One of the country's biggest antler events was forced to move online, but those involved still figured out a way to help the National Elk Refuge and Boy Scouts of America.
Every spring, the Boy Scouts Elk Antler Auction is held in Jackson, Wyoming. It's the biggest event of its kind.
This year's sale was washed away due to Covid-19 pandemic precautions, but the decision to move the auction (typically held during Jackson's ElkFest) online and later in the year turned out to be a good one.
The 53rd annual Elk Antler Auction was part of the 2020 Fall Arts Festival, and the online auction raised well-needed money for the groups it always supports. You can read more about the shifted event at ElkFest2020.afrogs.org.
Funds raised from the auction are split between the local Boy Scouts chapters and the National Elk Refuge, where most if not all of the antlers are procured. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have a special permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that allow them the right to hunt for shed antlers each spring on the Refuge, where thousands of pounds of antler are dropped around the same time every year. That equates to an impressive ecological education for the many young men involved in the Scouts.
Money that supports the Elk Refuge goes mostly towards winter feed pellets, doled out during the harshest times of the season when elk in the 25,000-acre refuge need the supplemental food products the most. It's also used for some habitat enhancement projects. The Boy Scouts use their share for things like fees to the local council, day camps, camporees, Pinewood Derby, Eagle Scout and Cub Scout activities, and many other organizational needs.
By default, the coronavirus-affected BSA Elk Antler Auction spread farther than ever before, with online bidders from virtually anywhere able to get in on the action.
The Jackson Hole Boy Scout Elk Antler Auction fundraiser is typically held in the city's Town Square, where the small to large elk antlers attract tons of buyer attention. They're often sold in antler lots or groups, by the pound or individually, but also demand high dollar when they're still attached to the skull cap or paired with their match from the same male elk.
Antler uses range from wall decorations to chandeliers, coat racks, and other home or yard design purposes.