Rural Missouri - January 2021 - 39

Above: Brian and Dawn Wagner use this barn on their Truxton farm as a blind for covert throws at deer. Previous page: Used for thousands of
years across six continents, the Stone Age atlatl has myriad variations as seen in Dawn's (top) and Brian's atlatls made by AJ Bagg.
by Jennifer Jackson | info@ruralmissouri.coop
photos by Zach Smith | zsmith@ruralmissouri.coop

D

avid Lohr's skill set ranges from Space Age to
Stone Age. For 11 years, he was a professor
of aviation technology, teaching people how to
overhaul jet engines. He also honed his outdoor
survival skills, showing people how to knap flints to make
knives and crafting bows and arrows. But his ultimate goal
- taking a deer with an atlatl - has eluded him.
" Deer hunting with an atlatl is the most heartbreaking
thing that you can do, " David says.
Resembling a long-handled shoehorn, an atlatl (pronounced at' lat-tuhl) is a prehistoric, hand-held weapon
used to hurl a 6-foot long spear, called a dart, at a target.
As a hunting tool, the atlatl became outdated with the
invention of the long bow, but it's drawing attention in
Missouri as a competitive sport and among hunters who
want a challenge.
David, who lives in Thayer, was one dart short of taking
a deer with an atlatl. It was a cold day, he recalls, and he
had gone to his favorite tree stand. He was freezing, but
his patience was rewarded.

" A little six-point buck came out and stopped right on
the 13-yard rock, " he says of the distance markers he had
put in the ground. " I had just started my throw when I
heard a crack. "
The crack was the sound of the 6-foot dart hitting a narrow limb behind him. As a result, the dart traveled only 6
yards and stuck in the ground. The buck ran off a bit, so
David started snorting and chuffing, mimicking another
buck. Then he noticed a doe that had come to the edge of
the field. The buck ran over to the doe. The doe stopped
right on the 20-yard marker from his stand.
" I had been practicing every day, so I was pretty confident I could hit her, " says David, who had a 25-yard
indoor atlatl range at his store, Kosh Trading Post. " I took
my second dart and leaned over so I wouldn't hit the limb.
The dart missed her under her ribs. If she'd been at the
13-yard rock, I would've hit her clean. "
Both deer approached and smelled the dart that was
sticking in the ground. But David had only brought two
darts to the stand with him that day. " After that, " he says,
" I started taking four darts to the woods. "
An atlatl increases the force of the throw, but throwing
a 6-foot dart with accuracy over a distance requires a high
JANUARY 2021 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

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Rural Missouri - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - January 2021

Contents
Rural Missouri - January 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - January 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - January 2021 - Contents
Rural Missouri - January 2021 - 4
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Rural Missouri - January 2021 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - January 2021 - Cover4
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