Jason House probably drives 1,500 miles every two weeks during this time of year. It will pick up as the spring heads toward summer, coinciding with the time that wildlife shed their antlers, with …
Jason House probably drives 1,500 miles every two weeks during this time of year. It will pick up as the spring heads toward summer, coinciding with the time that wildlife shed their antlers, with the peak of the season in late May.
House is a horn buyer. He travels a circuit from his home and shop in Pinedale across Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and Idaho to purchase the antlers. He has been in the business since 1995 and in 2003, he began using the antlers himself in his artwork. That art includes mounts and lamps for rustic cabins, lodges and high-end homes.
So what is an antler worth?
“Because I am the end user, I try to pay a little more,” House said. “But the price now is driven by the dog chew market.”
A quick search on the internet shows those chews go for between $8 and $125, depending on the weight or quantity involved. House said the market really went wild in about 2010, and prices have been on an upward spiral since then.
The largest, best-shaped antlers House buys go into the chandeliers or lamps. He also constructs Christmas trees from the gargantuan horns. The items go all over the nation, sold on his website, creationsinantlers.com
Others, less desirable in color or shape, he makes into dog chews, slicing the elk antlers so the pets can get to the marrow inside. He said it is like candy to dogs.
Raised in Greybull, House started going to the Jackson Hole ElkFest and Antler Auction back in 1990. It was there he first got started purchasing sheds. He hasn’t missed one yet, he said.
Another way House helps his clients is by casting molds of wild sheep horns.
“Often a hunter wants to share the horns with his buddy who went on the hunt with him,” he said. That is because some of the hunts for sheep are so difficult in terrain and the animals are notoriously shy.
“So they will get a cast made and share it. You can’t tell the difference,” he added.
House also dresses up skulls by covering them in bronze or creating a cast of clear acrylic. He has also created replicas of trophy fish.
Because size does matter when it comes to antlers, House is always on the hunt for record book entry shed. He frequently purchases Boone and Crockett with scores into the 400-range.
And he doesn’t stop with purchases in Wyoming and the Mountain West region.
Each year, House travels to Alaska where he buys or finds 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of antlers, many of them moose sheds. A friend who lives in the bush country has a small plane and the pair fly over forests and tundra the moose and caribou frequent. When House spots a shed from the air, they put the plane down and retrieve the antlers. He spends about a month there each season.
Between the travel route to make purchases, making and selling the dog chews and his art, House stays busy and makes what he calls a decent living. Even in the time he stopped to speak with the Tribune, his phone was constantly buzzing with would-be buyers and sellers.
As the Wyoming wind began to whip the afternoon clouds into dropping some rain, House loaded up the antlers he has had out for display. During the brief stop, his several calls included one from a Powell resident who was interested in getting a chandelier built. Others wanted to buy, sell or trade for antlers. It is a brisk business, and as House pulls out on the highway, he is on the phone again, setting up the next appointment, hoping for another record-breaking find.