Taking a trophy buck is always a thrill, but taking a trophy buck with a spear-thrower must be even more exhilarating.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announced recently that a hunter in St. Charles County was able to harvest a large 15-point buck with the primitive weapon during archery season. On October 24, Paul Gragg hit the buck from his tree stand at about 3:30 in the afternoon, landing one of the few—and perhaps one of the largest—bucks killed with an atlatl in the state.

“This was the first year he has hunted with the atlatl and it was the first time he threw at a deer!” the MDC stated on Facebook.

Hunting with atlatls was legalized in Missouri in 2010 and the state remains one of only two that allow it for deer hunting. Use of the primitive weapon for hunting deer is also legal in Alabama, and a handful of states also allow atlatls for taking small game.

Predating the bow and arrow, atlatls are one of the oldest and most primitive weapons still in use. It is comprised of a four- to six-foot-loong dart that looks like a cross between a spear and an arrow. The dart is placed on a launcher—the atlatl itself—that has a socket toward the rear to hold or engage the dart. With a forward throw, the hunter flicks the launcher forward and propels the dart like a spear. The atlatl allows the dart to be thrown much faster than what could be achieved by hand, and launched darts could go as fast as 100 miles per hour.

In 2011, Luke Boenker became the first hunter in Missouri to take down a deer with an atlatl when he harvested a four-point buck in St. Louis County.

Image from Facebook

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