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Axe Throwing (FS120011)

(Published March 2016 as version 1)


The following provides information you need to know to run an effective throwing axe session for members of The Scout Association.  It is a requirement of Policy Organisation and Rules (POR) rule 9.38 that the following guidance is followed.

What is axe throwing?

For the purposes of this guidance a throwing axe is referring to the use of tomahawks, throwing angels and throwing axes which are designed for this use. This explicitly excludes conventional axes and felling axes as well as knives, including designated throwing knives and other sharp items which must not be thrown under any circumstance.  For clarity; throwing angels are also known as small hawks.

Throwing equipment, targets and throwing areas

Appropriate targets are made of soft woods e.g. poplar, pine, wellingtonia or willow and could be of a fixed variety or portable depending on the circumstances surrounding the activity.  Targets are typically log slices, a minimum of 100mm thick and at least 500mm in diameter.  For most disciplines targets have circular aiming marks or concentric scoring rings but other geometric designs may be encountered and are acceptable.  A target must not resemble the human or any animal form as this is not permitted within Scouting.  Each target must be fixed, even if temporarily, to a wooden frame or tripod.  If a tripod is used the target must lean back sufficiently so as not to be easily pulled over when removing embedded axe.  The target bulls-eye should be between 1.3m and 1.6m above the ground.  Appropriately anchored scaffold boarding or clamped wooden blocks, of similar thickness to that outlined above could be considered but it is important to ensure that these are capable of holding an embedded axe without falling over.

It is acceptable to organise indoor sessions but consideration must be given to protecting floors and walls with boards, carpet, netting etc. when deciding this.  The range distances depicted below apply for both indoor and outdoor ranges.

Axe throwing areas, as with those for archery and shooting, need proper consideration to ensure both the safety of those taking part in; and observing the activity.  The details of a suggested axe throwing range area is depicted below in figure 1.  Distances in figure 1 (at the bottom of this page) should be considered as minimum. The throwing range should be clearly marked avoiding areas with overhanging obstructions e.g. branches, cables and pipework.

Throwing Axe Technique

The activity leader should check that the thrower is physically able to throw the equipment being used.  If in doubt use a “try” axe (a try axe is a length of brush handle weighted at one end).

The thrower should:

Important Safety Measures to follow for throwing axe sessions

Appropriate activity leaders of throwing axe sessions

An appropriate activity leader is a competent individual who regularly takes part in the activity or belongs to a relevant club.  There is no requirement for a throwing axe activity leader to attend a specific training course to lead a session.  However, undertaking training to fully understand how to operate this activity safely would be encouraged. There are courses available in the UK for those wishing to gain a greater understanding of this activity. 

Each throwing axe activity leader can supervise a maximum of two targets.  The group size for any one target should be no larger than five ie one person throwing and four waiting to throw.  If the activity includes more than 2 targets then a Range Master should be appointed, as happens with shooting, to supervise the increase numbers participating.  A Range Master can supervise a maximum of three activity leaders.

Activity Leaders and Range Masters should ensure that the throwing axe activity is safely managed at all times and that the appropriate risk assessment is in place.

A young person can be an activity leader as long as they have the necessary skills.

Figure 1. Axe Throwing Range Area


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