Outdoor Life Online Editor

If a growling bear or placid whitetail hanging on your wall seems a bit common, take your trophy to the next level: Boil its skull. You’ll be left with a sure-fire conversation starter.

Step 1: The Pre-Boil
Remove as much flesh and internal tissue as possible before you begin. Work outdoors with a pot large enough to hold water to cover the skull. A portable propane fish cooker will allow you to regulate the gas.

Step 2: Clean and Dry
Use a handful of soda ash per gallon of water to help gel the meat. Boil the skull until the tissue is almost falling from the bone. After it cools, use a knife or brush to remove tissue inside and out. Wash the skull thoroughly with water and let it dry completely-sometimes for up to two weeks.

Step 3: Degrease It
Hog and bear skulls have more fat, and therefore more grease, than deer skulls. Degrease the skull by soaking it in lacquer thinner for about a week, completely covered.

Step 4: Final Touches
After again drying the skull thoroughly, soak it for an hour or two in 37 percent hydrogen peroxide. Once the skull is dry, even out rough spots with flat white paint, then spray on a few thin coats of flat satin clear gloss.