‘It’s harder than it looks’

Hamlet Boy Scout Troop 90 goes old school in survival lessons

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

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MOUNT GILEAD — Some might have expected a large crowd for the inaugural Archeaolympic Games on Saturday at Town Creek Indian Mound.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Steven Morales, a seventh-grader at Hamlet Middle School, takes his turn with the atlatl.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Steven Morales, a seventh-grader at Hamlet Middle School, takes his turn with the atlatl.

So members of Boy Scout Troop 90 in Hamlet decided to get a front-row seat. The volunteer leaders and members opted to pitch their tents and camp out Friday and Saturday night as part of a weekend-long outdoor adventure.

In between normal campout activities, members had the rare opportunity to participate in fire-making by bow-drill, throwing an Atlatl spear, playing Chunky — a general mix between bowling and bocce — and cordage weaving.

Participants had the option of trying out each station without the pressure of keeping score or paying an entry fee to remain in the hunt for the overall title. For the scouts, it was easier to forego the fee and simply have fun with it all.

It turned out that each scout — Ruben Velazro, Isaiah Wall, Steven Morales, Osirid Morales, Dwight Wallace — had their strengths and weaknesses. Steven and Ruben competed within their troop for top Chunky honors, while Isaiah proved among the best in cordage. Scouts tried out each event under the close supervision of Scoutmaster Mike Wallace.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Isaiah Wall puts full effort into throwing the atlatl.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Isaiah Wall puts full effort into throwing the atlatl.

While figuring out exact strength or angle to throw the Ataltl spear took practice, the fire-making might have been the most difficult task of the day.

“It’s harder than it looks,” said Lynn Barnes, of Greensboro.

Barnes found Chunky more to her liking. She raised her hands in triumph after edging daughter Lois Barnes in the game. In another family-friend match, Lewis May won a close one against Tom Barnes.

An atlatl (pronounced at-latal or atal-atal) precedes the bow and arrow and is one of the oldest hunting tools known to man. Jon Bowlby, an instructor at the atlatl station, told members of Troop 90 that it wasn’t the bow and arrow — a relatively new concept — that brought the Native Americans out of the Ice Age, but the atlatl. The atlatl, Bowlby said, increased the range, speed and accuracy of spear throwing that helped foot-based hunters take down animals much larger than their predators.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Lynn Barnes claims victory in her Chunky match over daughter Lois Barnes.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Lynn Barnes claims victory in her Chunky match over daughter Lois Barnes.

The atlatl is a stick with a handle on one end. On the other, Native Americans placed a hook or socket that engages a light spear. Those spears, thrown at maximum speed, turned into darts that caught the flesh of larger animals.

“The flipping motion of the atlatl propels a light spear much faster and farther than it could be thrown by hand alone.”

 

 

 

 

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Hamlet, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors, Region

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