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GUNS Magazine July 2010 - Page 36
How to choose the perfect knife for the hunt. ith the overwhelming majority of press focused on tactical knives in the past decade, you’d think knives for outdoorsmen had crawled up in a cave somewhere and died. Fortunately, this is not the case. Truth is, there are plenty of hunting and sporting knives to be had—and the same technology infused into the tactical knife arena is there for the outdoorsman’s taking. Making your selection even more bountiful, some of the tactical knives available crossover nicely into the outdoor field. Some offer the same characteristics you would look for in a hunting knife. The key is to know what your personal needs are. Selection varies according to the type of hunting you do and which other outdoor sports you participate in, such as camping, fishing and hiking. The two biggest factors in choosing a knife are picking the right blade style and length to best suit your needs. These two elements will affect your ability to perform the chores you do the most. Once you choose the right blade, selecting the other traits you want in a knife will be the icing on the cake. To keep it simple, we’ll look at fixed-blade knives here, but the same applications apply to folding knives as well. Keep in mind folders aren’t available in the large sizes available in fixed-blade knives. The blade is the heart of the knife from which everything else revolves. Get the blade right and you’re halfway home. Two blade styles proven to be great choices for the hunter are the drop point and clip point. The reason is two-fold. First off, these are good all-around time-proven working blades and can handle multiple field chores. Secondly, both are effective at skinning because when turned upside down they glide under the flesh without snagging internal organs that can contaminate meat. A knife with a turned up tip, typically call a trailing point or “Persian” style, points downward when skinning, increasing the chances of piercing organs. These blades can be used to skin game, but it requires pinching the flesh and pulling it upward during cutting to clear the blade of the viscera below. The length of a blade determines its ability to perform various field chores. If you want an average-size knife for executing a wide variety of field chores and dressing game, a blade in the 4" range is an excellent choice. A blade this size can be used to prepare medium-size game, like whitetail deer, and though it may not be your preference, can also be used to skin larger and smaller game as well. Many hunters prefer a shorter blade for skinning, but the shorter the blade, the less versatility it will offer for doing other duties around the camp. This is where you need to adjust the length of the blade to suit your particular situation. If you are hunting out of a comfortable camp setting and most of your efforts will be cleaning game, you may only need a 3" or 3.5" blade. If you are camping in the wild you’ll need a 4" blade or longer to WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JULY 2010 W Pat Covert Blades for the hunter are diverse in both style and length, and good choices include (above, from left to right) the Bob Dozier Pro Guide, the DiamondBlade Knives Pinnacle I and Benchmade Knives’ small Activator. This pair of large and small Benchmade Activators (below) can pull double duty as both hunting knives and practical tacticals. Start With The Blade 36