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12 January 2006
Pennsylvania hunters shouldn't use prehistoric weapon

The state Game Commissionís staff concluded in an internal study that Pennsylvania hunters should not be allowed to use the prehistoric weapon known as the atlatl to kill deer. One enthusiast for the 'spear-thrower' said he is disappointed. "We were hopeful Pennsylvania might be progressive and draw hunters from other states before they (other states) jump on the bandwagon (to legalize it)," said Pennsylvania Atlatl Association president Gary Fogelman of Turbotville. He said atlatl enthusiasts have been hoping to be allowed to use the weapon to hunt game the way hunters did thousands of years ago.
     The atlatl basically is an arm-length stick with a notch used to propel a long, flexible dart like an oversize arrow. The Game Commission staff report said the atlatl is not deadly enough to kill deer quickly and humanely. The recommendation is nonbinding. It was issued about two weeks before the state Board of Game Commissioners is scheduled to vote on whether to permit atlatl hunting. Animal rights activists are concerned the weapon would wound too many deer. Fogelman said any weapon can wound animals without killing them.
     Alabama allows the use of the atlatl for hunting deer, though few people there use it. Game Commissioner Roxane Palone said previously that allowing the weapon might help expand hunting. Sales of general hunting licenses have fallen about 22 percent since the mid 1980s.

Sources: Associated Press, Williamsport Sun-Gazette (12 January 2006)

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