As a hunter, you spend a lot of time outdoors, and if you are a successful hunter, you spend a lot of time with a knife in hand. However, there is a difference in using a knife and knowing how to handle one. All hunters know how to use a knife, but not all know how to handle a knife in certain survival scenarios.
As hunting takes you deep into the great outdoors, knowing a few essential knife skills can make all the difference in not just your normal “nothing-gone-wrong” trips, but in survival situations as well.
So, what should every hunter know how to do with a knife?
You know what they say, a large knife is a small axe. Even if you don’t have a hatchet on hand or lost it, a knife can serve the same purpose. You won’t get the same chopping power as a hatchet, but you can still use the blade to split firewood if you go about it the right way. By using a small log to pound the center of the knife, you can essentially hammer it into the wood and use it as a wedge to split firewood into a smaller, more burnable size. However, once wedged in, don’t try to use your knife blade to pry the log apart, as that is a pretty reliable way to snap a blade.
This works much the same way that batoning firewood does. With a knife and a baton (log), you can pound in wedges that will eventually chop down a tree like you would with a small axe. It is best to aim for smaller trees, though. You won’t be felling any mighty Redwoods with your pocket knife. This will typically assist you in gathering poles for a shelter, making a walking stick, or creating a spear pole, all of which a fresh cut tree will serve you better.
Fend off Predators
This is where having a knife can be a real blessing. If you find yourself face-to-face with a mountain lion, bear, or a wolf, you might not always have much more than a knife on your side. Forget any idea of hacking or slashing, fur is much too thick for that. To have the most impact, stab and then lever the blade back and forth to hopefully make the predator think twice about whether you are an easy meal. No matter what kind of predator it is though, the nose, eyes, and neck are the points to aim for. If you’re lost and navigating dangerous territory, fastening your knife to the end of a longer stick will create a nice spear and allow you to keep some distance between you and your attacker.
Blaze a Trail
Don’t ruin any precious cloth by tearing it up to make trail markers, a knife can do the same with a little effort and know-how. When creating trail blazes, you want them to be noticeable, but you also don’t want them to completely hurt the tree. Essentially, your natural blaze needs to be more noticeable than a slit, but not overly large. It’s important to be swift while hacking the marks so you don’t spend too much energy on this task.
Create a Feather Stick
If you are having difficulty finding small stuff that is dry enough to start a fire, a knife can help. One of the best skills you can learn is to make a feather stick. This is a technique that allows you to create kindling even out of a moderately wet stick by shaving the wood very thin until it resembles curled ribbons. These ribboned shavings dry quickly and make for excellent kindling. The trick is to keep the small strands of wood attached to the stick itself, which can require a bit of finesse.
Strike a Fire
Assuming you have a fire starter on hand, you’ll need a piece of steel to strike it with. A steel knife works perfect to strike that piece of flint or magnesium with. Combo this with the feather stick and you’ll have fire in no time. Be sure you gather all sizes of kindling and wood before you strike it.
Here at Legendary, we’ve got some of the right tools to get you out of any sticky situation you might find yourself in as a hunter. Check out our knives and survival tools by clicking the image below.