Take a step back in time and practice primitive skills from atlatls to tomahawk throwing in Jefferson City.

Take a step back in time and explore our heritage with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) primitive skills workshop at Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City. 

From 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, visitors can practice primitive skills such as atlatl throwing and tomahawk throwing, archery, natural dyes, cordage, and flintknapping. This event is free and all ages are welcome. No registration is required.

Primitive cultures of people who inhabited Missouri centuries ago relied on Missouri’s natural resources as much as we do today, but their means of securing food, shelter, clothing and other protection depended on sharp skillsets in making tools and materials from natural objects, and using them with precision.

Atlatls are ancient hunting tools that use hand-held, arm-propelled launchers to project six-foot spears at their targets. The additional leverage provided by the atlatl allows the user to throw the dart much quicker than with arm-power alone – up to 100 miles per hour.

Likely once used to hunt mastodons and mammoths, the atlatl was replaced by the bow and arrow about 2,000 years ago. The Missouri Conservation Commission approved the atlatl for small game hunting in 2007, and for deer hunting in 2010. Today, hunters and target shooters embrace this primitive tool which has secured its spot in Missouri hunting culture.

Archery remains a popular hunting and target shooting method today, as well. And while we need not rely so heavily on flint arrow-points, tomahawks, and homemade cordage today, learning these skills can benefit even the most modern outdoors enthusiast.

Learn more about this and other events at Runge by calling the Nature Center at (573) 526-5544, visit nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places/runge-nature-center, or stop in to explore the many exhibits, trails, and interactive nature experiences at 330 Commerce Drive in Jefferson City.