By Zach Bowhay
To help welcome Zach to the Elk Hunter and Western Hunter blogs, Lone Wolf Knives is giving away their Hard Way Skinner! Scroll down to learn more. Thank you Lone Wolf for your support!
Zach Bowhay is an Idaho Native who was raised chasing the elk, deer, antelope and bears that call his state home. He was born into an archery hunting family and bowhunting has been his main interest since a very young age. Because of this, most of his hunts involve roaming the mountains of the west with bow in hand. He is an equipment operator in his “real job” and has to plan his hunts with a very modest budget. That means that all of his hunts are self- guided and mostly always on public land. His hunts have taken him as far south as Southern Utah and New Mexico and as far north as Prudhoe Bay Alaska and many places in between. To make this happen he is always planning 2 to 3 years in advance. He spends as many days as possible each year in the woods, not only bowhunting, but also rifle and muzzleloader hunting, as well as trapping and fishing. Zach feels he is very lucky to have the support of his wife and three young children throughout the year as he is out hunting. His wife and kids are all very interested in the outdoor lifestyle as well and they all spend countless weekends throughout the year scouting, hunting and fishing. Zach’s writing has been published in numerous hunting publications for the last several years and he looks forward to bringing not only his hunting stories, but also gear reviews and informative how–to articles to the Western Hunter Blog on a regular basis.
Lone Wolf Knives Review
In a recent conversation with my wife I told her, “It’s kind of silly, but I am really enjoying my new knives.” I guess I think it’s silly because to me knives have never been as exciting to me as the hot new bows or what’s new in optics for the year. After this season though, I have a whole new outlook and I am forever changed on how I think about knives. Now I realize what a vital tool they are and how much easier good knives can make breaking an animal down on the mountain.
The reason for this revelation- The good people at Lone Wolf Knives sent me several of their knives to try on my hunts this year. So on all of my hunts this year I used the Landslide, the Mountainside skinner and the Gutting tool. I was fortunate to be in on several kills this fall including 3 nice bull elk and 3 big buck deer, some of them my own and others with friends, but on all of them I was allowed the opportunity to put these knives to the test. And I have to tell you we ran them through the ringer.
Each of these knives serve a different purpose and are very effective for their intended use. The Landslide is my all around knife and I have to admit it’s my favorite knife ever. I carry it in my pocket everyday hunting, and whenever I need a knife throughout the day it’s the one I reach for. As far as breaking an animal down it’s the knife I use to start all of my cuts. It has a nice point that is sharp and good for starting the cuts around the legs and gets me under the hide where I can put my other knives to work without dulling them trying to break the hide. The landslide has a bright orange handle which I really like for my go-to knife since I am using it all the time and it can be easily misplaced. It also just feels great in your hand and holds a great edge.
After I have used my landslide to get started I put “The Gutting Tool” to use. This is a very simple yet amazingly useful tool. It is only sharp on the upper side, the bottom is not sharpened and the tip is a rounded and unsharpened. This allows you to quickly make all your cuts up the legs, up the belly and along the back and up the neck if you are caping your animal. It allows you to do all of this without the worry of puncturing the stomach and tainting your precious meat. This is very useful if you use “the gutless method” of breaking down your animals like I do. This is the only way I break down my animals anymore and this makes this job much, much easier. (If anyone has questions about “the gutless method” I will be explaining this in a later blog post.)
Once I use my gutting tool to make my cuts down the legs and along the belly or along the back if caping, that’s when I put the skinner to work. This knife has a relatively short blade and a more rounded point. This combination makes it easier to make long skinning strokes and the rounded point helps you to not puncture the stomach as well. This knife holds an edge better than any knife I have ever used. Taking care of a whole bull elk is a ton of skinning and I used mine on several this fall with only a couple minor touch ups.
Although these knives are a little more expensive than buying a department store knife, they are still very reasonably priced at $75 for the Skinner, $30 for the Gutting Tool, and $80 for the Landslide. It’s a little more of an investment, but these knives should last you a long time. Especially if you look at it this way, as hardcore Western Hunters we are always investing in the best gear we can to make our hunts a success. Good knives are crucial to taking care of the animals and getting our prize off the mountain quickly and efficiently. You can definitely get it done with lesser knives, but with the right “Tools of the Trade” it is just that it makes the work much more enjoyable. Check these knives out at www.lonewolfknives.com