In mid May a large crowd of spectators was treated to a record–setting total at the 47th Annual Boy Scout Antler Auction in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The sale contains shed antlers collected from Wyoming's National Elk Refuge.
According the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this year 13,698 pounds of antlers were sold at the auction, well above the 10–year average of 8,197 pounds. This year's total is the largest number of antlers sold in the event's history. Previously, the largest amount was in 2011, when 13,104 pounds were sold. Factors contributing to the number of antlers available include the number of bulls wintering on the Refuge and the timing of the elk migration off the Refuge to summer ranges.
And the best news for the Boy Scout's fundraising efforts was the increase in the price paid for antlers. Bidders paid an average of $16.65 per pound, or $6.13 per pound higher than the $10.52 average seen over the past 10 years. A number of matched shed pairs, which often bring in a highest sale price, hit totals of $25-$29 per pound.
With the large number of antlers for sale and the high price paid per pound, this year's sale yielded a total of $233,613! During the past decade, the amount generated from the auction has averaged $84,876.
So where does all the money go?
The majority (75 percent) is donated to the National Elk Refuge, which manages 25,000 acres as winter range for the Jackson elk herd; the funds are used for habitat enhancement work. The remaining 25 percent is given to the Jackson District Boy Scouts, recognizing the extraordinary effort it takes to pull off the antler auction. Each year, Boy Scouts and their leaders work about 2,000 hours to prepare and conduct the auction. The money the Scouts receive supplements fees for day camps, leader and Scout training, as well as other activities.
Way to go Scouts!
P.S. Interested in attending next year's antler auction? Click here for more info.