Back Button

How to Hang a Buffalo Skull

Kim Joyce

In High Plains Indian tribal tradition, the American bison or buffalo is chief of all animal gods, the source of everything needed for an abundant, peaceful earthly life and the central character in ceremonial sun dances. Buffalo skulls, painted and decorated and nestled into sage, served as sacred altars.

The American bison represents abundance, generosity, wisdom and power.

Bison skulls represent many things, including abundance, wisdom, generosity, healing, hunting success and many other aspects of power, meanings carried into the present day. To hang a skull and invite the spirit of the buffalo into your home or business, the main thing you’ll need is sturdy picture wire.

  1. Buy picture wire and hanging hardware more than strong enough for the job. The skull of a bison bull can weigh 17 to 18 pounds or more, that of a cow 8 to 10 pounds.

  2. Examine the back of your buffalo skull. According to Elisabeth Karlen of XH Buffalo Ranch in British Columbia, there are two natural holes in the back of the skull, at roughly the same height as the eye sockets, that are ideal places to attach the hanging wire. Fasten the wire properly and neither the wire nor the hanger will show when the skull is mounted to a wall.

  3. Push one end of the picture wire through one of the matching skull holes then around, twisting that end of the wire around the remaining length of wire to attach it securely. You’ll want the wire to hang from about the height of the skull’s spinal opening (above and between the two attachment holes), so it will be invisible when the skull is mounted to the wall. With that in mind, estimate the needed final length of wire and cut it as needed.

  4. Push the free end of the picture wire through the other hole and around its rim. Attach the wire as before, making sure that when the skull is hung the center of the attached wire will extend no higher than the spinal opening.

  5. Find a wall stud. Mark the spot with a pencil on the wall where you’ll place the hanger or decking screw. Hold the skull up to make sure it will hang at the right height.

  6. Attach the hanger or decking screw.

  7. Mount the buffalo skull on the wall. Center the hanging wire over the hanger or decking screw. Make sure the skull is hanging straight.


Attach a second, shorter wire to one of the skull’s attachment holes and fasten it to the hanger or screw—or a second hanger or screw that has been attached separately—as a safety wire.