View Full Version : Backcountry velvet bucks

07-12-2011, 05:29 PM

Just watched Nate's Nevada hunt and was wondering what's the trick to preserving the velvet on a back country hunt?

Have shot sitka blacktails in the velvet but by August in Alaska, the horns are developed and all I ever did was scrape off the velvet.


07-12-2011, 05:40 PM
I have the same question. looking forward to some advice before I hit the mountains late Aug.

07-12-2011, 06:08 PM
I don't have the answer but that was an awesome show. Does Nate EVER go home empty handed?

Bitterroot Bulls
07-12-2011, 07:47 PM
There are handy taxidermy kits available, or get a syringe and some sort of curing fluid (formaldehyde, embalming fluid, etc.) You replace the blood in the veins with the curing fluid. Start by turning the rack upside down, cut the ends of the velvet at the tip points, and inject the formaldehyde (or other curing substance) in to the veins at the bases of the antlers. The formaldehyde replaces the blood. Keep injecting until all the blood comes out and you see the curing fluid.

07-12-2011, 08:51 PM
I killed an archery buck in 2007 and it took me two days to get the velvet rack out of the backcountry. I hung him in the shade when I wasn't moving him. When I got home the taxi told me to put him in the freezer and freeze it. I had no problems and the mount turned out fine. fatrooster.

07-12-2011, 09:44 PM
On one of my deer, my taxi put embalming fluid in the antlers.(he had to get a special permit to get the stuff) I have never had one look as good as that deer does. Others I have put in the freezer for a few months and had no problem with them, they will shrink up a little though.

08-10-2011, 04:57 PM
Here's a decent video (http://elkmtngear.com/blog/taxidermy-talk-velvet-care.html) from a seasoned taxidermist, with some good tips for field care

Best of Luck,

08-10-2011, 11:54 PM
Just get the rack frozen as soon as possible. Dry Ice better, thean regular ice. But beggers cant be choosers. All of my bucks are velvet, and I have froze them until I can get them to the taxidermist.

08-11-2011, 07:42 AM
Here's a short article I wrote a few years back. It's still accurate today.

Generally when archery seasons begin out West, most monster mule deer will still be in the velvet stage of antler development. Many hunters want to preserve their velvet trophy, but are either not able to get it frozen and preserved or get it to a taxidermist in a timely manner. As a result, the velvet slips and they no longer have the ability to mount it with the velvet on. Here's what I've done over the years that's worked for me when I couldn't get the antlers to a taxidermist within one day.

If you want to properly preserve velvet antlers IN THE FIELD, you will have to inject & brush them with formaldehyde and/or some of the new less toxic chemicals (4 in 1 solution works great as does Knobloch's antler in velvet tan). I personally prefer the 4 in 1 solution to Velvet Tan, as it was easier to use for me, however, both will work. A very respected taxidermist whose specialty was velvet antlers taught me this technique.

First, (using rubber gloves and eye protection) take a razor blade and make small incisions at the tips of all points (less than 1/8"). Next hang the antlers upside down, allowing the blood to drain. Starting at the bases inject the solution into the veins (you'll see and feel them) that follow the antler. You will begin to see the solution "push" out blood towards the tips. Continue injecting the solution as you work the untreated blood towards the tips. When you reach the ends, make sure you've treated ALL the veins on each antler. You'll quit injecting solution when the color of the solution is the same coming out as it was going in.

Allow the antlers to hang upside down overnight. After the solution/ treated blood has stopped dripping out the ends, use a very fine painters brush and lightly brush the velvet with the solution. This will prevent bugs from entering the velvet that has no blood. After allowing the velvet to dry, lightly "brush" out the velvet to give it the natural uniform look. Remember; wear eye protection and gloves when using formaldehyde or any other chemicals. Slow down and don't be in a hurry to finish. If done correctly, your trophy will last forever.

08-11-2011, 01:11 PM
Great article Bohntr, do you carry this stuff into the backcountry or leave it at the truck and inject it when you get back? Also where can you purchase these products? Thanks for your insight and knowledge.

08-11-2011, 03:25 PM
Since weight is an issue when I backpack in, I leave the materials at my truck (trail head). When I pack the head and meat out, I spend the time to inject the antlers while at trail head.

All of the materials needed can be ordered at most taxidermy supply stores. VanDykes sells all the materials and they have an on-line store where you can order from your home. You can also but the heavy gauge syringes/needles at most feed supply stores.

08-12-2011, 07:24 AM
Thanks Bowhntr! Never thought about using the same needles and syringes that we use to vaccinate our cattle, they would work great! Good luck in all of your hunts this year.

08-13-2011, 11:53 PM
Anybody ever heard of rubbing the velvet with a rag soaked in turpentine? I talked to a guy who had several mounts with velvet. He said that's what he did before he started the method BOHNTR described. Turpentine sounds a little random, but that is why Im asking.

02-17-2012, 08:50 PM

My taxidermist told me a couple years ago that denatured alcohol works fine...I haven't been lucky enough to try it yet but if I'm backpack hunting I put a bottle of it in my pack as well as some 10cc syringes and needles (I work in a physician office where we do procedures so I can snag a couple of each before season).