Photo by Amber Thorson Welcome to Apothic Oddities! This whole thing started with one little Fox Skull. I was wandering some private property that my family owns out in the woods in fall of 2021. It was cold, but my dog Hixon and I always keep busy and warm with long walks in nature nearly every day. On our property there are plenty of places for small critters to curl up in and under, but this particular day we were around the shed when I noticed something poking out from underneath the wooden ramp. This wasn’t even close to the first time I had found animal bones in our woods, nor would it be the last. For the next 30 minutes, I scraped and dusted all around those bones to find every last bit I could and took them home. I researched and studied all the tricks to clean and prepare them for display with all the glee of a toddler at Christmas. There was something so different about this piece vs the deer bones I typically find. Perhaps because the fox was just pup or because it was the first time I’d been filled with genuine excitement in months, but I felt it was my duty to take care of them. I didn’t want him to die forgotten. Now he’s the prize of my tiny collection and the starting point to a fascinating business venture! -Grace V. Riness “I pride myself on keeping Apothic Oddities 100% Ethically Sourced. Nothing endangered. Nothing illegal.” QUESTIONS? Do you do custom orders? Nope! You can’t request specific bones (I don’t kill animals to fill orders). All of the bones I find are either found as is, either in the woods, through certain contacts, or are found early in decomposition and buried for later. Where are you based? In Midwest Wisconsin, but I’m happy to ship just about anywhere! Is hunting Ethically Sourcing? If it’s legal, I would say yes. Where I live, Whitetail Deer are horribly overpopulated and hunting helps to keep those populations healthy. Obviously there are regulations and laws when it comes to any type of small or large game hunting, so as long as it is done legally, I don’t ethically have an issue with it. I don’t personally hunt, but most people I know do and they all throw deer bones away (there’s nothing you can really use them for besides mounting the antlers). Are the bones safe to touch? I clean, degrease, and whiten all of my animals bones over several days, however, I don’t have the resources to test for diseases. I would still recommend leaving the bones alone in their displays as you really never know with wild animals. You should always wear gloves when handling animal bones (this is common practice for professionals like taxidermists and museum curators too). However, if you do choose to touch them with your bare skin, wash your hands immediately after. You just never know. What materials do you use to clean bones? Ammonia, Borax, Hydrogen Peroxide (40v Hair Developer), Dawn Dish Soap, Water, old toothbrush, sponges, and Elmer’s Glue. These are all materials the Smithsonian use to curate and clean bones!