For decades I didn't understand why anyone would pay more than $50 for a deer hunting knife. They are simple tools, and ones that I tend to mistakenly leave in gut piles, anyway. But then I was given a Benchmade Saddle Mountain Hunter—and suddenly understood the whole perfect-marriage-of-form-and-function thing. Since then, I've gotten my hands on the new Pardue Hunter, a collaboration between Benchmade and Alabama custom knifemaker Mel Pardue, and I like it even better. It's a full-tang drop-point made of CPM-S30V powdered stainless steel, which takes a scary edge and holds it well. The handle is Micarta with the look of wood grain. The lines are classic and graceful. Just shy of 8 inches long, with a 3.5-inch blade, the Pardue Hunter is not too big for deer hunting and big enough for larger game should the need arise. All told, it's simple, gorgeous, and made for serious work.