Have you ever yearned to toss out high-tech equipment and go back to the basics of hunting using primal skills?
A Missouri hunter did just that and made history on Nov. 12 using an ancient hunting tool.
It wasn’t a handmade bow. The weapon he chose dates back 400,000 years, long before bows were ever created. His hunting aid was an atlatl (pronounced “at-lattle”)— the Stone Age answer to long range weaponry.
Atlatls brought down woolly mammoths, giant sloths, and all the mega fauna of the Ice Age when early man upgraded from using spears after discovering that atlatls enabled the user to throw projectiles up to 150 yards at speeds of almost 100 miles per hour.
The atlatl consists of a throwing “hook,” a 4- to 6-foot long spear-tipped projectile, and a hand-held socket. This device was used until the invention of the bow, which gave slightly greater range and better accuracy.
Luke Boenker, from Maryland Heights, Mo., is a long-time bow and gun hunter but decided to test himself by using primitive weapons. He fashioned his own atlatl and practiced for three months before taking it on a deer hunt.
On Nov. 12, he became the first officially recognized Missouri hunter to bag a four-point whitetail buck with such a device since Missouri included atlatls as a legal deer hunting method in 2010.