Knife Throwing


Knives, like axes, are thrown from between 15 and 30 feet away from a target that is painted on the end of a log. The bulls-eye is 3 inches in diameter and worth 3 points, a 9 inch diameter ring around it is worth 2 points, and an 18 inch diameter ring is worth 1. Points are awarded for the highest scoring portion of the target struck by the blade of the knife. Three practice throws and 5 competition throws are allowed. Points are not awarded for stepping across the 15-foot line, or if part of a finger guard or the handle sticks in the target. Knife throwing has been a Conclave event every year since at least 1960, with the exception of 1961.


Knife Throwing - 2023 Conclave

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Thanks to Kolby Perrin for providing this video of Mason Helm winning knife throwing at the 64th Southern Forestry Conclave hosted by Louisiana Tech University.


Knife Throwing Tips & Techniques Video

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The distance you stand from the target plays a MAJOR role in your success or failure at knife throw. Knives tend to clang off the target, or to hit with the handle if you are standing at an incorrect distance. The table below provides a rough guideline, indicating that most competitors should stand about 1.5 feet behind the 15-foot line we use in the Southern Forestry Conclave. Holding the knife by the handle from this distance should result in two rotations in flight, landing the tip of the knife in the target. However the exact distance will depend on the nature of your specific throwing technique.

Distance (m) Distance (ft) Rotations
2 6.6 0.5
3 9.8 1
4 13.1 1.5
5 16.4 2
6 19.7 2.5

Easiest Knife Throwing Techniques for Beginners

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Ten Knife Throwing Techniques

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How to Throw a Knife

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Knives must not be home-made, must exceed 6 inches in length, and must have a definite handle.

Targets are often placed across stacked pulpwood or cants. They can also be cookies on which a target is painted. Cookies must be thick enough not to split, and are mounted on plywood or a similar backing with a constructed framework. Targets must be sturdy since they are also used for axe throw.

Photo Credit: The knife and axe throw target assembled by Clemson University at the 59th Southern Forestry Conclave. Photo by Jeremy Stovall.

Historical Context

Knife throwing has been done for sport, hunting, and warfare for thousands of years by many different cultures. In the US South knives were commonly carried as a form of self-defense until wide-scale adoption of revolvers in the 1870's. In forestry common historical examples of knife throwing involve lumberjacks passing time in logging camps, and for hunting. Knife throwing for hunting is primarily focused on small game, although many states do not directly address the practice in hunting rules and regulations (e.g. Texas). There are various organizations that have formed around knife throwing as a sport, such as the American Knife Throwing Alliance, founded in 1971.

Axe or Knife Throwing Example Layout

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