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Tomahawk throwing

Throw a specially-designed axe towards a target. Will it hit it with a thud?

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What to expect

A tomahawk is a type of single-handed axe – you’ll use a specially-designed throwing tomahawk or small hawk for this adventure. They’re made for throwing, so they’re different from conventional axes and felling axes (you mustn’t use these for throwing activities).

You’ll throw the tomahawk at a target from a distance, trying to get it to hit the target and stick into the wood. People of any age can get stuck in, as long as they can safely lift and throw the tomahawk or small hawk.

What you’ll learn

Once you’ve felt the thrill of watching a tomahawk you’ve thrown spin through the air, you’ll want to try again, and again, and again. You might not hit the target (and hear that satisfying thud) first time, but stick at it, and you’ll get there in the end.

Sticking at it is one of the most important parts of tomahawk throwing. Patience and practise are the keys to perfecting your accuracy and being successful.

Fun facts

Small hawks are also known as throwing angels or throwing fleurs.

Handy hints

  • Grab some extra hair bobble. People with long hair will probably need to tie it back. Take a few extra hair ties, just in case anyone forgets.
  • Keep it interesting. If people are taking it in turns to shoot, why not prepare something to keep everyone entertained when it isn’t their turn? Make sure whatever you choose is easy to dip in and out of, and that it’s not distracting for the people who are shooting.
  • Dominant hands. Try to get into groups of right-handed or left-handed people. It’ll be easier to each a group if they’re all using the same hand to throw.


You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
  • Check the weather forecast
Throwing at targets representing humans or animals is not permitted:
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts:
  • Acceptable instructor qualifications
    • Tomahawk trained activity leader - and run in line with the guidance in the Tomahawk Throwing factsheet (FS120011)
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:
You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
  • The centre/instructor should hold one of these:
    • Tomahawk trained activity leader - and run in line with the guidance in the Tomahawk Throwing factsheet (FS120011)
  • The provider must have public liability insurance.


Tomahawk Throwing


Tomahawk throwing needed people to try, try again, even when things got tricky. Did everyone manage to hit the target perfectly on their first try? Probably not – most people need plenty of practise to improve their aim and throw. Who got better during the session? How did people feel when they hit the target for the first time? How did people encourage their friends?

For most people tomahawk throwing was probably a chance to try something new. How did people feel when they first saw the tomahawks? Some people may have felt excited and keen to get stuck in, while others may have felt more cautious or unsure. Did anyone feel like a natural tomahawk thrower after their first attempt? Some people may have taken a little longer to feel comfortable, and that’s OK too. If people had the chance to try both a tomahawk and small hawk, did they prefer one of them? Would people like to give tomahawk throwing another go?

There are plenty of ways to keep tomahawk throwing interesting, from playing games to using different targets. Let the person leading the session know how much experience your group has so they can plan. Don’t worry if you’ve got a mixture of beginners and experienced throwers – if you let the instructor know, they’ll be able to create a session that works for everyone.

Tomahawk throwing can often be adapted so more people can give it a go. Many outdoor centres have facilities that cater for people with additional needs and experienced instructors to help everyone achieve their goals. Get in touch with your local provider to chat through the needs of people in your group – make sure you give them plenty of notice.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Anyone who enjoyed tomahawk throwing might like to explore other adventures that put their accuracy to the test, for example, archery, air rifle shooting, or clay pigeon shooting.