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S. Dakota GF&P plans antler auction

May 31, 2010 at 10:14 PM

Associated Press Writer

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Deer and elk antlers, bobcat hides and mountain lion skulls are being sold at auction by the Department of Game, Fish and Parks as it takes advantage of a recent law change to get rid of items collected over the years.

The June 12 auction will be part of the two-day South Dakota Outdoor Expo at the State Fairgrounds in Huron.

“Some of it is items that have been seized, but it could have come into our officers’ hands in a variety of ways, not necessarily a criminal case but it could be items that were found or abandoned as well,” said Andy Alban, law enforcement program administrator for the GF&P’s wildlife division.

State law allows the GF&P secretary to sell the items, but a companion law had prohibited their resale. That prevented an artist or craftsman who bought antlers, for example, from turning them into another product for sale.

The 2009 Legislature repealed the resale prohibition.

“The law now gives full ownership to anyone buying these items. The law also stipulates that we sell these items in a manner that brings a competitive price. We feel that offering them through auction will meet those requirements,” Alban said.

At similar sales in other states, a set of antlers scoring high on the Boone and Crockett scoring system can fetch a couple thousand dollars from collectors, said Todd Schuetzle, the Pierre auctioneer in charge of the Huron sale.

Elk antlers collected on the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming recently sold for an average of $8.12 per pound.

Schuetzle said he’s had a few calls asking about Boone and Crockett scores on some of the antlers for sale.

“We haven’t done that (scored them). There are way too many. We’ve got a 26-foot trailer full of them, piles and piles of them,” he said.

Some antler sets will be sold individually as skull plates or shoulder mounts. Other single antlers and shed antlers will be sold by the p ound to speed up the two-hour sale.

“Probably this first year we’ll end up almost giving some stuff away,” Schuetzle said. “I don’t think we left ourselves enough time, but you know auctions have changed so much. In four hours people are gone, they don’t want to hang around.”

Auction proceeds will help the GF&P fund the Sportsmen Against Hunger and Turn In Poachers programs.

“That’s been the question around the office - what to expect (in proceeds) because we really don’t know. Having it at a venue such as the Outdoor Expo is an added benefit and draw to the expo in and of itself, but we honestly don’t know what to expect,” Alban said.

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