MDC offers beginning atlatl class at Busch Conservation Area Dec. 10

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Saint Louis
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ST. CHARLES, Mo.—The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering a chance to learn how to use one of mankind’s oldest hunting tools.

A Beginning Atlatl class is being held Saturday, Dec. 10, from 9 a.m. to noon. at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles.  The free class is open to ages 11 through adult. Participants ages 11-16 must be accompanied by an adult.

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.

The dart is placed along the shaft with its back end resting in the socket or knock. The thrower grips the atlatl near the front and performs a forward throw using the upper arm and wrist. The flipping motion of the atlatl creates angular momentum that propels the dart with greater speed and power than can be achieved with the arm alone. Darts thrown from the weapon can achieve velocities of nearly 100 miles per hour. The atlatl is a legal method of harvesting a deer in Missouri.

The classroom portion, held indoors, will cover safety, different types of atlatls and darts, and throwing techniques. Participants will then head outside to test their new skills.

To register, 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 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