I've found that the Buck Vanguard is a good combination for a hunting (field dressing) knife as well as doubling as a decent survival type knife. Blade shape, size, and overall design seem to be okay for both tasks. I own and have owned lots of knives and have always very fanatical and very enthusiastic about cutlery since about age 10. I think that most good quality folding lock-back hunting knives also double as good survival knives in a pinch. When looking for a knife to double as both, you have trade-offs and have to make compromises. I like my survival type knives to be fixed blade and have a drop-point blade of 5 to 6 inches in length. But for biggame hunting I don't want to work with a blade any longer than 4 inches and prefere a clip-point or modified higher sweep drop-point shape and preferably with a 3.5 to 3.75 inches in blade length.
I have knives very specific to the task, be it skinning, field dressing, filleting, boning, butchering, camp chores, survival, self-defensive, etc. But when hunting I generaly carry one or two knives that double as a field-dresser and skinner, either a Buck 110 or Gerber Magnum L.S.T., both are pretty strong lock-back folders. If I get stuck in a survival situation while hunting, one or both of those knives is all I'll have, so I have to make do with what I have and make full use of all my resources. That's a big part of survival - making full use of all your available resources.
In addition, the new February issue of Outdoor Life has a page of tests and reviews for 4 knives. Two of which I see no use for sportsman. Of the four it looks like the SOG SEAL Pup would be a good one as well as the Benchmade 147BK. The other two in the review seem pretty darn useless to me unless I'm chopping brush or opening coconuts. Benchmade makes some great knives, no doubt. I own an early McHenry-Williams 710 model of their tactical folding knives and have been happy with it, though Benchmades are pricey. I see the 710 more in a defensive back-up role rather than as a hunting or survival knife. Check out Gerber's line, they seem to have an extensive line and at least one new knife every year. I think the Gator series of lock-backs and fixed blades are a great choice. I own about 5 different Gerber knives and 2 of their multi-tools, started buying Gerber knives as a youth in the mid 80's and have been very pleased with their products ever since. Though for multi-tools I prefer Leathermans.
Shopping knives range from the puukko plus the Sharpfinger. The majority of American types provide an inferior model in the Bowie utensil. Knifemaker Bob Loveless popularized the particular Drop point cheap boot knives and William Scagel popularized the Camp out knife.
All of us, at one time or another have gone on a hunting trip and had what we call “Blue Bird” weather. Warm evenings and almost hot days. We hunt in our t-shirts and enjoy the sunshine. We are way up in the mountains and have a whole week to hunt. How could it get any better?
That is, until we score on that big buck or bull. We work to get it out of the field and skinned as quickly as possible to cool it down. But try as we might, we just can’t get...