How To Clean Deer Antlers

Cleaning deer antlers is important before you mount and display them. Assuming they are fresh from a deer, the antlers have to be cleaned of blood, velvet, skin and other fragments and have to be hardened. Depending on the condition of the antlers, it will take you at least half a day to completely do the job. It is a time-consuming task, yes, but it is quite simple to do. Here is a step-by-step guide.

  • Scrape off fragments of flesh and velvet.The antlers most likely have flesh and velvet all over, so you must first remove them. A utility knife is best to use. To speed up the process, wet the antlers with soapy water and scrape off flesh and velvet. You don’t need to remove everything because it will take time, so remove only whatever you can. Some people let bugs complete the job. They simply hang the antlers where bug can access them and wait until these bugs eat off flesh and velvet fragments.
  • Soak the deer antlers. Fill a huge pot with water. The best for this is the pot that can accommodate the entire size of the antlers. Put the antlers in and leave for a few hours. The soaking process will soften the remaining flesh and velvet fragments, making them easier to remove. If you prefer, you can also add bleach. Although some people say bleach may weaken the antlers, it actually does not do any harm to the antlers.
  • Boil the deer antlers. After soaking, put the pot on a burner or any heat source. Turn it on and wait until the antlers boil. Then, soak them for a few more minutes in the boiling water. Remember that boiling the antlers should be ideally done outdoors. When boiled, antlers seriously stink.
  • Scrape some more. Take the antlers out of the pot using tongs. The antlers are extremely hot, so be extra careful not to burn yourself. Then, using your utility knife or blade, scrape any remaining fragments of skin and velvet. There should be less because soaking and boiling should have removed most of the fragments.
  • Polish the deer antlers. After the scraping process, the antlers will look clean and nice, ready for mounting. But first apply polish and sealant to give them a shiny finish and to protect them from elements. When applying polish and sealant, put a small amount on a soft cloth and evenly distribute the products all over the antlers, paying attention to the crevices and corners in the branches. For a more clean and polished look, you can also use sandpaper.

When already mounted, deer antlers should be maintained and cared for. Regularly wipe them down with a damp cloth, removing dust, dirt, and stains that have accumulated over time. Dry the antlers with a clean dry towel afterwards. Then, bring their luster back by applying polish. Keep in mind that cleaning and maintaining deer antlers can be quite a task, but their added appeal to your house interior is priceless.


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