MDC offers Beginning Archery and Atlatl class Aug. 12 at Busch Conservation Area

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St. CHARLES, Mo.—The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering the chance to learn the art and skills the earliest humans used to hunt their game.

MDC will present a Beginning Archery and Atlatl program Saturday, Aug. 12 from 8:30 a.m.−noon at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles.  The class is free and open to anyone age 9 and up. 

This is an introductory program that will teach the fundamentals of both archery and atlatl. Participants will learn about different types of bows, arrows, atlatls, and darts.  The course will also cover proper techniques including proper stance, grip, form, and release.  Safety will be emphasized.

After the instruction portion, participants will put their new skills to use with hands-on practice using archery equipment and atlatls.  MDC will provide targets and all equipment needed, along with individual coaching to help develop shooting and throwing skills. 

Atlatls and bows were some of the earliest hunting methods used by early humans.  The atlatl predates the bow and arrow, existing as far back as 17,500 years.  It is used to throw a 4-to-6-foot long, spear-like projectile known as a dart.  The atlatl is a wooden shaft approximately a foot-and-a-half long with a socket or knock at the rear to engage the dart.  Darts thrown from the weapon can achieve velocities of nearly 100 miles per hour.  Both bow and atlatl are legal methods of harvesting a deer in Missouri.

Advanced reservation for the class is required.  For more information or to sign up, call 636-441-4554.  The August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area is located at 2360 Highway D, approximately two miles west of Highway 94.

Beginning Archery and Atlatl is one of the many outdoor skills classes offered by MDC throughout the St. Louis area.  To keep informed of all activities, subscribe to the free monthly Conservation Connections Newsletter by visiting, or sign up for email news updates at