Buck mount brings back memories of the successful hunt
This weekend, I received notification that my 2014 buck mount was finished and ready for pickup. Having shoulder-mounted both my 2012 and 2013 bucks, I opted to save a little money this time around by doing a European skull mount with the solid nine-point I harvested during this year's opening day of Pennsylvania rifle season.
Though I realize many hunters cook down their own skulls for display, I have a good friend who runs a nice skull cleaning company using beetles, degreasers and whiteners to achieve the same results. He does a tremendous job, so I don't mind giving him the business.
Upon arriving at his shop, my eyes gazed upon the buck's dark, heavy antlers, it's thick, mottled bases and long, sweeping brow tines starkly contrasting with the bone-white simplicity of the skull. The mount is positioned on a natural base of driftwood and stone with elements of snow, earth and moss mixed in to accurately depict the scene on the day I harvested him.
With the mount now displayed in my home, I find my eyes continually drawn to it. As with my other taxidermy mounts, the artistic display piece preserves something beautiful about the animal that gave me such great memories.
While observing the mount from varying angles, I am taken back to the field in which I first laid eyes on him. I remember his confident, loping stride as he trailed the doe through the cornstalks and aggressively pushed away inferior, small-racked rivals.
I remember being momentarily awe-struck by his majestic presence, his sheer mass and brute persona, followed by the pulsing rhythms of my heartbeat and a frantic attempt to get a solid rest and find him in the scope before he slipped out of sight.
I recall the feeling of relief I experienced upon the recovery, and the genuine satisfaction – no, the sense of gratitude – I felt for being blessed with the opportunity to harvest such a magnificent creature. Perhaps, that's a feeling only hunters can understand, but it really is something special.
Buck mounts seem to have mystical powers of taking us back. They stir up snapshots from the past and help us relive the hunt each time they capture our gaze. As I continue to add to my game room collection of mounts, it seems I am also adding to my collection of memories.