If you thought hunting with a recurve bow was primitive, you haven’t heard of the atlatl.
Pronounced “at-latull,” this spear-throwing device allows the hunter to launch the dart at a higher velocity than they would using only their arm.
The atlatl is the component that’s held in hand. The dart is the projectile thrown.
The dart thrown in the video by Dawn, a member of the Missouri Atlatl Association, is over six feet tall. She has killed a rabbit with hers and her husband has harvested deer during Missouri’s archery season too.
Check your state’s regulations to determine if use of the atlatl is a legal hunting method. It’s a mixed bag state to state, with some allowing it and some prohibiting it.
Throwing the atlatl is a counterintuitive movement, as I prove convincingly. Success hinges on forgetting about the dart and focusing on swinging the device down towards the ground.
Eventually, I was able to stick the foam turkey (conveniently not on video) and I have to say that throwing these darts is incredibly addictive. I didn’t want to stop.
If you want to try something different, whether for hunting, target practice or even sticking non-game fish, take a trip back in time and pick up an atlatl.