with baking soda for a week or so before I put any heat to it. I don’t have any scientific proof that it works but it seemed to help. Wouldn’t be an option for unless you have a garage or something to stash it in because it gets to stinkin pretty quick. The end result of your bear turned out really good though.
 
Oh man, what a bear! (pun intended). Thanks for the detailed write up. You must have been fit to be tied after it came out of the acetone. Your final product came out great though!
 
Oh man, what a bear! (pun intended). Thanks for the detailed write up. You must have been fit to be tied after it came out of the acetone. Your final product came out great though!
Yeah the acetone freaked me out lol, it actually got decently white after it dried, before it went in the soap. Kinda crazy though.
 
Quite a learning experience there. Thanks for sharing!

Do you think you'd have ever gotten to the same ending by refreshing the oxyclean solution every few days/weeks and keeping the sous vide in the 125-135 range? I find that just refreshing the oxyclean mix every day on deer and antelope helps it continue to degrease, but that's obviously a much lower grease load than a bear head.
 
Quite a learning experience there. Thanks for sharing!

Do you think you'd have ever gotten to the same ending by refreshing the oxyclean solution every few days/weeks and keeping the sous vide in the 125-135 range? I find that just refreshing the oxyclean mix every day on deer and antelope helps it continue to degrease, but that's obviously a much lower grease load than a bear head.

To be honest I doubt it, simply because when I did the ammonia & dawn in the sous vide I really didn't see much difference at all... then I saw a lot of difference with the acetone.

If I was going to do it again, I think I would use the sous vide to clean the skull then get a pot of ammonia at a rolling boil, then drop the skull in and cut the heat. I think it would liquefy and draw out the grease, but would cool off fast enough to not effect the bone.

Honestly I think a coastal bear whose primary diet is salmon is probably the worst case scenario.
 
Bears suck... I've had good luck with all the methods you mentioned on greasy skus, but have not tried ammonia hydroxide. I have a bear that I couldn't get clean, just couldn't get the grease out. I may try the ammonia hydroxide on it and see what happens. Its been sitting for a few years but I have nothing to lose. it soaked in acetone and white gas for a long time.

I have read of guys degreasing with high(ish) concentrates of heated HO as well.

One thing I always do, is get as much fat/tissue off and for sure get all brain matter out before it ever goes into the water. The brain is extremely oily. With sheep I have to rot the horns off in a trash bag, usually takes a week or so. then I hit it with a pressure washer and then drop in either a heated tank for a week, or just go right to the simmer pot. I don't end up with much grease to skim in the pot, at all. I also skim any fat off the top, and squirt a bunch of Dawn in before pulling the skull out. I change water and add a healthy amount of Dawn again for the final "rinse" in 180ish deg water before the degrease soak. Keeping dawn/water mix at 90ish degrees with an aquarium heater really helps as well. My Sheep skull from this year just came out of the degreaser last week, its spotless. Sheep can be pretty greasy as well, but nothing like a bear. They can be awful, as you found out.

Your skull turned out great!
 
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Bears suck... I've had good luck with all the methods you mentioned on greasy skus, but have not tried ammonia hydroxide. I have a bear that I couldn't get clean, just couldn't get the grease out. I may try the ammonia hydroxide on it and see what happens. Its been sitting for a few years but I have nothing to lose. it soaked in acetone and white gas for a long time.

I have read of guys degreasing with high(ish) concentrates of heated HO as well.

One thing I always do, is get as much fat/tissue off and for sure get all brain matter out before it ever goes into the water. The brain is extremely oily. With sheep I have to rot the horns off in a trash bag, usually takes a week or so. then I hit it with a pressure washer and then drop in either a heated tank for a week, or just go right to the simmer pot. I don't end up with much grease to skim in the pot, at all. I also skim any fat off the top, and squirt a bunch of Dawn in before pulling the skull out. I change water and add a healthy amount of Dawn again for the final "rinse" in 180ish deg water before the degrease soak. Keeping dawn/water mix at 90ish degrees with an aquarium heater really helps as well. My Sheep skull from this year just came out of the degreaser last week, its spotless. Sheep can be pretty greasy as well, but nothing like a bear. They can be awful, as you found out.

Your skull turned out great!

Agreed, I really want to find a store that carries the pool shocker, 27.5% HO bring that to a boil and then toss a skull in, although I have yet to find it anywhere.
 
I've had real good luck simmering skulls in a mixture of dawn (lots), water, peroxide, and "quick white" from sallys beauty supply. Although I haven't done a bear that way.
 
I have a bear skull in the freezer now that I have to do for a customer. What is ammonia hydroxide used for anyway outside of this application? I don’t think I had ever heard of that
 
I cheated with a russian boar skull and had a local beetle company handle it.
They commented about how the fat/grease was more of a challenge ...still turned out great...and hassle free.20190128_202705.jpg
 
I have a bear skull in the freezer now that I have to do for a customer. What is ammonia hydroxide used for anyway outside of this application? I don’t think I had ever heard of that
Ammonia you buy at the store is very diluted, this is just stronger so you can dilute it yourself.
 
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