Atlatl Targeting in the Urban Environment

Hi — Cory writing today …

My dad (Ray) gave me a big foam target back in November and I finally found some time to set it up and throw here in DC.  Posting some pictures that I took with my friend Mark over at his house in Anacostia, across the river from Capitol Hill.

The Urban Atlatl Range

Unlike Mark and I, my dad lives in a semi-rural location where it isn’t too difficult to find a good, safe 100-foot diameter area to throw a dart with an atlatl.  Here in “The Nation’s Capitol,” it’s quite a bit more difficult to get away from the dense, yardless row house scene … and I reckon it’s probably not quite legal!

As you can see in the image below, Mark’s range is a driveway about 70 feet long.  We were very careful not to hit the cars about 30 feet up above.

About the Atlatl Target

I’m pretty sure the target I’m showing here is the kind folks are using regularly in tournaments.  (Correct me in the comments, if not.)  It’s made of a plasticky, black foam at about 50 inches wide by 55 inches tall and 5 inches thick.  It takes a hit really well, is lightweight and bends easily for transport in the back of my Subaru station wagon.

What I don’t like about it is that it’s clearly not environmentally friendly, will need replacing, and requires a little bit of fuss to set up.  It’s better than nothing but my overall sense is that it will probably end up either in a landfill or my back patio with half a dozen others by the end of my atlatl career.  So, if you have other material suggestions, let me know.  I like hay bails too but maybe they’re not as easy to work with, I don’t know.

Setting up the Atlatl Target

Setup requires a frame that my dad built out of 2″X2″ posts and a bit of plywood.  It’s just two independent legs that we balanced with cinder blocks and some sticks nailed through the feet.

Next we poked twine through the target and tied it off.


Hitting the Target

My dad’s a lot better at explaining how to hit a target with an atlatl … but I’ll tell you, a large, legitimate target is much easier and much, much more rewarding to hit than a bunch of crappy cardboard boxes.


PS: We did get a couple bullseyes.  Next time I’ll remember to photograph that part.