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Biz Buzz: Bare bones business booms

A European mount is the bleached skull of a predator or skull and horns of game animals

Published on December 6, 2017 9:15AM

Kathleen Ellyn/ChieftainAndy Marcum, left, stands with return customer Robert Butterfield of Joseph. The European Mount deer skull was the first trophy Marcum did for Butterfield. The trophy elk is his second project.

Kathleen Ellyn/ChieftainAndy Marcum, left, stands with return customer Robert Butterfield of Joseph. The European Mount deer skull was the first trophy Marcum did for Butterfield. The trophy elk is his second project.

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Andy Marcum of Enterprise has discovered a talent that he’s turned into a booming second job.

You may recall Marcum from last week’s story on Divide Camp. In addition to working for Wallowa Resources as a noxious weed specialist, Marcum is the newest board member for the camp, a hunting guide and a former U.S. Marine.

His “second job” (maybe it’s the third or fourth) is making European mounts of trophy game for hunters.

A European mount is the bleached skull of a predator, or skull and horns of game animals.

“I’ve always been a hunter and made a few mounts on my own,” he said. “The popularity of European mounts has really blown up in the last few years, and I saw an opportunity to get people their mounts fast –– it only takes me one to two days to do this.”

That is blazing fast, since the skull is usually subjected to munching by flesh-eating beetles or boiling to clean the meat and sinew away.

But Marcum has his own method, involving liquid peroxide and a power washer that gets them cleaned and bleached to the desirable “bone white” very quickly.

It’s still a tricky job, he said.

“When you are learning new skull structures, every animal is different. It’s a learning curve.”

Marcum’s learning curve came with three badgers on which he tried the new method.

“Their teeth come out easily, so it was a challenge,” he said.

But by badger number three, he had it figured out.

Once he let folks know he was doing the work, word about his skill spread rapidly and he now has customers from all over the U.S. Two Sitka deer from Alaska were waiting for his attention last week.

“During deer and elk season — and beyond, the demand is still going — it got bigger than I expected,” he said.

“Still going” is a bit of a challenge in that some of the potential trophies have been sitting around in someone’s garage since hunting season ended.

“Some skulls are pretty nasty when I get them,” Markum admitted.

But he’s still turning the trophies around in record time. Robert Butterfield of Joseph delivered a seven-point bull elk head and expected to have it the next day. Butterfield already had a four-point mule deer skull done by Marcum.

“Looks awful nice to me,” Butterfield said. “It’s nice when they turn out that white.”

Marcus is now looking into doing more exotic European mounts such as bird skulls.

“Those are more meticulous and sensitive to do,” he said.

“Meticulous and sensitive” inspires the question, “could he do a mouse skull?” He could.

Contact Marcum at Benaih Creations, 541-263-1053.



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