Western Hunting Journal, Sneak Peak WHJ_Short - Page 22

SHORT BLASTS Hunting Knives: 5 Things to Consider A sharp knife is the basic tool all hunters need and have used for hundreds of years. It is what makes it possible for us to clean our game and eventually cut it up to pack out of the mountains, slice into packages, and eat our harvest. There are plenty of options available, but take my advice and strongly consider the shape, style and the grade of steel used. TEMPERED STEEL A good tempered and hardened steel blade makes it possible to hold a sharp edge for a long period of time, even after field dressing an animal, skinning it and then taking the meat off the bone for backpacking back to camp. LIGHTWEIGHT STEEL Lightweight and thin bladed knives are often made of soft steel which means they dull quick- ly but also can be easily sharpened in the field. The trade-off is the need to carry a stone or sharpening system but they are usually less expensive. DISPOSABLE BLADES One of the newest knife systems is one that uses disposable blades, which are more like scalpels than a hunting knife. They can be very effective and I have used them for the past two years with great success. SHAPE The blade shape also makes your job easier. A drop point knife is a good “all around” blade but a well-rounded blade makes quick work when skinning an animal. DUAL PURPOSE BLADES Dual purpose blades such as a skinning blade or drop point with a gut hook on the backside makes it easier to field dress an animal without puncturing the stomach or internal organs. JASON BROOKS 20 WESTERN HUNTING JOURNAL Sitka blacktail in its summer velvet. An alpine buck taken in the summer. photo One of the most important and useful tools we carry, keep your knife sharp and respect the blade and it will last a lifetime. Hunting Alaska’s Sitka Blacktail Deer POW, Kodiak islands produce ‘book’ bucks. W hen deciding to hunt Sit- ka blacktail deer in Alaska two units are notably more appealing when it comes to harvesting a trophy buck. The state has sev- en units where it allows deer hunting, but two of the more popular areas to hunt are Kodiak Island and Prince of Wales Island. Especially if you’re looking for a buck th