Preserving dead animals isn't for the weak. It's a dirty job. Imagine if there weren't professionals we could pay to beautify our trophies; it would suck.
Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy taking on some game care myself, but I can't say I'm prepared to manage a colony of flesh-eating beetles.
As most of you know, I tagged my first bow-killed whitetail last fall—an Oklahoma buck at Croton Creek Outfitters. I decided to get a European mount (see the finished product here). One of the gentlemen I shared hunting camp with, outdoor writer Mike Lambeth, offered to deliver the skull and antlers to Skulls Unlimited in Oklahoma City for processing. Mike raved about their work, and now I know why.
In short, I pulled up the Skulls Unlimited website when I returned from my hunt and quickly realized they're no small-time operation. I connected with Jay Villemarette Jr., the son of Skulls Unlimited Owner and President Jay Villemarette (aka "Skullmaster"). Skullmaster Jr. was kind enough to snap some photos of my "osteological specimen" during the skull-cleaning process, including the beetle feast.
Fresh in: My Oklahoma whitetail arrives at Skulls Unlimited in Oklahoma City.
Jay Villemarette Jr. removes the flesh from my 7-pointer to begin the European mount.
One last look at my buck's skull and antlers before the beetle bath.
Dermestid beetles dine on a healthy buffet of skull flesh.
Finishing touches are made before my European mount is shipped.
I got some down-and-dirty details about the skull-cleaning business and Skulls Unlimited from Skullmaster Jr. Click here to check it out. Don't miss it, because I'll also reveal how you can score free Skulls apparel.