Youngsters learn 30,000-year old craft

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Despite snowy conditions in Rapid City Saturday afternoon, young folks got to take a step back in time – more than 30,000 years in fact.

A youngster shows the parts of an atlatl, an ancient Aztec weapon, during a class at the Outdoor Campus West Saturday afternoon. Photo Date: Nov. 24, 2018.

A youngster shows the parts of an atlatl.

The Outdoor Campus West hosted a special family class on how to hunt with the atlatl, an ancient Aztec hunting weapon.

The atlatl is the first known mechanized weapon developed in human history and was used to fell animals as large as giant mammoths.

Kevin Isely, an intern naturalist at the Outdoor Campus West and the class instructor, said that it’s not just important to get youth interested in hunting, but also to teach them about the history of hunting around the world.

“It really brings us, I think, back to our past,” Isely said, “to a time that was a little bit more primitive and maybe dangerous. But I think it really shows ingenuity of what little we had and we were able to come up with. This technology that was highly effective and also was really fun to use.”

Atlatls are capable of launching spears at more than 70 miles per hour.

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