Ever since I nearly cut my index finger off with my grandfather's hatchet I have loves knives, axes, hatchets, etc. My early knives were made up of inexpensive military surplus and inexpensive pocket knives, in part because I didn't yet understand the qualities of a fine hunting knife nor could afford one.
Fast forward a couple decades and I was in the position to purchase a good quality hunting knife that would take care of most camp chores and perform well skinning deer and hogs. What I chose was the K-2 model, a knife made by Bob Dozier. I have carried, camped with and skinned with this knife for between 10 and 15 years and appreciate it as much as I do the first time I held it.
The steel Bob uses is D2 tool steel. It is a high carbon, high chrome tool steel which is often used for the steel cutting dies in tool and die shops. With 1.5% Carbon, 1% Molybdenum, 12% Chrome, and 1% Vanadium, this air hardening steel (at 60-61Rc.) takes a razor edge, and in my experience, holds it long after many other knives need sharpened.
The K-2 specs:
Overall Length: 7 -7/8"
Blade Length: 3 -1/2" at 60-61 Rc.
Blade Thickness: .135
Blade Specs: Full tang construction
Handle: Black Micarta® handle
Sheath: Dozier Kydex® horizontal sheath
Here is Bob Dozier describing how he made his start in the industry and his knife making values (from his website at dozierknives.com):
I began making knives when I was a boy, learning from my grandfather how to forge files and springs into useable knives. In the early 1960's I was making and selling roughly made knives that local hunters in central Louisiana liked. They like them because I made the steel harder so it would hold an edge even with rough use. In 1965 I began reading the articles in the gun magazines and Gun Digest by A.G. Russell and by Ken Warner, and realized that there were other people out there making knives. Seeing knives made by other people, led me to reach for new levels of fit and finish in all of my knife work. This was during a time when knifemaking was beginning to change; Al Buck had turned from being a knife maker to owning a factory; W.D. Randall had 15 to 20 men making his knives; Bill Moran, Harry Morseth, and a few others made up the entire world of handmade knives. By 1971, I was made to feel that I fit into the top levels of current knifemaking. Bob Loveless had come from nowhere to become the most respected name in knifemaking. Articles on knives were appearing everywhere, and I was mentioned in most of them.In late 1971, A.G. Russell, the leading figure in knife sales, asked me if I would be willing to come work for him and to help in saving the Morseth knife company from extinction. I saw this as an opportunity to learn more about my craft, and indeed, in the next three years I made as many knives as one man could be expected to make. I finally experienced what is now called "burnout", left knifemaking and went back to my work as an ironworker. As I traveled the eastern half of the United States doing ironwork, I carried my knifemaking equipment and managed to make a few dozen knives a year. Just a few years ago, I returned to make the Morseth knives for A.G. Russell, and now have my own knife making business. I find that I would much rather make basic hunting knives from the highest quality tool steels at very reasonable prices, for people who will use them, than spend expensive time hand rubbing a finish for collectors. I will probably make a few fancy knives each year, but my heart is with the knives you see online.
I hope that you will find a knife here that will help make you just a little better woodsman and hunter. I want you to have a knife that will hold an edge better than the most expensive knife in your deer camp.
Kryptek has designed and built a fantastic early season, warm weather lightweight hunting pant called the Valhalla. I tested the Valhalla in the heat of the North Florida archery and muzzleloader seasons.
Without a doubt they were the most comfortable warm weather hunting pants that I have ever worn.
Kryptek describes them as follows:
Simple, functional and perfect for the minimalist outdoors man. Kryptek's Valhalla pant is lightweight and breathable giving you the flexibility you need to conquer most Spring, Summer and early Fall conditions. Designed for high exertion to mild-to-hot conditions.
After a difficult and unseasonably warm archery season we pulled the .50 cal muzzleloaders out and planned our strategy.
First we decided that we would hunt public land areas were we had captured photos of bucks and or found fresh buck sign and where we might also come across hogs.
The first couple hunts did not produce bucks or hogs so Paul and I decided to review some google earth images and topo maps for hammock areas that were well off any marked trails, had food sources (primarily live oak trees) and difficult enough to get to that they might be sanctuary areas for bucks and likely areas for hogs.
We settled on one such area for an afternoon hunt and began the hike in, starting in a longleaf pine flat woods transiting to scrub oak hammock, then swamp, creek crossing , river flood plain and then the edge of deeper hammocks that few hunters have likely seen.
Carrying our climbing tree stands, muzzleloaders, and all the other gear that we feel necessary we made our way in. When we made it across the creek we chose a meet up location and headed off and opposite directions with our GPS units recording our tracks and intending to meet back up after dark. Since we were both heading into areas where we had never been and because we did not have cell phone I also took a couple compass bearings. I took an approximate bearing of the truck and the direction I expected to travel and headed off. I came to the narrow end of the hammock and decided to push around into the western edge a bit and there I found a palm to climb that that I expected I could see across a slough that separated two hammocks. When I climbed up 30 or so feet I was rewarded with a decent number of view corridors between 100-200 yards long in most directions. When I reached the height I wanted to set up at I decided to face Easterly to keep the setting sun behind me and because it was the direction with the most visibility through the slough, swamp and hammock.
When I was settled in my palm tree, I began scanning. During archery season I try and keep standing as much as possible with my bow ready but gun season allows me to comfortably relax in my Summit brand climber...so much so that it becomes difficult to keep my eyes open at times.
I think it had ben about an hour in to the evening when I heard a rustling and the sound of something walking though water off to the NW at about 80 yards or so. I turned in time to see a nice 80 to 100 pound hog come into view at the edge of the swamp and watched him wallow in the mud for a short time then when he stood up and was broad side put my 1 to 3 power scope crosshairs on him and squeezed the trigger.
When that .50 cal black powder rifle fired I couldn't see a thing at first through the smoke but the squeal of the hog and his 50 yard run into the palmettos where I heard him crash was a good sign. Because I didn't know if I would need a second shot to finish him off, I stood up and started the reloading process. As I was reloading a second, much larger boar came into view and dropped into the wallow. I fished the reloading as fast as I could and sat back down. When the boar climbed up out go the wallow and stood still for a moment I placed the cross hairs on his broad shoulder and fired. He took off in a different direction than the first hog I shot and I lost sight of him after about 50 yards and didn't hear him crash. Concerned that he may be wounded and given his size (well over 200 pounds) I started reloading and decided I would try and recover him first before the sun that was already low on the horizon set.
I was reloading when to my disbelief, a third and very large hog came into view at the wallow. I rushed the reload dropping a cap or two in the process and trying not to make much noise as I rammed the 250 grain bullet down over the 150 grain powder charge. As soon as I was loaded I immediately sat down and acquired the target. I fired at it appears that the hog was hit hard but he also ran in yet a different direction. Now it started to sink in what had happened, I had three hogs down, two of them very large, in different locations, I didn't know if they were alive or not and it was going to be dark very soon.
I reloaded, climbed down, took some compass bearings in the approx. direction that I thought the hogs were, turned on my GPS unit and decided to first look for the large #2 hog because I thought I had a feel for where he was and if he was alive but wounded, I didn't want to run into him in the dark.
I found him laying in an upright position, not over on his side, with no visible wound. I could clearly see how large he was and the very long tusks he had and worse, I was sure he was just resting and would get up and charge me as soon as he knew I drew close. I approached him very slowly from the rear with my finger on the trigger, knowing I would only have one shot to finish him off if he charged. But when I was right behind him he hadn't moved and when I pushed the gun barrel against him and realized he was dead, I pushed him over and saw that the bullet had entered his shoulder likely devastating his vitals but had not exited the other side. I would find out later just how think the shoulder plate was and how incredibly tough these invasive and adaptive animals are.
...........to be continued.