Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Elk Antlers Galore, Records Set at Boy Scout Antler Auction

It was a sight that made even the most experienced outdoorsmen and women drool—and that’s an understatement! Racks and racks of elk shed antlers almost as far as the eye could see. And all laid out for sale on May 17, 2014, at the 47th Annual Boy Scout Antler Auction at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The 2014 antler harvest and sale was one for the record books. One hundred and twenty-seven bidders from 29 states bought 13,698 pounds of antlers representing the largest number of antlers ever sold. The final tally was $233,613, or an average of $16.65 per pound! Two factors contributed to the record total. The first has to do with the high number of bull elk that wintered on the Refuge and the timing of the elk migration off the Refuge to summer ranges. The second factor is the thousands of hours Scouts spent collecting and scoring the antlers for auction.

The majority of proceeds from the antler auction (75%) are donated to the National Elk Refuge, which manages approximately 25,000 acres as winter range for the Jackson Elk Herd. The funds are used for Refuge habitat enhancement work. The rest is donated to the Jackson District Boy Scouts. Scouts and leaders donated approximately 2,000 hours to prepare and execute the sale, comparable to one staff member working a 40–hour week for a full year.

“This is great news for both the National Elk Refuge and the Jackson District Boy Scouts,” said Refuge Manager Steve Kallin. “It couldn’t have been done without the outstanding partnership we have with the Jackson District Boy Scout organization.”

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Great Elk Tour was once again on hand for the festivities, but the traveling conservation exhibit was not there as an “outsider.” 

It displayed a set of antlers that came from the Refuge in 2012. With the help of pictures taken by Refuge staff from earlier that winter, Scout leaders and Refuge staff were able to pair up the two antlers, which scored 436 7/8 non–typical inches using the Boone and Crockett scoring system. It was decided the pair would not be sold in the 2013 auction, but rather be shared with the public by entering them in the 2014 Great Elk Tour. See the 2014 tour schedule here.

If you want to get in on the action, next year’s auction is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, 2015. However, single antlers are on sale throughout the year at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located at 532 North Cache Street in Jackson.

Of course, you can always try to “score” your own antlers by taking a bull during this fall’s hunting season.

National Elk Refuge winter range

National Elk Refuge winter range

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