Relax Like a Lumberjack at Bad Axe Throwing Ottawa

All photos courtesy of Bad Axe Throwing Ottawa.

Before he applied to work at Bad Axe Throwing, the fact that you can actually throw an axe never really occurred to Jesse Gutzman.

“I’d never even though about throwing an axe. I’ve always used axes, I grew up in the country so I was always chopping,” laughs Gutzman, Bad Axe’s Chief Axe Thrower/Operations Manager. “But I don’t think it ever occurred to me that I could throw one.”

More and more Canadians are having the same realization as Gutzman. First; that you can throw axes, and second; that axe throwing is freakin’ awesome. After opening the first Bad Axe location in Burlington in 2014, the company has expanded across the country. They launched a club in Ottawa last summer, and by the end of April they’ll have eight Canadian locations, with three more on the way before May’s end.


Gutzman blames their whirlwind success on the simple pleasure of hurling a heavy axe over your head and watching it dig into the solid wooden target.

“It’s a fantastic sound,” he says. “That satisfaction of just nailing an axe through a target and making the whole place reverberate is just an empowering feeling.”

Throwers can choose to toss a heavy two-handed axe, one of the smaller 1.25 pound hatchets or they can try their hands at throwing two hatchets at once. No matter what technique they choose, axe throwing is a lot easier than many people expect. If you can put enough muscle into an overhead throw, the axe’s weight often does the rest. Gutzman says that about 50 per cent of people should be hitting a bullseye or two by the end of their first session. But you can still have plenty of fun even if your shots aren’t perfect.

“Just letting an axe fly through the air indoors when you’re with a bunch of people celebrating something, it’s just extremely exhilarating,” says Gutzman.

BAT-08Most of the people who head to Ottawa’s axe throwing club are there for some kind of celebration. Birthdays are the most common, but bachelorette and bachelor parties are a huge draw as well. Gutzman has even seen divorce parties, where the former married couple bring their friends out to have some fun with their annulment and let off a bit of steam. The throwing leagues, which are starting on Monday, April 11 at 6:30 p.m. are an especially big draw for the more competitive and skilled throwers.

People also visit to get a chance at feeling like a lumberjack.

“We get a lot of women coming in wearing fake moustaches,” Gutzman says, adding that “Pretty much every party has at least two people wearing plaid.”

The one concern visitors might have about an afternoon of axe-throwing is that it may not be safe, but each club makes sure throwers are always monitored and that they know the rules and technique before stepping up to the range.

“It sounds edgy and we like it that way, but when it comes down to it, it’s no more dangerous than throwing darts,” Gutzman says.

You can find out more about local axe throwing and how to get your lumberjack on at