Velvet deer antlers are beyond cool, especially when you come across a velvet buck during hunting season. It’s pretty rare, because most (but not all) bowhunting season start after bucks have shed their velvet. There are a few exceptions. States like Florida, Wyoming and Montana are a few that come to mind when it comes to early deer hunting seasons that coincide with white-tailed bucks still having full or partial racks covered in velvet.
I’ve had the good fortune of hunting several such locations over the years, and I’ve taken about a half-dozen bucks that had either full or partial velvet crowns. The most recent one was last fall in Wyoming where I shot a really cool-looking white-tailed buck as he was in the process of shedding his crimson velvet. We captured that hunt on video, and the show just aired on Pursuit Channel. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out here on our YouTube page:
The unfortunate thing about all of those bucks I’ve shot is that I really don’t have one that has been properly preserved. For the most part, the velvet bucks I’ve taken were mostly hardened underneath. That makes for a really difficult job for a layman (me) or even an experienced taxidermist. With the deer hunting season already upon us (in Florida) and approaching fast (Sept. 1 in Wyoming), I spent some time on my lunch break today searching for ways to preserve velvet antlers. This video by Dick’s Taxidermy is a great tutorial for how to do it yourself. Thanks to Curt from DT for taking the time to make this video and share it with everyone!
The 5 key points to preserving velvet deer antlers are:
- Remove all meat and tissue from the skull plate BEFORE even thinking of doing anything else. This meat and tissue will eventually dry up and then rot, making your rack a target for insects. That’s a bad thing!
- Once the skull plate is perfectly clean, soak the velvet rack in a mixture of water and 37 percent formaldehyde. To do one rack, find a container that can easily hold at least 6 gallons of fluid (and more for headroom). The mixture should be 2 gallons of 37 percent formaldehyde (available online) and 4 gallons of water.
- Let the rack / skull soak in the formaldehyde mixture for 10 days. Do not disturb the rack while it is soaking. This soaking allows the velvet to obtain 100 percent saturation. This is absolutely critical. A lot of guys try to inject velvet antlers with syringes filled with formaldehyde. As Curt explains in this video, injections only go so far, and they leave a lot of room for error (untreated areas). This will eventually lead to decay (and a stinking mess!)
- After 10 days, remove the rack from the solution, rinse it lightly with water, and screw the rack to a piece of plywood. Place it in an area where it won’t get disturbed (back room of a garage works fine), and set up a box fan to keep air circulating. This will help dry up the formaldehyde and “cure” the antlers. Keep the fan on the rack for at least 48 hours.
- That’s it .. you are now ready for the next steps in preserving your trophy — whether that means affixing the rack to a wall plaque or having the rack prepared for a shoulder mount.
For more taxidermy tips, be sure to check out the Dick’s Taxidermy page. These guys know what they are doing!
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Pursuit Channel is Top Landing Spot for Deer Hunters
Nielsen analytics for the recently completed first quarter of 2018 illustrate a winning performance for Pursuit Channel during primetime and on weekends. The report confirmed that Pursuit content, which is created by one of the world’s most notable lineups in outdoor broadcasting, outpaced expectations as a perpetual viewership machine, one capable of incrementally growing audiences during notoriously weak periods of outdoor television usage.
With its top programming, Pursuit Channel maintained a very solid 0.05 CVG AA%* throughout the quarter during weekday primetime (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.).
Weekend primetime (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) schedules helped spike America’s favorite outdoor network to a 0.07 CVG AA% during the same period.
“High-quality outdoor entertainment, plus a big, expanding universe and Nielsen analytics continue to collectively run out in front as one of the very best values across the entire spectrum of outdoor media,” said Pursuit CEO Rusty Faulk. “Day in and day out, week after week, this network provides the best-in-class bang for the buck.”
“Pursuit knocked it out of the park with a 0.08 CVG AA% to end the weekend daytime category (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) of the quarter,” said Greg Sugg of Moose Media. “But that our weekends are also so well received is really no surprise. Education, conservation and down-home fun makes us the weekend go-to destination for millions of family oriented hunters, fishers and shooters.”
*Coverage AA%: Percentage of households viewing a program or daypart within its coverage area.