11 Essential Survival Knife Skills

This blade will help you thrive as a hunter and angler—and even save the day

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The ESEE-6.Jim Golden

The ESEE-6 (eseeknives.com) tapes in at nearly 12 inches long, with a full-tang 1095 tool-steel blade and Micarta handles that could pound railroad spikes. Here are some uses for this badass blade.

1. Baton Firewood
Batoning is the act of using a short, heavy piece of wood to drive a knife blade by pounding on the spine. Center a small log with the middle of the knife blade, and baton down sharply.

2. Blaze a Trail
A big knife is a small ax: Mark your route Daniel Boone–​style with easy-to-spot tree blazes.

3. Split a Pelvis
Expose the centerline of a deer's pelvis, and pound the knife through the bone.

4. Flesh a Hide
A large knife can easily flesh a small hide. Just remember that you push the fat and flesh off the hide, so go easy on the pressure.

5. Mince Meat
Use the knife as a makeshift meat cleaver to "grind" meat in the field.

6. Cut Saplings
Surprisingly large saplings can be cut with a big knife. Bend the saplings over before cutting into the outside of the bend. Use multiple shallow cuts.

7. Break a Car Window
The exposed tang in the butt can serve as a glass break. Side windows shatter more easily than windshields, which are made of a glass laminate that is difficult to break.

8. Carve Tinder
A sharpened top spine makes it easy to use the knife as a spokeshave for producing very fine tinder from a dry branch.

9. Plane a Bow and Arrow
Use the back of the knife blade as a field plane to shape bow limbs and arrows.

10. Fell a Tree
Using a baton, girdle the tree with wedge-shaped cuts.

11. Fend Off a Bear Attack
If it comes down to this, make the most of the blade. Forget hacking and stabbing. Maximize the trauma by sticking the knife in, and lever it back and forth.