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Need help with smelly trophies (mothballs) #8744296 11/28/22 03:35 PM
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Eland Slayer Offline OP
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Last week I received my trophies from my April trip to South Africa, which I've been anxiously awaiting. There are 13 animals total, and I had everything done as European mounts (except for a Zebra rug).

Everything was packaged nicely, and all the mounts are in good condition. Each mount was bubble-wrapped individually (some with horns on, some removed). Each packaged skull also contained quite a few mothballs....and since they were shipped via sea freight, they had a solid 6-8 weeks worth of "marinating" with said mothballs. Now, I feel like everything is impregnated with the mothball/chemical odor, which is quite overpowering.

After unpacking everything, I let it sit in my garage for a few days. I was anxious to hang a few in my home office, and did, but now my office wreaks of mothballs as well. It has been nearly a week and I don't think the smell has reduced much, if at all. My wife was out of town when I hung the skulls in my office, and was not happy when she got home (she also happens to be pregnant, so she has the nose of a bloodhound).

I'm sure someone here has dealt with similar odor issues from trophies, so I figured I would ask......Can any of you suggest a remedy to help accelerate the process of getting rid of the mothball smell? Or is it simply going to take time and more airing out? I put a half-pound of coffee grounds in a bowl in my office, which seems to help a little...but I think I need something more powerful.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Re: Need help with smelly trophies (mothballs) [Re: Eland Slayer] #8746718 12/01/22 03:05 AM
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Can't help ya. Kind of curious as to them using mothballs. I have had trophies done twice in RSA by Taxidermy Africa (https://www.taxidermyafrica.com/) and they were shipped to the states without mothballs. Your case is actually the first time I have heard of mothballs and that tells me they took some shortcuts with their trophy prep if they were that worried about pests in shipping.


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Re: Need help with smelly trophies (mothballs) [Re: Eland Slayer] #8750246 12/05/22 01:07 PM
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Does not sound good. If they won't air out and get rid of the smell then the horns may have to be pulled.

Re: Need help with smelly trophies (mothballs) [Re: Eland Slayer] #8750386 12/05/22 03:38 PM
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More than likely the horns will need to be pulled, cleaned, and permanently attached. The skulls will also need to be recleaned. Take them to a reputable taxidermist and they should be able to help you. In the mean time, put them in your garage someplace high so your dog won't be tempted.


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The three things you need in life are a good doctor, lawyer and taxidermist.

Re: Need help with smelly trophies (mothballs) [Re: Eland Slayer] #8750546 12/05/22 07:30 PM
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Put them all in a small room and run an ozone machine.

Re: Need help with smelly trophies (mothballs) [Re: Eland Slayer] #8752420 12/07/22 08:33 PM
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Erny Offline
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Never had this problem before, but always had my stuff shipped air freight. The good news is I am certain the mothball odor will dissapate with time. Try putting them outside on a warm sunny day should accelerate the odor loss.

Re: Need help with smelly trophies (mothballs) [Re: rob valle] #8757155 12/13/22 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by don k
Does not sound good. If they won't air out and get rid of the smell then the horns may have to be pulled.

Originally Posted by rob valle
More than likely the horns will need to be pulled, cleaned, and permanently attached. The skulls will also need to be recleaned. Take them to a reputable taxidermist and they should be able to help you. In the mean time, put them in your garage someplace high so your dog won't be tempted.


Did you guys even read my post? There are no issues with rotting flesh or odor from the horns....it is MOTHBALL odor only. Most of the horns are already removed, and everything appears to be very clean already.

I'm continuing to let everything air out in my garage for now, but it has already decreased quite a bit. I've never personally used mothballs for storing anything, but I'm shocked at just how powerful they are and how much the gas/chemical penetrated the wood and skulls during shipping.

Re: Need help with smelly trophies (mothballs) [Re: Eland Slayer] #8757743 12/14/22 03:01 PM
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Did you try an ozone machine? The small ones for clothes closets etc work pretty well and will get the smell out.

Re: Need help with smelly trophies (mothballs) [Re: Wytex] #8757997 12/14/22 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Wytex
Did you try an ozone machine? The small ones for clothes closets etc work pretty well and will get the smell out.


I have not tried that yet....but it sounds like it could be worth a shot.

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