BRAINERD, MINN. – Have you ever noticed that antlers mounted on a board never look quite right? That's because the rack is usually secured to the plaque at an improper angle. Since plaques are flat, the antlers must be mounted in such a way that the back antler tines don't touch the wall. As a result, the antlers appear as though the buck faced you with its head down. An unflattering pose.
I have a method for mounting antlers which alleviates this problem. By incorporating an angled extension board, I'm able to pull the antlers a comfortable distance from the wall while presenting them in an upright position, just as the antlers appeared on the buck with his head up — a much more natural view.
As you kneel beside the whitetail buck you just bagged, the details of the hunt will be vivid. You can't wait to share your excitement with your hunting partners.
Unfortunately memories fade fast. Sure, you might have tacked the buck's headgear to a board and hung them somewhere discrete. But do you remember the day — the special moment? After all, trophies are less about bragging rights and more for recollections of good times. Those cherished moments should be preserved as best as possible.
That's why I suggest including a photo with your antler display. A good image taken at the kill site, or soon after, really brings back the moment. A small brass plate can also be added to designate the date of kill, weight, antler measurements or any other data you find pertinent. Or you can jot that information on a piece of paper and glue it to the back of the plaque. It's amazing how time flies and memories fade.
Materials needed to build an attractive display include: a square foot or two of leather to cover the skull plate, some decorative braided cord for trim around the antler bases, a large base plaque (I chose an arrowhead-shaped plaque for the antlers pictured here, since I bagged the buck with a bow and arrow), a smaller plaque to which the antlers can be attached, an angled piece of wood for pulling the antlers from the wall and two-part epoxy putty.
All of the necessary materials were purchased from Van Dykes Taxidermy Supply. Total cost: less than $70. Contact Van Dykes at 1-800-843-3320 or on the web at www.vandykes taxidermy.com.
Bill Marchel, an outdoors writer and photographer, lives near Brainerd.