Antler auction record-setting despite dreary weather

By on May 19, 2013

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The 46th annual Boy Scout Elk Antler Auction took place in cold, wet conditions but the weather could not damper the enthusiasm or final totals for last weekend’s sale.

Boy scouts display set of antlers at the 46th annual Elk Antler Auction. (USFWS)

Boy scouts display set of antlers at the 46th annual Elk Antler Auction. (USFWS)

Refuge spokesperson Lori Iverson said a total of 8,507 pounds of antlers were sold at auction Saturday, up from the 7,398 sold last year. The mark also bests the previous 10–year average of 8,133 pounds. In addition to the increase in total ‘hornage,’ buyers ponied up like never before. A total of 103 registered bidders spent an average of $15.43 per pound at Saturday’s auction. That’s up from a 10-year average of $9.72.

“We had heard the market was up this year,” Iverson said, “but it was exciting to see it come to fruition on Saturday.”

The sale yielded $131,400 in all. That’s an all-time high, topping 2011’s $111,305, according to Refuge records. The price paid per pound was also a record-breaker. Previously, the most ever paid for sheds per pound was $13.79 in 1989.

The majority of proceeds from the antler auction are donated by the Boy Scouts to the National Elk Refuge, which maintains approximately 25,000 acres as winter range for the Jackson Elk Herd. A reworked arrangement this year allowed the Scouts to retain 25 percent (up from 20 percent) of the earnings for their endeavors.


About Jake Nichols

Jake is a work in progress.


  1. J Michael

    May 20, 2013 at 7:07 am

    My understanding is fallen antlers are a vital source of food and calcium for other animals and removing these antlers removes said source. Boyscouts don’t need antlers, animals do for the above stated reason. Try doing an article on that.

  2. jake

    May 20, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I’m not aware of any member of wildlife eating sheds other than maybe a mouse or some such rodent. Does removing antlers from the Refuge put mice and pocket gophers in peril? I wouldnt think so and I dont believe the general publicn would be too worked up about it, really.

  3. Kevin Balzer

    May 20, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Amazing that a special interest group gets to remove items from a national park with permission but you and I, as taxpayers, would break the law to do the same thing, I have nothing against the Boy Scouts, but how do you reconcile that?

  4. J Michael

    May 21, 2013 at 9:51 am

    The point is its a disruption to the ecosystem. Whether the general public would care is not the central point. Otherwise the discussion is one of species bias. Preference of one over another, which my comment is not. Large and small, all are equal. Otherwise this is just another version of specail-ness. I am or this is special and that or you are not. This type of thinking
    regarding “special-ness” perpetuates problems in humans and animals.

  5. jake

    May 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    i dig

  6. Anonyholic II

    May 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    J Michael, answer Jake’s question: what animals feed regularly off the shed antlers? Be specific about the disruption. They don’t break down easily in the ecosystem. I ask this because I don’t know.

    The joke here is on the scouts. By the time they go out on the refuge for their one day of antler harvesting, the USFWS has already been out there and gathered up 90% of the shed. The scouts get to put on a show at the town square like it’s all theirs, when the refuge has control of the harvesting and the funds all along. The scouts ‘donate’ nothing. They’re allowed to keep their (now) 25% and have no real say in the matter.

  7. Scout Leader

    May 26, 2013 at 9:15 am

    The scouts donate about 2,000 hours/year to assist the refuge. Without any time donation, the general public also retrieves antlers from the refuge. However, everything the scouts find is retained by the refuge and sold at the auction while the general public keeps what they find.

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