Elk Antler Auction shows robust numbers despite COVID restrictions

JACKSON, Wyo. — The Annual Elk Antler Auction made a decent haul given the circumstances as COVID precautions forced the event to move online earlier this month.

Traditionally held in May during Elkfest, the 53rd Annual Boy Scout Antler Auction was hosted entirely online last week, September 9-19. Despite time, venue and format changes, the event was quite successful and raised needed funds for the local Boy Scouts and the Elk Refuge.

This year, 8,117 pounds of antlers were sold at the virtual auction. That’s roughly 2,203 pounds less than in 2019. Bidders paid an average of $18.19 per pound of antler this year, up from last year’s average of $16.77 per pound.

There was a total of 101 registered bidders, with 45 actively participating in the 10-day virtual auction, which yielded a total of $151,468, down from last year’s take of $186,227. During the past decade, the auction has brought in an average of $153,668.

The auction is made possible by a long-standing partnership between the National Elk Refuge staff and Headwaters District Scouts (formerly Jackson District). Each year, Scouts and Scout leaders donate approximately 2,000 hours to prepare and execute the sale, comparable to one Refuge staff member working a 40-hour week for a full year.

For their extraordinary effort, the Jackson District Scouts retain 25% of the sale’s proceeds, which is used to supplement fees for day camps, leader and Scout training, and other activities.

The remaining 75% of the take is returned to the National Elk Refuge, which manages approximately 25,000 acres as winter range for the Jackson Elk Herd. The funds are used for habitat enhancement projects, including paying for farming equipment, weed management, and seasonal employees that operate the Refuge’s irrigation program.

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