Elk "deadhead" restoration

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I felt like sharing this during the offseason. Found a nice deadhead this past year while mule deer hunting. It was "in the white" from, I suppose, two or more years out in the timber. However, it was not "chalky" at this point and surprisingly, no critters ate on it; I had a good set of antlers. When found, It had a good bit of hair and mummified tissue on it, as you would expect. I've Euro'd a few animals here and there and was familiar with the process. I boiled the skull with laundry detergent for a few hours and then loaded it up in the pickup, heading to the local car wash. Once there, I pressure washed all the crud off (pressure washing is the way to go....makes a crappy task easy) and later treated the skull with peroxide to whiten it.

Then came the task of darkening the sun bleached white antlers. I use a product called Briwax from England. Just buy it on Ebay or Amazon. Some hardware stores carry it too. Its a beeswax based wood stain used in the antique industry. Many shades are available but "light brown" gives the most natural look. I daub it on with a bristle paint brush and wipe off with a towel after a minute or so, leaving the tips in the white of course. The Briwax dries/cures to a dull finish that looks entirely natural. I found out early on that the antler chandelier folks use this stuff religiously. I can see why!

I was pleased with the results and felt like sharing. For what it's worth, he scored 338 5/8". I suppose I'll keep him in my shop. I wouldn't want to display him in the house with my bulls.

Elk 1, GON.jpg Elk 2, GON.jpg


Senior Member
I’ve got a deer that I let get bleached out in the sun I’m gonna try your darkening technique


Senior Member
Amazing work!! Those beautiful bulls are worth restoring! You did an incredible job. I'd proudly display him at my home no matter how big or small the rest are!
I used Old English on a buck rack I found that was bleached out. It turned out nice.
I never took a pic. Sorry about that. The rack was solid sun bleached white.....white as a ghost. Not a speck of brown anywhere. The skull was covered with dried up hair/skin which was hard as a rock.
Looks good either way. If you posted without the description nobody would have known this thing was bleach white to start with.