Antler Auction - More than 3 tons sold

Elkhunter

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Antler action
Frenzied bidding helps Boy Scouts sell more than three tons of shed elk antlers.

By Stefani Ewert

For the first time in seven years, the average bid for antlers increased at the Jackson District Boy Scout Troop's annual Elk Antler Auction, held Saturday afternoon on the bustling town square.

As the mayhem quieted and trucks were loaded with sound and stage equipment, longtime Boy Scout leaders and auction coordinators Cliff and Loretta Kirkpatrick hovered over laptops in a small trailer, tallying numbers and breathing sighs of relief.

The three-hour auction boasted 173 bidders from 32 states, and the scouts sold more than 6,000 pounds of antlers. The Kirkpatricks, along with other scout leaders, celebrated a boost in profit. This year's total raised was $64,873.75, compared to last year's sales of $58,807.50.

The most paid for a pair of antlers was $782. The bidder who went home with the largest quantity for the second year in a row was Richard Stewart of Bears Den Inc. of Olympia, Wash., who purchased $20,454 in merchandise.

Having partnered with the National Elk Refuge since the 1960s, the Jackson District Boy Scouts claim the the unique privilege of being the only legal persons allowed on the refuge to collect antlers. The search for antlers begins in late April.

"It's something I always look forward to," said Christian Doyle, 10, a Tenderfoot Scout. "It was quite a hike. When you see the antlers and the hills you think about how the animals get around everyday. They have to walk everywhere; it's kind of hard."

Loretta Kirkpatrick says the antler search is often misunderstood and wrongly compared to an easter egg hunt. Kirkpatrick explains that about 200 scouts are sent to canvas the greater refuge area and that many of them come back empty-handed. Those who do find antlers are required to hike back a few miles to a drop-off spot.

After the antlers have been cleared off the refuge, it's time to sort and match pairs, Cliff Kirkpatrick said. When it comes to matching, the scouts have a secret weapon named Vic Lindeberg. Lindeberg has been working his magic matching pairs for years. He credits a long-ago Jackson biologist who taught him what to look for.

"You start at the button, which is at the base of the antler," Lindeberg said. "Then you look at the length of each point, texture, color, and curvature. You get to be pretty good."

This year, the scouts had 48 matched pairs to auction.

The collection and auction is a recipe of fun and profit for the scouts. After the auction, the National Elk Refuge takes 80 percent of the proceeds and the scouts receive the remaining 20 percent.

National Elk Refuge Manager Barry Reiswig says their portion is used for the elk feeding program.

"Most of the funds are used to grow forage, hire irrigators, and purchase grass and seed fertilizer," he said.

The auction is one of the most successful fund-raisers in the nation for the Boy Scouts, Kirkpatrick said. The Jackson District uses their proceeds for initial Boy Scout membership fees, and since the auction is such a strong fund-raiser, scouts don't have to sell items door to door.

Top buyer Stewart says he comes every year because of the tradition and the good product.

"I've been doing this for three decades," Stewart said. "It gets into your blood."


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KC

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The BSA is a great organization worthy of support. They teach traditional values, citizenship, character and fitness. A boy who has achived the rank of Eagle is likely to be a superior leader.

KC
 

ELKCHSR

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That is a great way for the group to make good money and it sounds like every bit of it goes back into the system for a great cause. I couldn't see a better project for a bunch of boy's, specially of that age to blow off a ton (or in this case) 3 tons of steam... :D
 

Bambistew

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I just want to go along and pick up the sheds with em... they can have em, I just like "tripping" over em!
 

JohnSWA

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Chandler, Az
No kidding! What a great way to spend time with the fellas! I was a scout and had a great time!

Kills me when the ACLU and the other so and so's get involved.

Forgive me for forgetting the motto, but I remember the part that pisses everybody off nowadays....to be reverent(with the three fingered salute) ah, those were the days! What memories!
 

ELKCHSR

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Yep John, I have the same memories....Great times. We usually sold swags at Christmas time and picking up old Christmas trees for a donation afterwords, that was our money makers for the year, plus the 15 cents a week we had to put in for our dues...

I hope the tradition stay's alive with this group and screw the ACLU.... :D
 
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