The numbers are staggering. Elk antlers auctioned off at the 50th Annual ElkFest in Jackson, Wyoming, on May 19, 2018, averaged $18.36 a pound or $173,805, the fifth-largest total in the history of the event.
According to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, the 136 people who signed up to bid bought 8,593 pounds of antlers. That total amounts to 1,080 pounds less than 2017 and more than 500 pounds shy of the 10-year average of 9,138.
National Elk Refuge staff, Boy Scouts and other volunteers start gathering the antlers as they are shed beginning in mid-March. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for habitat enhancement work at the refuge while the remainder goes to the Jackson District Boy Scouts. The refuge also sells the antlers year-round to visitors.
ElkFest first began in 1968 and takes place annually the weekend prior to Memorial Day weekend.
(Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)