Shed-antler auction raises over $15,000 for winter elk feeding

Olympia – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
has raised $15,032 for winter elk feeding at its first auction of
shed elk antlers at the Oak Creek Wildlife Area in Yakima
County.

About 1,275 pounds of antlers were sold at the May 2 auction,
attended by about 150 people. Most of the shed antlers were picked
up by WDFW staff and volunteers from the Oak Creek winter feeding
stations over the last several years; some came from other areas of
the state.

The highest single sale of $550 was made on a set of eight-point
elk antlers from the Hanford area.

The auction was conducted with the help of WDFW staff, Wildlife
Education Corps volunteers and a professional auctioneer from
Tieton.

John McGowan, WDFW Oak Creek manager, said the funds raised will
cover about 18 percent of the hay cost for an average, 80-day,
winter elk feeding season.

About 3,500 to 4,000 elk are fed each winter at several sites on
the 47,200-acre wildlife area. Oak Creek was originally purchased
in 1943 to provide a home for the growing Yakima elk herd seeking
food in nearby agricultural areas. Winter feeding began about 1968
to keep elk on the public land and avoid damage complaints and
payments.

More than 100,000 visitors to Oak Creek view the elk at the
headquarters feeding site each winter. WDFW may conduct more antler
auctions at 3-to-5-year intervals as more shed antlers are
collected from winter feeding sites.

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