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Knives of Alaska, anyone?
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Anyone have any thoughts on their offerings? I'm looking for a new hunting knife. I have a older Buck 4" fixed blade that I love to pieces, but it's loud as all hell in the sheath when moving around. I also have a fantastic, custom damascus hunter from Lewis Drake that I'm plain afraid to take out in the woods with me. I've been eyeballing KoA knives in the Cabela's catalogs for quite a number of years and have never actually handled nor bought one (oddly enough). I've a few I'm really drawn towards, I'm just not sure what suits my needs best or if they're even worth the money. I'm mulling over their Bear Cub caping knife and Bush Camp utility knife/Muscrat combo. I love the design of the Bush Camp, but it's HUGE for what I'd be using it for, which is mostly deer sized field dressing/skinning/etc. The caping knife looks to be more handy, yet I feel it might be a bit small should I get into something a bit larger than a deer or boar. Yet another debate in this is the 440c steel in the caping knife vs the D2 tool steel used in the Bush Camp and Muscrat knives. As usual, all guidance accepted graciously.
 
Posts: 1246 | Location: Shelton, CT | Registered: 22 February 2010Reply With Quote
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I have the little caping knife you mention and like it real well. It came from the factory sharp enough to cape about half a dozen small critters (deer and antelope). It's just about ready to be resharpened now. I'd recommend it. I have no experience with any other KOA knives.


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Posts: 3233 | Location: Southern NM USA | Registered: 01 October 2002Reply With Quote
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There's nothing wrong with KOA knives, although personally I think their lines are not very pleasing to my eye, but that's esthetics and someone else may think they're beautiful. D2 is a good steel which will handle any reasonable hunters needs. There are better steels around, but mostly it is knife nuts who pay any attention and mostly they are not necessary for real life non-professional uses.

Giving recs to others is always an activity for which there is little reward and often turns out poorly, but, all that said.......For the $150-200 bucks or so you're thinking of spending on KOA, I'd consider buying a custom knife in a size that suits you. For the same price range you can buy a Jason Winston knife or for about $20 more, one of his Dad's, David Winston's. Both make exceptional knives for the money.

Personally, believing in overkill, I used to carry 3 knives when I was hunting away from home, a fixed blade, such as one of the Winston's above, a "belt" folder, such as a buck 110, and a pocket folder such as a Spyderco Native in S30V. You can skip the belt folder if you think that is overkill, which it probably is, but I like to use it for ordinary cutting/camp tasks, keeping the Native sharp for use inside an animal.

I like fixed blade hunters NO LONGER than about a 4 1/2 inch blade, and I personally find 3 1/2 suits my needs better but I'm not skinning elephants or elk. If you're going to use it for a camp knife, then a bit longer may work better for all around chores. Again, for me, if I want a camp knife, and wasn't going to use one of my customs, I'd strongly consider the Fibrox Victorinox Forschners which can be had quite reasonably and are fine knives within their use parameters. 6 inch boning knives are about $20 or less, the last time I checked, for example.


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When considering US based operations of guides/outfitters, check and see if they are NRA members. If not, why support someone who doesn't support us? Consider spending your money elsewhere.

NEVER, EVER book a hunt with BLAIR WORLDWIDE HUNTING or JEFF BLAIR.

I have come to understand that in hunting, the goal is not the goal but the process.
 
Posts: 17099 | Location: Texas USA | Registered: 07 May 2001Reply With Quote
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BTW a David Winston model 41 just hit the AR classifieds for $140 in new condition. Helluva knife for the money. I doubt it will last long.


xxxxxxxxxx
When considering US based operations of guides/outfitters, check and see if they are NRA members. If not, why support someone who doesn't support us? Consider spending your money elsewhere.

NEVER, EVER book a hunt with BLAIR WORLDWIDE HUNTING or JEFF BLAIR.

I have come to understand that in hunting, the goal is not the goal but the process.
 
Posts: 17099 | Location: Texas USA | Registered: 07 May 2001Reply With Quote
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Thank you both for your thoughts. Both Winstons' knives are beautiful looking knives, however I'd be afraid to actually use such good looking knives! I'm generally the type that carries a few knives into the woods with me (typically on camping trips!). I generally carry a simple Swiss Army as well as a larger sheath knife for camp chores. I'm heading to Cabela's mid next week to get a hand on a few of KoA's designs. I'm leaning towards maybe the Bush Camp as a general belt knife as well as the Muskrat/Cub Bear combo for field dressing/skinning tasks.
As far as butchering goes, I have a full set of Russell kitchen knives. I used to work in a kitchen and did all of the butchering, so I'm well equipped in that arena. Once or twice a year I get together with my uncle and his friends (all avid hunters) to help everyone with the butchering of their year's harvests they store in a large walk in all together at one of the guy's houses. Quite envious of that man's garage of a man cave!
 
Posts: 1246 | Location: Shelton, CT | Registered: 22 February 2010Reply With Quote
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based on your parameters,i'd look at the becker bk-2 or the esee-3. both are made from high carbon 1095 steel the bk-2 goes for app $70 and the esee-3 for abt $105.go to knves ship free.com or the knife connection and they can fix you up. save yourself the trauma of losing an expensive custom that will not do an appreciably better job.
 
Posts: 43 | Registered: 22 April 2006Reply With Quote
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I don't really understand the logic of "it's ok to lose a production knife that is ugly, but not ok to lose a custom knife that costs basically the same money and is more pleasing in design." The old saying about women applies to knives as well. "Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes to the bone". To each his own, but better performance, pride of ownership, and generally owning a better and different knife than most other people is worth the small difference in costs to me. I'm not being critical, to each his own, but I'm simply stating my philosophy. If money was extremely tight, I might have a different view.

I also don't really understand the "lost the knife" crowd. I've hunted, camped, and roamed the woods for over 50 years with at least one and usually 2 or more knives on me all that time and have NEVER lost a knife in the wild. In my house, yes, but not in the outdoors. Wink A few people may be really prone to losing knives, but most are not.


xxxxxxxxxx
When considering US based operations of guides/outfitters, check and see if they are NRA members. If not, why support someone who doesn't support us? Consider spending your money elsewhere.

NEVER, EVER book a hunt with BLAIR WORLDWIDE HUNTING or JEFF BLAIR.

I have come to understand that in hunting, the goal is not the goal but the process.
 
Posts: 17099 | Location: Texas USA | Registered: 07 May 2001Reply With Quote
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Sir,

You mention that you will be using the knife you are planning to purchase for " mostly deer sized field dressing/skinning/etc."

A few thoughts.
I have several items of the KOA line. The Yukon belt knife, the Ulu and the wood/bone saw combo. I like D2 steel. Both the Yukon and Ulu are made of D2. Both of mine have the "sure grip" scales, which work well when your knife handle gets bloody. They take a good edge and hold it for a while. Full tang knives. I don't care for a big knife when skinning, and I like the angle/shape of the blade for skinning/caping. I skin hogs and deer, not elk or moose though.



Here is another knife that I used quite a bit last year.


Used it on at least three deer and 10 hogs during the season along with several others. It is a Cold Steel Pendleton “Lite Hunter”. IIRC, I paid around $18 for it. At that price you can own a couple. The steel is “416 Krupp”. It wears well and sharpens with a few liks on a steel or diamond hone.
Here is a link to a review.
http://www.coldsteel.com/pehu.html

The following may come under the heading “Too much Info: but what the heck.

I do quite a bit of skinning and I find it hard to find one knife to "do it all".
I typically hunt out of a camp, or take my gear with me in my truck. I don't do much backpacking so I don't have to go in light. The following pix shows some of the combo of gear I use when skinning deer and hogs. Where I hunt it is usually important to get animals skinned, cleaned quartered and on ice in relatively quick fashion. Many times this means within a couple hours of the time the animal is killed
I don't leave home without these Items in my skinnin' bag.
GWB



Loppers,cut proof glove, latex gloves,
bone saw, sawzall, knives for caping/skinnning, breakin' brisket etc. gallons storage bags, and a "butt out" tool. Makes for quick and efficient game care.

Best
GWB
 
Posts: 23547 | Location: Pearland, Tx,, USA | Registered: 10 September 2001Reply With Quote
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I have the Jaeger Boning knife in D2. It's basically a little bigger size caper (Cub). It's a near perfect tool for gutting and skinning deer. I usually wind up gutting and skinning 4-6 deer/year, and it handles it without resharpening.

The only complaint I have is that the sheath sucks, but that's easily fixed.
 
Posts: 872 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: 25 January 2008Reply With Quote
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After looking through quite a few of the recommendations on here, I started looking at smaller production shops and custom shops. I was pointed towards a company out of Michigan and fell in love with one of their blade designs. The company's called Bark River Knife and Tool. They use convex ground blades as well as provide an incredible warranty. I'm pretty close to biting the bullet and ordering this model as well as their stropping kit to maintain the convex hones. What's everyone think?

http://barkriverknifetool.com/C-CanadianSpecial.htm
 
Posts: 1246 | Location: Shelton, CT | Registered: 22 February 2010Reply With Quote
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Sorry it's not the greatest photo, but here is a Bark River light hunter.





When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro
 
Posts: 254 | Location: Kaliforina | Registered: 31 January 2003Reply With Quote
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Picture of DMCI*
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During my knife period I acquired several pieces made by a well known native American.

Shown here with my trusty 1911, the hunter is in the middle. Made of hardened tool steel it retains its edge through hard use.



Another choice is the top knife shown below. The blade is made of Auraloy, which is much more resistant to corrosion than martinsitic steels.



--------------------

EGO sum bastard ut does frendo

 
Posts: 2821 | Location: Left Coast | Registered: 23 September 2001Reply With Quote
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As a Commercial knife user I appreciate good design , good steel, and practicality in function

Name means nothing to me
Sometimes the desirable attributes for function mean name is inevitable .
My hunting knife is a $20 chinese production that has a nice piece of steel in it that does everything I need it to do well .

He He..........in a different field of sport people collect my creations.........I don't collect others creations just for the sake of possession.

To each his own, if collecting & possession of named knives is your bag...........go for it.

In all practical respects function rules. neither the animal nor the user give a hoot about the name on the knife mid job, merely that it does its job well.
But you sure remember the name of those knives that functionally are a POS.
Yep, I've had my share of visually pleasing knives that functionally were worth less than 10 cents in the dollar when put to the task they were supposedly designed for.
 
Posts: 493 | Registered: 01 September 2010Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by DenisB:
As a Commercial knife user I appreciate good design , good steel, and practicality in function

Name means nothing to me
Sometimes the desirable attributes for function mean name is inevitable .
My hunting knife is a $20 chinese production that has a nice piece of steel in it that does everything I need it to do well .

He He..........in a different field of sport people collect my creations.........I don't collect others creations just for the sake of possession.

To each his own, if collecting & possession of named knives is your bag...........go for it.

In all practical respects function rules. neither the animal nor the user give a hoot about the name on the knife mid job, merely that it does its job well.
But you sure remember the name of those knives that functionally are a POS.
Yep, I've had my share of visually pleasing knives that functionally were worth less than 10 cents in the dollar when put to the task they were supposedly designed for.


+1 tu2

I wouldn't consider myself a commercial knife user, but in a good year I may skin upwards of 50 animals, most being feral hogs. Some years my son and take 10 deer. I have two freezers for the meat, which we feast on year round. For the most part I process the meat myself. On a day to day basis, I probably use the Forschner/Victoronix knives more than anything else. I also like trying out new knives each year to see how they work.

GWB
 
Posts: 23547 | Location: Pearland, Tx,, USA | Registered: 10 September 2001Reply With Quote
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KOA's are pretty rough as far as finish goes, but OK. They have a few decent models, I had a Cub that looked like Ray Charles ground it. POS.

Just got this new one from David Winston.


Asked him to take the blade profile of a 26 and combine it with the handle on a 43. Did it in S30V. Turned out pretty well. If'n I were to do it again, I knock about .200 off the belly, and remove the liners to thin up the grip a tad. Guy does great work and a pleasure to deal with.
 
Posts: 1168 | Registered: 08 February 2010Reply With Quote
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Picture of McKenzie Outfitters
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After reading your requirements I would suggest the "outdoor edge" 2 knife combo pack called the kodi-pack
they reasonable priced & are tough , lighter & hold a great edge.
that combo comes with the skinner & caper.
I have skinned allot of critters from beaver to bear with there Kodi-Skinner


Monty McKenzie
McKenzie Outfitters
204-824-2440
info@mckenzieoutfitters.ca
www.mckenzieoutfitters.ca
 
Posts: 66 | Location: Manitoba Canada | Registered: 11 February 2006Reply With Quote
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