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Horn Care

This is a discussion on Horn Care within the Before & After the Hunt forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; I'm hoping to get some information about horn care for the European mounts I'm having done. I choose to have ...

  1. #1
    buzz4me2 is offline New Member
    Dec 2011

    Hunted Newfoundland, SA, Oregon, California, Utah, Montana, Wyoming

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    Default Horn Care

    I'm hoping to get some information about horn care for the European mounts I'm having done. I choose to have the taxidermy done in SA. I have seen a lot of reports of taxidermists over boiling the heads and causing horn damage, teeth falling out when shipped, and the horns looking like they are painted black when they are done.

    I have relayed my concerns to the taxidermist and they said they would take note of them. They told me that the finish they put on the horns is what causes them to look so dark. I prefer the natural look. They said they can skip the step that makes them look dark. However they warned me the horns could start to have some damage over time.

    These trophies are from my first trip to SA and I'd really like them to turn out well and hold up over time. Does anyone have any info or advice on the process with the taxidermist? Does anyone have any information on the horn sealing that turns them darker?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Diamondhitch's Avatar
    Diamondhitch is offline AH Legend
    May 2011

    Member of SCI

    Hunted Canada (AB, SK, NWT, BC) USA (NM, TX) South Africa (Limpopo, KZN, Free State, Eastern Cape, Northen Cape), Kyrgyzstan

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    Boiling the horns darkens them regardless of whether it is overdone or barely done but it MUST be done. The horns are attached to the bony cores by a layer of skin and flesh. If the horns are not boiled and removed from the core or boiled with holes drilled along the length and preserved for horns that cannot be removed from the core then they WILL rot from the inside out. Over time they WILL begin to stink and after even more time they WILL begin to seep rotten greasy fluid to the surface causing nasty stinky staining that will destroy the mount as well as any desire you have to display or even possess the mount. (also long before this happens your wife will make it disappear)

    The good news is that if you choose a good thorough taxidermist who actually knows how to care for the horns they can be restored to the natural color in the mounting process. If it is really important to you I would throroughly research your taxi and possibly consider using one in the US (still research first because many on this side of the pond do not do this either). Ask about color restoration and get them to provide photos of before and after and you will find a good one.
    The journey is the reward.

  3. #3
    enysse's Avatar
    enysse is online now AH Ambassador
    Jan 2009

    Member of Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF

    Hunted Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)

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    Excellent advice, Diamondhitch!

  4. #4
    oak22 is offline AH Member
    Jun 2009

    Member of SCI , NTA, NRA

    Hunted Mostly all of the Lower 48, Alaska, Most of Canada, more to come.....

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    it depends on the animal. If it's a critter that the horns stay on like a wildebeest, impala, etc.. then they will be be boiled and cooked to death. They will be cracked and dark and with holes drilled in them. All the soft bosses are off them and the grease is boiled into the horn. The best you can do is to bring them into a good taxidermist that knows African game(not the one down the street that has never touch african game) when you get them throught customs here in the USA and then you will have the trophy brought back from boiled death to the realistic color of that game animal. Most the time if it's a skull mount you want and not a mount, the bones on the nose/nasal area will be very fragile and will require fixing, and the some skull will have grease boiled into them and will have a yellow/green color to them which means it has to be degreased and whiten and the rest of the skull is flaking white material off it so you must seal the skull and then i would mount it to a panel just to be safe on the handling part of it. Then once a year you can pledge ( oil ) the horns and the panel for that new look. Good luck.......

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