Why these animal antlers and furs, confiscated in Utah, are going up for auction

By Carter Williams, KSL.com

    SALT LAKE CITY (KSL) -- An auction taking place Monday and Tuesday helps protect animals in an interesting way.

Many of the hundreds of antlers and furs up for grabs were seized by the state conservation officers or forfeited in the court system through poaching cases over the past six years.

"It is quite a sight to see all of these antlers, but the sad reality is that the majority of them are evidence of illegally killed wildlife," Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Capt. Chad Bettridge said in a statement ahead of the auction.

The division has hosted this type of antler auction for decades; it was last held in 2016. It usually happens every four years but the 2020 auction got postponed for two years because of COVID-19. While many of the antlers are from poaching cases, some antlers came in from roadkill in the past few years.

The money raised from the auction goes back to funding wildlife conservation in the state.

The division plans to hold a public preview of all the items up for auction at the Lee Kay Public Shooting Range in Salt Lake City from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday. That's where people can walk through the hundreds of items up for auction.

All antlers will be sold by the lot, which may contain trophy-sized antlers and small antlers. Most are deer and elk antlers but there are some moose and pronghorn antlers and horns, as well.

The actual auction will be held online starting Monday afternoon and continuing into Tuesday. All items must be paid for and removed from the shooting range by 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The division reported earlier this year that 1,153 animals were illegally killed in the state in 2021, including 180 deer and 113 elk.

"Poaching steals that opportunity away from law-abiding hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts to enjoy these animals," Bettridge said. "We need the public's help in enforcing wildlife laws, which help to maintain healthy wildlife populations for future generations to enjoy."

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