European Skull Mounts; The Shoulder Mount Alternative

For many bowhunters the pinnacle of their successes in the field often end up as a nice shoulder mount on the wall in their den (or in the living room in some lucky cases).  Up until just recently I never gave a second thought to what I would do with my trophies when they were picked up from the butcher shop.  They were put in the back of the truck and delivered to the local taxidermist – along with a hefty deposit check!  Several months later after agonizing over which pose I wanted my new trophy to assume for the remainder of his days, I would write that second painful check and then ride home alongside my new mount.

After some spirited talks with the wife about where the new addition to our family would reside (and I ask, what’s so wrong with the bedroom anyways?) I would pick out a spot in the den, office, basement, or garage and proudly display the result of my hard work.  Eventually friends, family and my hunting buddies would come over to stand around and discuss the finer points of my new mount.  In most cases the talks would always center around the fact that I thought he was bigger when I first saw him..  But alas, I digress!  As my walls have begun to fill up and my attempts to convert the bedroom into a new trophy room have failed, I have begun to discover the elgance (and affordability) of a nice European skull mount.

My first Euro mount came about after harvesting a nice mid-October Illinois whitetail.  Unfortunately due to a single-lung shot I was unable to recover the buck right away.  By the time I luckily stumbled upon the buck the next day, laying in a creek not 40 yards from my truck, the meat and cape had both been ruined.  Although it’s not the optimal outcome I was glad to have recovered the animal.  Not wanting to go through the hassle of finding and purchasing another cape for the buck, I decided to get a Euro mount done.

Roughly a month later I got a call from my taxidermist that my buck was ready to be picked up.  In comparison to the standard 12 month wait on a shoulder mount this was some quick turnaround!  I picked up my skull a few days later and was amazed to see just how good it looked.  It had been professionally cleaned and looked great.  A friend of my dad’s made me a nice wood plaque to display the skull on, and shortly thereafter it was hung up above the computer I’m sitting at right now.  And to be honest, even though it’s probably the smallest rack of any buck I have in my office, its the one I look at the most.  I’m not sure what it is, but the beauty of the mount is quite intriguing.

From the creek……

…to the wall.

My 2nd European mount was done on the antelope I harvested this past summer in Wyoming while hunting with Table Mountain Outfitters.  Although it was my first antelope and a very memorable hunt, the buck didn’t meet P&Y minimum requirements so I decided to get another skull mount.  My reasoning for this is that at just 30 years old I plan on shooting a whole bunch of animals before I hang up my bow including a few more speed goats.  After all, that was a fun hunt!  Knowing that, and hoping to score on a bigger buck one day I opted for the Euro mount. staff member Jessica Edd actually handled the mount for me and much like my whitetail from the year before, it turned out great!  I haven’t gotten a plaque for it yet, but it still looks great on the wall by itself.

From the field…..

…to the wall.  Thanks again to Jessica Edd for the great job!

Having been fortunate enough to harvest two nice whitetails with my bow this fall I opted to only get a shoulder mount on one, while getting a Euro mount on the other.  This decision was partially monetary (hey, saving almost $400 in taxidermy bills is never a bad thing) and partially because I want to continue to fill out my European mount collection as I get older.   I should have my newest addition to the family back from the taxi before too long, and I’ll make sure to post an update when he arrives!

If you’re looking for an economical alternative to a shoulder mount for your next harvest, I’d seriously consider a European Mount.  I was skeptical how much I would like them at first, but the more I look at them the more I like them.  Perhaps you’ll feel the same way!


  1. Dustin DeCroo says:

    Lookin good JZ, what the heck are you gonna do with an elk???

  2. Justin Zarr says:

    I've got a spot in my living room (cathedral ceilings) already picked out!

  3. Dustin DeCroo says:

    Sweet, maybe you'll need a camera man down there… I know a guy!

  4. Michael Willand says:

    Well done Justin. I'll never forget looking up only to see your buck laying in the creek after hours of looking. And only a few yards from the truck. What a day that was.

  5. says:

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