A CUT ABOVE
It’s gift-giving season, so here’s the tale of one I’ll never forget
MY FAVORITE HUNTING knife was a gift. Some backstory: I had traveled to North Carolina to hunt whitetails with my friend and F&S colleague T. Edward Nickens. As we drove to camp, he asked, almost out of the blue, “Did you bring a knife?” As soon as the K-word left his mouth, I could feel myself groan. In my rush to pack and leave for the airport, I’d left my knife back home. I remember Eddie casually shrugging off my oversight. We’d figure something out.
He and I hunted together that first evening but never saw a deer. We split up the next morning; no luck then, either. Later on, we hunted a new spot, and this time, we both fired our rifles. Eddie killed a meat doe for his family; I shot my first whitetail buck. After a few photos in the dark, there was now knife work to be done—notching our tags, field dressing the deer—and that’s when Eddie reached into his pack and grabbed a small box that he then gave to me. Inside was a knife—a knife, I would learn, that he’d planned to give to me whether I’d remembered to bring my own or not. I don’t recall what I said to Eddie at that moment, but I’d like to hope I was as grateful, and speechless, as I am now, years later.
Now you can understand why that knife’s my favorite. Which is saying something, because I love knives. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have an obsession (a word you’re going to see a lot in this issue), but close. I’ve amassed a decent collection since that deer hunt—several of which are hunting knives—but before any hunt, that folder from Eddie is always the one I grab. It’s served me well, it’s brought me luck, and it brings me comfort.
In more ways than one, the knife is a gift.
Lasting Edge Here’s my knife from Nickens— moments after I used it to field dress a pronghorn.