I recently received a press release about the WOOX Thunderbird Throwing axe. I never have gotten into the axe throwing world but have been hearing more and more about it and that the sport is becoming popular. I thought that would be a fun article so I ordered a WOOX axe. I have a dead tree in my backyard to I thought I’d go practice throwing at it. It soon became apparent that I needed some instructions.
Years ago I met a girl that was the knife throwing expert for SOG knives at the SHOT Show. She was really good. The traffic at her booth was slow so she took some time and worked with me. I learned quite a bit from her.
I’m not a knife throwing expert but from what I can tell, here are the basics. It’s imperative to release the knife at the exact same spot every time. You can’t release it one time with your arm fully extended and the next time with your elbow half bent. Or else one time the knife will hit on its point and the next time on the back of the handle.
The next big pointer. If your knife hits the target on the hilt of the handle then you need to step either backwards or forwards which will correct the point of impact. So really in a nutshell it is that simple.
Now let’s switch gears and jump into axe throwing. I liked throwing an axe more because since it has a convex cutting edge it has a larger sticking surface. So even if my throw isn’t dead on it is more likely to stick.
By chance this week I was over in South Dakota and while eating dinner I was reading a local publication and noticed that there was an axe throwing facility named “Hub City Axe Throwing” and is located in the Aberdeen mall. In a short amount of time I was meeting with the owner Ryan Perrion. He is No. 75 in the WATL (World Axe Throwing League) standings. There are two major leagues. The other one is IATF (International Axe Throwing Federation).
When I first started writing 20 years ago, I was assigned an article on boots. I told Vickie, the editor at that time that I didn’t feel qualified to write on that topic. She told me that would happen throughout my writing career and not to panic. She taught me that in those situations to interview an expert and quote them. So with that said, I interviewed Ryan. Here are a few insights he shared.
1. He affirmed what I stated above that due to the convex edge, an axe is a little easier to stick than a throwing knife.
2. If you want to buy an axe, he suggested getting one to fit you. Look for the proper weight, handle thickness and length of handle that fits you personally. And if you plan on throwing competition, different leagues have different axe specs so buy accordingly.
3. In competition they throw from 10 feet and 15 feet.
4. The WATL has four seasons per year and 28 games per season and then the end of the year is the World Axe Throwing Championship.
I don’t foresee me doing competition axe throwing but it was interesting talking to Ryan and I learned a lot from him. If you’re interested in axe throwing competitions I Googled it and it looks like there is at least four axe throwing venues in the Valley. But more than likely you’re like me and would just like to throw one and mess around. When you’re up in the mountains camping you need to have some activities for everyone to do when lounging around camp. I think it’d be fun to set up a log to throw at. Or you could cut a wafer out of a log and spray paint some circles on the end and throw at that. That’d be a great way to pass time in camp. In a few weeks I think I’ll take it up to elk camp and practice in the middle of the day.
(I’ve got a nephew-in-law (Is that even a word) that has a traveling circus group. They do fire breathing stuff, acrobatics, axe throwing demos etc. Maybe next time I see him I can have him teach me more on axe throwing. Their group is Norsefyre if you want to check them out).
So I think throwing an axe would be great fun while hanging out in camp. Or even in your hunting camp during the middle of the day. I’d recommend you also get a leather sheath for safety reasons and to keep from dinging up the edge. So grab an axe and who knows, you may be the next modern day Davy Crockett and start elk hunting with an axe!
Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana. He also writes for various outdoors magazines and teaches outdoors seminars at stores like Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.