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Hunting Knife Basics (Feature Article)

June 2004 Feature Article:

Hunting Knife Basics

Please use this area to post comments or questions about this feature article.

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Location: Ca
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Hunting Knife Basics (Feature Article)

I will have to take issue with the comment, 'you can always tell a beginner by the type of knife he carries (my paraphrase). ' While the article was useful and well thought out, let me start by saying that one's choice of knife is often a personal preference, not a necessity. There are superior quality knives made today, along with a superior price, and myriad types of knives for every occaision, but for the most part the day to day requirements of a cutting edge are adequately met by most general purpose knives.
I have personally received my share of condescending looks from other hunters for carrying a 13" bowie (egad! a bowie?) while bowhunting. If I am in a place where I can reasonably carry a large blade, exposed, it really works well, it is much easier to butcher game, cut thru bones, chop bushes for blinds, cut rope, fillet fish, sharpen tent stakes, make a lean- to, not to mention self defense-with a big knife. I am never without one of my favorite folding pocket knifes for more adept work:) Later, zeN

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Hunting Knife Basics (Feature Article)

I been making, sharpening and carrying knives, (also carving chisels), for many years. The article sounds as though the author had way to much spare time on his hands and maybe a few to many beers. All in all, a very bad article. The work of an all around novice.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
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Hunting Knife Basics (Feature Article)

Well, I didn't think the article was all THAT bad, although it spends a lot of time on basics that anyone ought to know before they ever go out hunting. I mean, is there really anyone out there buying a hunting knife who needs to be told that the blade is the part that has the cutting surface ground into it?

I would also say that, while stainless steel knives are fine and I carry one myself, there's nothing wrong with non-stainless knives either. My uncle--who has been a licensed guide here in Colorado for something like 30 years now--prefers non-stainless knives.

As for the size, I carry two knives for field dressing elk. One has a 4" blade and does most of the work of gutting and skinning. The other is a Buck General, which has a 7" long but relatively narrow blade. I use that when it comes time to quarter the elk by slicing off the hams and shoulders. I do this rather than sawing the pelvis and spine, and find that I get all the good meat with less effort this way (a trick I learned from my uncle).

Anyway, like I said, not a terrible article, I suppose, if you're pretty much a novice.

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Hunting Knife Basics (Feature Article)

I found the article to be very good. It just ephisises what experienced hunters already know and what a novice should learn. While knife size and blade shape have some to do with personal preference.....I do believe in using the appropriate tools for the job, and certain knives are made and designed for certain tasks.

While choice of knives is a personal thing I personally see no purpose a bowie knife serves in hunting. The bowie knife wasn't originally designed as a hunting knife for field dressing game anyway. Though it will serve well to butcher game. The bowies was designed as a fighting backup weapon and as a general camp utility knife. You have to keep in mind that firearms were single shot breech loading or muzzle loading ones back when the bowies was in popular use. Hunters from the early 1800's may have carried the bowie for protection, but not for hunting, they carried smaller knives for field dressing and skinning game. Ever see early Indian artifacts and hunting equipment. They used smaller flint bladed knives, none had a blade larger than 4" to 5".

For field dressing and skinning even a large animal I see absolutley no need for a large knife. A a well made knife with a strong sharp blade of no more than 4.5 inches is a good all around sized blade that gets the job done, 3.75" to 4" blades serve better. I hate hatchets so I also don't underestimate the value of a small bone saw or pack saw for larger animals like elk . I like to carry a 10 inch pack saw, a 4 1/8 inch bladed Buck Vanguard, and two other smaller Buck folding knives. For deer or pronghorn, heck.....a 3 inch bladed folding knife is all you need.

Folder or fixed blade....well....that's a personal preference.

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Hunting Knife Basics (Feature Article)

Here's an article I found by Gary Benton that appears to me to be well written, too many beers or not.
Note the last paragraph speaks of his qualifications and experience

http://www.huntingnet.com/articles/articles.aspx?articles_id=472

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Hunting Knife Basics (Feature Article)

Here's the link to the same article on Gary Benton's site:

http://www.simplesurvival.net/survivalknife.htm

He has written many articles on survival, knives, etc.

Here is an index page of all he has written:
http://www.simplesurvival.net/articles.htm

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Hunting Knife Basics (Feature Article)

Tried to read the article but didn't find it intresting. As someone said earlier, "a knife is a personnel thing". All to true. I love what I call good knives. I have one that was made for me by Track Inc. of Whitefish,Mont back in the earily 70's. It's the same one that was on a cover of "Shooting Times" magazine in the 70's. The difference being that mine has a beautiful rosewood handle. Track was bough by Smith-Wesson years ago.

I spent a good deal of time at the shop talking with Ray Schmidt and Don Phifer, the owner's and think I learned a good deal. By the way, my knife was the last Don made as he went to writting country music in Tenn. He was a buddy of Chris Kristofferson, who was living in Big Fork at the time.

One thing I don't like is points that turn up. They seem to have a tendicity to pull into things they shouldn't. I also don't care for those little gutting notches, never got one to work well. Not to crazy about a pronounced belly either. Up turn point's and belly's make sharpening a chore for me. Another thing is the grind. There's flat ground and hollow ground and, seldom seen anymore, chisel ground. The hollow ground knife is a fairly weak blade and when done like the old Buck's, with a bevel edge, very hard to sharpen. A hollow grind that has no bevel edge is a thin blade. Sharpens really well but to sharp usually and doesn't hold an edge that well. A flat grind is a tuffer blade with a slightly thicker edge that holds the edge better. The draw back of flat grind is that now and again the blade needs re-flattened or the edge get's to thick.

My favorite point is a drop or straight point. They are easy to sharpen and holding the point between two fingers makes gutting a breeze, just make a small incission for your fingers, take the point between then and slide your fingers right down. Zip and it's done without tearing a gut.

Stainless is lot's easier to care for but I think carbon takes and holds a better edge. The knife I got was tested against a "Randall" and using a 4" hemp rope, left the "Randall"in the dust. Randall made the knives most dreamed of owning. My "Track" cut the rope 65 times without needing sharpening.

For factory knives I liked any knife as long as it was made by "Schrade". But my all time favorite factory was a "Puma Hunters Pal". Lost it, damn it! Now I have several old "Schrade's", a "Buck" folder I found that is very nice. A "Buck" 5' sheath a friend bought me with a flat grind and a drop point, beautiful. A couple old "Western's" and a couple other odds and ends.

On thing that Ray and Don impressed on me was that a knife is a cutting tool. Those big ones that do it all up to cutting fire wood, do nothing well and are bothersome to carry. Usually they are hard to sharpen and used for chopping are prone to getting nics in the blade that need ground out. They are often of either hard steel and thick, to hold up to chopping, or thick and of softer steel that won't take a good edge. Thick is to give the blade strength and has a hatchet edge to help in chopping. A thinner easier to sharpen edge will nic especially when a knot in wood is hit.

Knives deffinately are a personnel thing but different knives have different purposes and make different jobs much easier. ie: you can fillet a fish with a survial knife but a thin fillet blade is lots easier and faster, you can peel an apple with a survial knife but a pocket knife is lots better.

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Hunting Knife Basics (Feature Article)

I agree with most of the other posts, a knife is as personal as the underwear a person chooses to wear that day. Who cares what kind of knife someone carries as long as it does the job of cutting while at the same time completing the manhood of most of us rambos out there. This guy has spent way too much time on such a simple thing. My old timer has spliced the tissue of many critters and I never had to wonder if it was stainless enough or if the handle was too slippery. Oh well, I guess he got me to read it
Hank

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Hunting Knife Basics (Feature Article)

Better yet is the Convex ground blade. Cross section looks like the shape of a pumpkin seed. Almost no one makes this grind anymore except for Marbles and a few custom makers. Makes for a very sturdy blade, though it's too thick for most slicing jobs.

While I don't like the looks of skeletonized knife handles, or gut hooks, the newer Buck Alpha Crosslock PBS knife has what you need in a small fold-up package for field dressing deer sized game. 3" spear point blade and a 3" excellent bone saw with gut hook. Even the Outdoor Edge Hybrid Hunter has a blade that appears to be ideal for field dressing and skinning.

Of course no matter what I carry or how many, I never go hunting without packing along my good old "stand-by" a Buck 110 folding hunter Yes

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Hunting Knife Basics (Feature Article)

For Don Fisher:
Do you recall what the Tracks knife tang stamp looks like. I saw a knife (Lockback folding hunter) with a symbol like a track, & was told that the maker was TRACKS. Does that seem correct?
Thanks, Ben

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