I’ve attended a lot of benefit dinners.  California Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, The Mule Deer Foundation, California Deer Association… it’s a great way to spend time with other hunters, as well as to put some money into the various programs.

One of the things I think most of us enjoy at these shindigs is the auctions.  There are all sorts of great items for sale, including things like art (sculptures and prints), guns, gear, hunting trips, and so on.  It’s a hoot, even when you’re not bidding, just to listen to the auctioneer and watch the other bidders.  From time to time, you can get a great deal, but that’s not really what the auctions are about.  It’s about raising money for the “cause”… well, that, and about the tax write-offs.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will be holding their own event, Elk Camp, in February.  Along with everything else, there’ll be an auction.  Why does this one stand out?  Well, because there’s going to be an item for sale.  I’d describe it myself, but the press release does it better than I ever could.  So read on…

MISSOULA, Mont.–A custom casket featuring hardwood inlay artwork of an elk and mountain scene, hand-forged elk antler handles and camouflage bedding is among many special items to be auctioned in Las Vegas, Feb. 2-4, 2012, to support the conservation work of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The auction will be held as part of RMEF’s 27th annual Elk Camp convention and expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Riviera Hotel.

Elk Camp is RMEF’s largest annual fundraiser. Proceeds help support a variety of initiatives to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. Over the past year, RMEF passed the 6 million acre mark for habitat conserved and enhanced nationwide, supported elk restoration efforts in Maryland and Missouri, helped mitigate the effects of historic wildfires in Arizona, introduced thousands of youths to hunting and conservation, assisted with legal efforts to manage and control wolves, and much more.

The handmade casket, built from maple with walnut trim, is being donated for the RMEF auction by BNG Finish Products of Etna, Calif.

Company rep Nik Branson says coffin making began as an experimental offshoot of his custom cabinet business, “but now we do commissioned pieces for families around the country, and the biggest response has been from people who enjoy the outdoors, hunting and fishing.” Caskets with outdoor scenes and themes are the most requested, he said.

The coffins typically retail for $1,500 to $4,500.

Other RMEF auction highlights will include:

  • A pack mule named Possum
  • A New Holland tractor
  • Art, firearms, furniture, jewelry and collectibles
  • Many types of outfitted hunts
  • Other kinds of travel packages including a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D.
  • An electric ATV from Timberline

I’ll be in Vegas for the SHOT Show in January, so I doubt I’ll be able to make it back again in February, unfortunately (I’m just a working guy, after all).  But the RMEF Elk Camp definitely sounds like a blast.  If you’re interested in trying to get out there for this good time, you can learn more about it at the RMEF website.