Black horns on mounted trophies... Is this a normal?

Discussion in 'Taxidermy' started by BCHunter, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. buffybr

    buffybr AH Veteran

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    I think many taxidermists paint the horns black "to make them look better," and to cover up mistakes.

    When I shot the buffalo in my avatar, the horns were grey and polished smooth. When I got his mount back from the taxidermist, the horns were cracked, very rough, and black. I think the roughness and cracks were from over boiling them in Zimbabwe.

    I now tell my taxidermist NOT to paint the horns, and they look more natural.
     
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  2. bluey

    bluey AH Legend

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    that kudu skull mount looks awaesome jnhall, polished up like that , it wasn't to shabby before the polishing either ,mate
    I seen a eland skull cap with the horns polished up like your kudu ,at afton house ,in the loungeroom .

    is there any reason why the taxidermist don't include the bottom jaw in the skull mounts ?
    been wondering on some skull mounts come july ,and would want the bottom jaw included .
     
  3. RogerHeintzman

    RogerHeintzman AH Enthusiast

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    The painting of the horns is correct, done by default as they think they are black in the wild. Many US taxidermists do the same thing. Another process used is a mixture of linseed oil and lamp oil. This also darkens the horns. In time the horns will lighten up but not to their natural state.

    If the painted horns have not been sealed with something, the wire brush should remove the paint (if water based) down to the natural color. If lacquer paint was used, then lacquer thinner, elbow grease, wire brush or even wood striper will be needed.

    What I use to seal the "Natural Horn" is Krylon flat in a rattle can. With Krylon the natural color jumps out at you. Krylon dries in 10 minutes.

    If the horns are oily or sticky because of the boiling or soaking in water (maceration method) then they need to be washed in Dawn with warm to hot water and dry completely.

    Always request natural horns, do not assume they will be kept natural.

    ***Another option if you do not want to brush, strip, etc. etc. is to take clay and roll it out the size of you finger and let dry. Rub the clay onto the horns then use your hand and rub the dust all over the horn. School or sidewalk caulk the right color can also be used.***
     
  4. RogerHeintzman

    RogerHeintzman AH Enthusiast

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    bluey,

    1 .Because you did not request the lower jaw.
    2. There is a additional charge for the lower jaw.
    3. It is not convenient using the lower jaw when mounting on a display plaque.
    4. That's the way its always been done.
     
  5. bluey

    bluey AH Legend

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    rog
    the only skull mounts ive done , I done my self (trail and error )and then , I never tried to keep the bottom jaw,as the few ive done are mostly kept outside as garden gnome replacements
    the skull mounts I want to get done , the additional cost wont be a problem , I figure by getting the hides tanned for wall and floor rugs and a whole skull mount done
    the cost would be close to shoulder mounts ,
    none of the skull mounts will be mounted on a plaque , id rather them on a hook ( home made skull hangers)
    I don't know how its always been done its a way of keeping a trophy ive only just started to like the look of .that and the fact im running out of room in our house
    but thanks for the advice ,mate .
    I will be sure to talk to the taxidermist in east cape about it
     
  6. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Bluey, I would skip the bottom jaw and the rugs (seriously...they only collect dust), unless it's an axis deer, to me a hide is a hide.
     
  7. bluey

    bluey AH Legend

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    im pretty sure I will get them done with the bottom jaws .
    the skins , some are definates .
    the lioness is a 100% bottom jaw staying .
    if joysie topples a couple of them red hartebeasts one of them will definitely become a rug
    blue wb is another as is an impala
    with joysies giraffe (why , l keep asking myself) either a shoulder mount and then a floor rug, im thinking of keepin it shin bones to use as hangers for the rugs she chooses that go on her walls
    and definatley two of its hooves for book ends. and she wants to get the skull done
    but the horns wont be painted black , on any of the skulls or shoulder mounts .

    funny you mention the chittel deer skins , enysse
    we are off to Townsville on Wednesday to hunt some of them , and ive alredy decided to do a couple of skins ,
    then we are doing a rusa hunt down in Brisbane
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
  8. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Can't argue with a man that has priorities! Have a good time bluey!
     
  9. bluey

    bluey AH Legend

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    thanks ,cobber
    its always and adventure when me and my little brother get together ......
    thanks for your advice too eric , its always rock solid , and it will be in my mind when doing the final summary .
     
  10. Aaron Nietfeld

    Aaron Nietfeld AH Veteran

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    By Krylon Flat, you mean a flat black?
     
  11. thi9elsp

    thi9elsp AH Enthusiast

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    I had two issues here in the U.S. the taxidermist stepped up and gave me a discount because of my issues. 1) Cape Buffalo - mine was a bit soft in the boss at the very front - they filled it in, textured it and colored it to match. I never asked for not wanted that. 2) They spray painted the buffalo tail black - I guess to make it look more consistent. But, the tail hairs actually had some auburn color to them which both Ann and I remembered and validated in looking at photos. At least they did something after the fact but still disappointing.
     
  12. reedy0312

    reedy0312 AH Elite

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    I also received my trophies for SA and all horns were black, way different than I remembered them and the way the were left. I certainly did not ask for them to be painted, if I get more work done, I guess I will specify not to do any altering of the horns
     
  13. buck wild

    buck wild SILVER SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Even as a taxidermist I have struggled with this on my own stuff. I recently spent 2 hrs getting my kudu horns back to original. They were darker and cracked- both from the boiling process in Africa. I checked with my dip and pack and all they used was a formaldehyde type insecticide, no extra horn treatments that would darken. After cleaning, I used beeswax along with various colored powdered clays to get them back to the dull shine and color I wanted. I'm very happy with them now- 2 hrs later :(
     
  14. sonnyn913

    sonnyn913 AH Member

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    Those polished Kudu horns look awesome!
     
  15. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH Legend

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    Guess I am a purist. I want as much natural as possible. To each his own.
     
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  16. reedy0312

    reedy0312 AH Elite

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    Me too Johhny, I was disappointed when I found my kudu and gemsbuck horns were Jet black
     
  17. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH Legend

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    Ya not for me for sure.
     
  18. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Think about it....how hard is it to paint something? Especially black with no shades of other colors?
     
  19. Aaron Nietfeld

    Aaron Nietfeld AH Veteran

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    If the horns are left without oil, what are the chances of the bases cracking in a drier climate. Has anyone had this happen? Or has anyone left them un-oiled, and not had it happen.
     
  20. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    I have hundreds and hundreds of non treated loose horns from various species in Namibia which has a very dry climate and none are cracking or splitting, some are quite old as I have had them for over 30 years and I would say that they have not changed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016

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