A CUT ABOVE

It’s gift-giv­ing sea­son, so here’s the tale of one I’ll never for­get

Field and Stream - - EDITOR’S PAGE - Colin Kearns, Ed­i­tor-in-Chief

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.

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