Now you need to make atlatl darts. They can be made as simple as cutting a reasonably straight section of sapling to approximately 36 inches in length, removing the bark, sharpening one end, and then cutting a nock in the other end that will mate with the peg on your atlatl. Then, to launch your dart at a prospective target, all you have to do is place the dart’s nock against the atlatl’s peg and then lay the shaft into the fork and hold it in place by positioning your thumb and index fingers over the dart’s shaft. Raise the atlatl over your shoulder, point the dart at your intended target, and then move the atlatl forward in an arc while releasing the dart’s shaft from your fingers. This will cause the dart to launch with great speed and momentum. If you’re confused, then watch the video below.
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With more time to work with, you can make much finer atlatl darts by cutting an appropriate sized sapling to length, removing the bark, and then straightening the shaft by suspending the dart over a fire for a short period in order to cause the moisture contained within the wood to heat. Also, you can harden the tip of the shaft by placing it in the coals of a fire for a short period and removing it. Then, sharpen it with your bushcraft knife.
So, although an atlatl and darts may not be as sophisticated a hunting tool as a bow, it requires significantly less time and effort to make it – and yet is every bit as effective at harvesting both small and large game animals. The range over which they can be cast is mainly dependent on the strength of the hunter, but the average person can easily cast a dart 50 yards using an atlatl and, with a little more effort, 100 yards.
What advice would you add on making an atlatl and darts? Share your tips in the section below:
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