The local Jackson Hole Boy Scouts of America troop made off with quite a haul again this year at the 52nd annual Elk Antler Auction on the Town Square. Some 10,320 pounds of antlers were sold, raising a near-record amount for the Scouts, who collect sheds on the National Elk Refuge each spring.
Held each May, the Elk Antler Auction on the historic Town Square is part of the weekend-long ElkFest celebration and a local tradition. Each year, Scouts and Scout leaders donate approximately 2,000 hours to prepare and execute the sale. For their efforts, the Jackson District Scouts retain 25 percent of the proceeds from the auction, which supports the troop’s day camps, trainings and activities.
The remaining portion of the proceeds are returned to the National Elk Refuge. The roughly 25,000-acre range provides a winter sanctuary for region’s elk populations. Funds from the antler auction funds are used to support habitat enhancement projects, equipment, weed management and seasonal employees.
This year’s sales totaled $186,227. Although the average price per pound fell slightly from the year prior, total sales grew more than $12,000 owing to an increase in total number of sheds found.
Every spring, Scouts and Scout leaders scour the Refuge for antler sheds and then clean and bundle them for auction. Their efforts help to maintain the land, and the work helps teach important lessons, leaders say.
“When you start teaching these kids when they’re small the value of being prepared, and for them to be able to learn and see those things, it’s incredible,” Cliff Kirkpatrick, the Jackson District Scout Committee Chairman, told the News & Guide. “This event probably is etched in their memory, as much as or more than any single event that they take part in.”
For those who missed ElkFest, antlers are available for sale throughout the year at the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center.