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Records set at the 47th annual Boy Scout antler auction

05_18_14_AntlerAuction_ArticleA large crowd of spectators was treated to record-setting totals at the 47th annual Boy Scout Antler Auction, held on Saturday, May 17.

May 18, 2014  (NER 14-15)

A large crowd of spectators was treated to record–setting totals at the 47th Annual Boy Scout Antler Auction, held on Saturday, May 17. The sale, scheduled each year on the Saturday before Memorial Day weekend, makes available shed antlers collected from the National Elk Refuge.

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 represents 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 that contribute 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.

More notable than the increase in the number of antlers, however, was the average price per pound paid this year by the 127 bidders registered at the sale. Bidders paid an average of $16.65 per pound at Saturday’s auction, or $6.13 per pound higher than the $10.52 average seen over the past 10 years. A number of matched pairs, which often bring in a higher sale price, were hitting totals as high as $25 to $29 per pound, with a non–typical set (lot #116) selling for $38 per pound. Crowds cheered during several of the bidding wars, caught up in the excitement of the sale led by auctioneers Jim Loose and Brian Taylor. 

With the large number of antlers for sale and the higher price paid per pound, Saturday’s sale yielded a total of $233,613. During the past decade, the amount generated from the auction has averaged $84,876. Refuge records indicate this year’s total sales and price per pound set records, surpassing the $131,400 and $15.43 per pound average paid in 2013. “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 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 habitat enhancement work on the Refuge. In 2013, the proceeds were a key funding source for hiring four seasonal employees that work with the Refuge’s range specialist in the irrigation program. The remaining 25% of the sale’s proceeds are given to the Jackson District Boy Scouts, recognizing the extraordinary effort it takes to pull off such as large event as the antler auction. Each year, Scouts and Scout leaders donate approximately 2,000 hours to prepare and execute the sale, comparable to one staff member working a 40–hour week for a full year. The funding the Scouts receive supplements fees for day camps, leader and Scout training, and other activities. A photo collection and multimedia slide show on the Refuge’s web site describe the behind–the–scenes work that goes into preparing for the auction as well as images from the day of the sale. 

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Great Elk Tour traveling exhibit, which is routinely on display during the annual Boy Scout antler auction, featured a striking set of antlers this year that came from the National Elk Refuge in 2013. 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. Exhibit bulls are selected for their size, uniqueness and story. The display collection from this year as well as previous years can be viewed on the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's web site.  

Next year’s antler auction is set for Saturday, May 16. However, single antlers are available for sale throughout the year at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located at 532 North Cache Street in Jackson. 




Last Updated: May 18, 2014
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