For the first time in modern history, a Missouri hunter has harvested a deer using the atlatl, an ancient weapon that allows users to launch a spear at speeds over 100 m.p.h.
The Missouri Conservation Department first allowed the use of the atlatl during last year's deer season. But it wasn't until opening day of this year's season -- November 12 -- that an atlatl hunter finally got his prey.
The kill happened in suburban St. Louis, near Clayton and Clarkson Roads.
Luke Boenker, 54, of Maryland Heights, tells the conservation department that he spied the four-point buck about 15 yards from his deer stand. Boenker "grunted to get the deer to pause" (of course he did!) and then let loose a seven-foot dart that pierced the animal's back and rib cage. The animal fell about 150 yards from where it was first speared.
"It was the ultimate feeling," said Boenker, an accomplished outdoorsman who'd grown bored with hunting by rifle and bow.
Below is a primer on how to throw that atlatl at fake boars, alligators and mountain lions.