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  • April 14, 2014

    I Have Pressing Business Elsewhere

    By David E. Petzal

    This was prompted by the convergence of two forces. First, I’m engaged in compiling a list of the people I’d least like to hunt with, and first on it is Old Five Deferrals himself, Dick Cheney, game hog and general menace. The second was the announcement that a member of a club I belong to had acted unsafely on the pistol range and had his shooting privileges suspended until he could be re-educated.

    Poor behavior with a gun can lead, in an instant, to a tragedy. The military, when I was in it, dealt decisively with unsafe gun handling on the range. You would be spoken to immediately and forcefully, and might find yourself scrubbing pots in the messhall overnight to remind you to keep the muzzle pointed downrange.

  • February 21, 2014

    Knife Review: The Spartan Harsey Difensa

    By David E. Petzal

    Spartan Blades, of whom I have written before, is a maker of very high quality tactical and survival knives. It was founded, and is run, by a pair of career Special Forces NCOs. Spartan had a booth at the SHOT Show, but it was so crowded with throat slitters and kidney stabbers who were admiring the goods that I didn’t have much of a chance at conversation and so I’m reviewing Spartan’s new knife a bit after the fact.

    It’s called the “Spartan,” because that’s who makes it, “Harsey,” because it’s designed by Bill Harsey, whose knives have won several Best of the Best awards, “Difensa,” which takes some explaining. The Difensa was designed for a Canadian special ops group which does fun things in the forests, and since they are Canadian, the knife takes its name from the First Special Service Force, which was a joint Canadian/US Army unit that served in World War II, and was comprised of some of the finest throat slitters and kidney stabbers to ever pull knives from sheaths.

  • January 27, 2014

    Buck Marksman: New Tactical Folding Knife

    By The Editors

    This new knife from Buck is being marketed as 'tactical' but it could just as easily find its home in a hunter's pack. It has an aluminum handle and a blade of 154CM steel. The most interesting feature on this new knife is the locking system. This system makes the knife very strong and allows it open quickly. It will retail for about $125.

  • January 24, 2014

    New Hunting Knife: SOG BladeLight Hunt

    By The Editors

    This 4-inch drop-point knife from SOG was one of the most innovative products of SHOT Show. It has a stainless steel blade and an injection-molded handle. The most intriguing feature is the six LED lights that give you 90 minutes of burn time. If you've ever found your deer after dark just as your headlamp batteries were dying, you'll fully appreciate the intelligent design of the SOG Bladelight Hunt. 

  • January 24, 2014

    SOG Zoom: New Assisted-Opening Knife

    By The Editors

    It's not a switch blade, but you can definitely open the new SOG Zoom with one hand. The 4-inch, drop-point blade is made of AUS steel and the handle is made of aluminum. The safety is designed to keep the knife from opening in your pocket. It will retail for about $100.

  • January 15, 2014

    An Ultimate Survival Knife by Morakniv

    By David E. Petzal

    The Swedish Morakniv is as sharp as a razor. The clip-point blade is anodized to prevent rusting and the handle is made of injection-molded polypropylene and provides a positive grip. It comes with a sturdy sheath and an incredible price of only $80. We dare you to find a better all-around knife for the money.

  • January 2, 2014

    Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad What?

    By David E. Petzal

    One of the more curious things I’ve seen in the movies of late is the villainizing of our friend Canis lupus, the gray wolf. In a film titled “The Gray,” Liam Neeson plays a hunter who is hired by an oil company to shoot wolves so that they don’t eat the workers, which apparently is a problem. Neeson takes a plane out of the camp, the plane crashes, and he and his fellow survivors are tracked down and et over a period of days by a pack that has nothing better to do.

    The second movie is “The Bourne Legacy,” in which Jeremy Renner  traps the leader of a pack that has been stalking him for days in a snare, wrestles the wolf to the ground, shoves a stick in his mouth and follows it with a tracking device that causes a missile to blow up the wolf instead of Renner.

  • November 4, 2013

    Camp Knives: Big Blades For Heavy-Duty Cutting

    By David E. Petzal

    “’At’s not a knoife…’at’s a knoife.” —Mick “Crocodile” Dundee, brandishing a camp knife at a terrified and out-cutlered mugger.

    The definition of a camp knife is a big, heavy knife that can do most of what a hatchet can do and much of what a knife can do. The concept is not new. Mountain men carried heavy butcher knives (and skinners, and patch knives), which would qualify nicely as camp knives. In 1849, the Ames Manufacturing Company in Massachusetts manufactured a Rifleman’s Knife for American soldiers, and today we’d call it a camp knife. In World War II, the Marine Corps issued a Hospital Corpman’s Knife to medical personnel, and a Bowie knife made by Western Cutlery, the W49, to some of its Raider units. (This is the knife that Robert Redford carries in Jeremiah Johnson.) Both would qualify as camp knives, and both are very useful.

  • September 30, 2013

    Naked, But Not Afraid Enough

    By David E. Petzal

    "Naked and Afraid," which ran on the Discovery Channel this summer, was a major ratings success. If you're one of the 8 adult men in the U.S. who didn't watch at least one episode, the format was this: The show stranded a naked man and a naked woman in a remote s**thole for 21 days to see if they could tough it out with only one tool apiece (tool as in knife, or machete). Both people were previously screened for survival skills and given a rating on a scale of 1 to 10.

    The real attraction of the show was, of course, not to see whether somebody could light a fire in a rainstorm in the jungle with a bow drill, but whether you could see nasty bits. The answer was no. Discovery Channel pixeled out the nasty bits. You didn't see much more than you would on any public beach.

  • August 19, 2013

    Sometimes People Vanish

    By David E. Petzal

    On July 23, a 66-year-old woman from Tennessee, Geraldine Largay, was supposed to meet her husband at a point on the Appalachian Trail in Maine, and when she failed to make the rendezvous, he declared her missing. Largay was an experienced hiker and in good health, but she simply vanished. Despite an intensive search, which has just been scaled back, there is not a trace of her. Heart attack? Bear? Human monster? We don’t know and we may never know.

    The most notable wilderness disappearance was that of Congressman Hale Boggs, whose plane vanished in a remote part of Alaska in 1972, resulting in the most sustained and intensive rescue search in U.S. history. Not a trace was found. The plane, Hale Boggs, and his fellow passengers simply ceased to exist.

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