Removing Horns from a bighorn deadhead?

GrantK

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Western CO
I was lucky enough to pick up a lion-killed bighorn skull a couple of years ago, does anyone have experience getting the horns off of the skull on a long-dead Bighorn? the hide and what flesh is left is essentially mummified, I've tried boiling it while I've been working on elk euro mounts but it doesn't seem to be softening up to a point where there is any chance of actually getting the horn off...
do beetles work on something like this? soaking? let me know what has worked for you...
 

utah400elk

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Sterling, VA
Did you get a plug for the horns it can be big trouble to be caught with them unplugged. Not sure about cleaning them and my friend with beetles said they don’t work well on rotten meat…not sure how they would do on dried out old skull.
 

Carl 9.3x62

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I'd be careful using beetles, they will eat the horn sheath. They did on an old pronghorn I cleaned up anyway. I've never removed sheep horns, but I have heard from taxis that you need to whack the crap out of them with a rubber mallet or something after you boil them to break up the connective tissue. If you don't want to boil it anymore, I've also heard sealing the skull with a by of water in a black trash bag and placing in the sun for a few days will loosen the horns up, but you'll still probably have to whack them. White bones creations has a bunch of youtube videos on cleaning sheep skulls.
 

ccc23454

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water in a black trash bag and placing in the sun for a few days will loosen the horns up, but you'll still probably have to whack them.
This what i have seen then after thrown down on a sheet of plywood to break free. (Dont get water on you after its soaked!)
 

neffa3

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I am surprised you can pick them up. WDFW won't let you even pick up ewe heads.
 

Greenhorn

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put in a black contractor bag with a tiny bit of water and let sit somewhere in the heat for 2- 3 weeks, don't let the horns soak in the water. then, beat them bad boys with a rubber mallet or with a 2x4 like they owe you money.
 

HiMtnHntr

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Cook the skull up to base of horns with borax/dish soap mix in a tub that allows the horns to drape over the sides. Cover if you can so it can steam. Refill as needed to keep the water up. After a day of simmering, take the skull into your garage and slam it down on the horn bases. Raise it above your head and throw it down like you're trying to crack the concrete. It won't break the concrete or horns, but should jar em loose. Might take a few tries. Since we give you the advice, show us this ram.
 

Hunting Wife

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FWIW, the wildlife lab in Bozeman would literally let them sit outside for months/years, then take them out and throw them on the concrete pad until the horns popped off before boiling the skulls. They didn’t seem any worse for wear after that treatment, surprisingly.
 

Greenhorn

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Cook the skull up to base of horns with borax/dish soap mix in a tub that allows the horns to drape over the sides. Cover if you can so it can steam. Refill as needed to keep the water up. After a day of simmering, take the skull into your garage and slam it down on the horn bases. Raise it above your head and throw it down like you're trying to crack the concrete. It won't break the concrete or horns, but should jar em loose. Might take a few tries. Since we give you the advice, show us this ram.
Borax will discolor the horns
 

wytex

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Wyoming
Watched our taxi throw a head, horns first, on the concrete to get some BHS horns to pop off. He doesn't like doing it but says sometimes it is the only way to get them off.
Spouse did a euro on an old deadhead and couldn't get the horns off, they do not stink yet and it was dead for a few years.
 

PrairieHunter

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Laramie, WY
This reminded me of a deadhead from Wyoming I got to take a photo of.


129850_5b8e9a65f49f472d9bd8aa35548b62bc~mv2.webp
 

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