54-year-old Luke Boenker of Maryland Heights, Missouri had hunted deer with firearms and bows for the past 37 years. In his 38th year of hunting, he decided to take a step back in time with his method of take in his quest to punch his Show-Me-State buck tag. How far back? Try 11,000 B.C. in the form of an atlatl, a spear-throwing weapon that was declared legal for use in Missouri in 2010.
After three months of practicing with the president of Missouri Atlatl Association President Ron Mertz, Boenker found himself sitting in a treestand on private property the second week in November with a self-constructed atlatl he crafted of osage-orange wood (think: hedge tree) and a 7-foot-long dart made of ash topped with an Ace broadhead.
A small buck had ventured within 15 yards of his stand and after grunting to get the deer to stop, Boenker let loose a throw that caught the buck in its back, passing through into the rib cage. The buck crashed about 150 yards away.
This was the first ever deer taken with an atlatl in Missouri.
“It was the ultimate feeling,” Boenker shared with Missouri Department of Conservation.