KNIVES FOR HUNTING
Many of us hunters of long have a love affair with the tool of a successful hunt; the knife.
In our minds, we have this idea of the perfect knife that will fit our hand like a glove; that will perform surgery like a scalpel; that will not need to be sharpened ever, and will remove a cape as well as field dress and skin anything from a deer to a moose.
In our search for the perfect blade, we accumulate many of them that are probably as good as the best knife ever made, but in our search for Nirvana we keep adding new blades and hoping to do enough hunting to test all of them on game.
On the other hand, some hunters are not interested at all in the tool. My friend Frank that has probably field dressed at least fifty deer with the same Buck hunter knife in the last 20 years removes it from the pack once every year in hunting season to field dress a deer or two, and the blade goes back into the same pack to wait for next year’s job.
Perhaps his father being a butcher has something to do with it. He was taught how to field dress a deer early in life, and to him it is just a necessary job that has to be performed. To others like me it is a culmination of all our efforts and should be done as elegantly and as clean and bloodless as possible and with the most effective of tools.
I have found in my long search for the perfect blade that many of today’s knives in the market qualify as superb blades for the job. A good knife blade of 3 ˝ to 4 inches will be plenty for most chores. Preferences in my case are for the drop-point blades, but I have had good service from clip points or other shapes.
Some of us like a fancy wood or antler handle or perhaps some engraving on the blade. Those I label dress knives and are a great way to stir a conversation between fellow hunters. I am one with that type of taste and will always appear at camp with a fancy blade. The truth is that I perform all of my field dressings with a plain one that I keep hidden in my pack.
Here is one of my fancy blades, the Browning model 122 one of one thousand, and the one that does the actual field dressing, a Buck 192 Vanguard.