Every May, the residents of Jackson Hole come together to host the Jackson Hole Elkfest, a weekend-long celebration of the area’s wildlife and natural resources.
Every winter, nearly half of the Jackson elk herd—almost 7,000 elk–migrate to Jackson Hole, where the National Elk Refuge provides a winter home for these majestic creatures. As spring blooms, the elk shed their antlers, and then move on to their warmer summer homes.
The discarded antlers are collected by local Boy Scout troops and then auctioned off to the highest bidders in a world-renowned auction held every May, on the weekend before Memorial Day. Collectors from around the world bid on the antlers, which they use as furniture, light fixtures, decorations, jewelry and more.
Last year, 8,500 pounds of antlers were sold at the auction, which raised more than $130,000. Money raised largely supports the National Elk Refuge for habit improvements as well as ongoing care, protection and research of the elk population. The Jackson District Boy Scouts also receives a portion of the proceeds to help supplement fees for day camps and Scout training
First held in in 1968, the auctions became so popular that in 2002, Elkfest, a weekend-long celebration, was built around the main event.
Jackson Hole Elkfest Events
World Famous Jackson Hole Boy Scout Elk Antler Auction
Held on the east side of the Jackson Hole town square, the public auction displays some of the world’s best collection of elk antler.
Rotary Club Private Antler Sale
In addition to raw elk antlers, the Rotary Club hosts a sale of other antlers, including over the counter nexium 40 mg deer, moose, and other elk antlers.
High Noon Chili Cook-Off
Local and regional contestants cook up a tasty selection of homemade chili. Red, green, meat, bean, vegetarian, all types of chili are available for the tasting.
Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum
The Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum will demonstrate how bows can be made from bighorn sheep. Books about Jackson Hole history will also be sold. www.jacksonholehistory.org
Leafy Spurge Seed Spitting Contest
The National Elk Refuge, Wyoming Game & Fish Department and Jackson Hole Weed Management offer a number of hands-on activities for kids of all ages, including the Leafy Spurge Seed Spitting Contest, where kids try to spit sunflower seeds 15 feet just like the noxious weed, Leafy Spurge.
Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Wyoming Game and Fish Department will host educational displays, including an animal ID quiz. Adults can lean how start collecting antlers. Information will also be provided on bear safety, wildlife diseases, and fishing and hunting regulations.
Mountain Man Rendezvous and Traders’ Row
Purchase authentic earth-made wares from mountain men wearing period clothing, and learn about life a trading camp. Demonstrations include a bow and arrow competition and a hawk and know competition.
About the National Elk Refuge
One of the first big game refuges in the United States, the National Elk Refuge was established in 1912 to help elk survive harsh winter conditions. Bordering the refuge are the town of Jackson, the Bridger–Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park. Six miles at its widest point, and ten miles long, the refuge largely consists of grassy meadows and marshes, as well as forested areas, sagebrush and rocky outcroppings. The refuge provides a sanctuary to the Jackson elk herd as well as a variety of endangered wildlife species.
National Elk Refuge
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
May 17-18, 2014
Jackson Hole Elkfest
National Elk Refuge