Outdoors blog

Wildlife conservation is high-rolling hunter’s favorite charity

Denny Austad of Ammon, Idaho, poses with a bull elk that was certified on Jan. 2, 2009, as the world record American elk by the Boone and Crockett Club. Austad hunted public land in the Monroe Mountain District in southcentral Utah to kill the bull on Sept. 30, 2008. Official measurers scored the bull at 478-5/8  non-typical points, more than 13 points (inches) larger than the previous World’s Record. 
 (Boone and Crockett Club.  )
Denny Austad of Ammon, Idaho, poses with a bull elk that was certified on Jan. 2, 2009, as the world record American elk by the Boone and Crockett Club. Austad hunted public land in the Monroe Mountain District in southcentral Utah to kill the bull on Sept. 30, 2008. Official measurers scored the bull at 478-5/8 non-typical points, more than 13 points (inches) larger than the previous World’s Record. (Boone and Crockett Club. )

HUNTING -- While some hunters are wincing at the prospect of hunting licenses fees going up a few bucks, one Idaho hunter has bid $305,000 in an auction to hunt deer on Antelope Island in Utah.

He has the means and Utah has the right causes that keep him bidding year after year, according to a story by Brett Prettyman of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Denny Austad  has been the high bidder in each of the three years a hunting permit for a buck mule deer has been offered on Antelope Island.

Counting the $305,000 he bid during the recent Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City, Austad has paid $865,000 for the opportunity to kill three deer. He set a record for a deer hunting permit in auction last year with a $310,000 payment.

All told, Austad has likely spent more than $2 million buying hunting conservation tags in Utah.

Back in 2008, his investment of $150,000 for a statewide Rocky Mountain elk permit paid off in the form of a new Boone and Crockett Club world record nontypical bull elk (see photo above). The measurements of that animal, nicknamed “The Spider Bull,” scored 478 5/8 points, besting the previous record by more than 13 points.

When the record bull was officially recognized in early 2009, hunting guide Doyle Moss of Mossback Outfitters told The Salt Lake Tribune that part of the reason Austad spends so much for permits is because most of it goes back into wildlife conservation projects.

In the case of the Antelope Island permits, 90 percent of money raised from the auction tags goes back to the island. Antelope Island State Park uses the money for habitat improvements.

“It all goes for habitat,” Austad told the Tribune in 2009. “It’s a legitimate tax deduction, just like charity.”

Expo organizers are still working out the numbers, but expected more than $10 million would be raised for conservation heading into the holiday weekend show.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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