Recently I got my hands on a road killed roe buck. Obviously it was a quite old buck to judge from the teeth and the antlers.
While the remains were for no more good than feeding the foxes and crows, I really felt sorry for the antlers, but at the same time I thought “This is a perfect chance to practice antler coloring, instead of using a medal buck I shot”.
The conditions to start from where not very good, since the buck was killed during spring, right before he finished rubbing off the velvet. There was almost no velvet left, but at the same time the tips were not sharpened and the coloring had not even started.
After cooking the skull and freeing it of the skin and meat I was left with a pretty shattered bone structure from the impact and some strong but dull un-symmetric antlers.
Nevertheless, after one month of drying, I went to our local CIC agency and had the skull rated.
He scored 471g for the whole skull (-90g) and 26,5 cm for the longest antler, but of course massive point losses for color, antler tips and other cosmetics. Still 110,01 points and a bronze medal for a Nordic Roe Buck.
Since I really wanted to give him a decent look, I decided for coloring. After a little googling and consultation with @hunting_philipp (who is always good for a practical tip), I chose to make my own natural coloring.
The recipe: Fresh bark, moss, forest earth and water, which I cooked for 4 hours, and then reduced it until a had somewhat of a slightly fluid paste.
Before applying the coloring I started with the antler tips, rounding them off and polishing them with an abrasive sponge.
After that I took a brush and applied this paste to the antlers, but it was too dark, and not really developing a good texture, as you can see in the picture.
So I added 50% blood (which I normally use for dog training). This made the whole paste more “light red-brown” and resulted in a better texture after drying.
Since the result was too evenly colored, I cleaned the brush with water and started to brush off the edges and highlights, a technique similar to what is called “dry brushing” commonly used by miniature painters. After that I gave the rest of the antlers another go with the abrasive sponge.
So here is the final result, I hope you like it!
Feel free to leave a comment!