TRIPLE SET, TRIPLE THREAT

THE CRKT BLACK FORK HUNT­ING KNIFE SET PUTS YOUR FIELD DRESS­ING SO­LU­TION IN YOUR POCKET

Knives Illustrated - - News - STORY BY EJ SNY­DER | PHO­TOS BY EJ SNY­DER & COUR­TESY OF CRKT

If you want some­thing done right, use the right tool. The new Black Fork Hunt­ing Knife Set from CRKT puts those tools in your pocket. BY EJ SNY­DER

Knives play an im­por­tant role when hunt­ing sea­son rolls around. Once your game hits the ground, the clock is al­ready tick­ing against you as you race against time try­ing to beat the af­ter­noon sun— even in the cold of win­ter it can be detri­men­tal to your meat. The ease and speed with which you can dress down your game is su­per im­por­tant, so when Tom Krein saw this need, he de­cided to de­sign this triple-threat set, with CRKT, to tackle the prob­lem and get you back to camp for some well-de­served rest.

“I AM A FIRM BELIEVER THAT EV­ERY TASK HAS JUST THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB, AND THE BLACK FORK HUNT­ING KNIFE SET BACKS UP THAT IDEA.” – EJ SNY­DER

With their Black Fork Hunt­ing Knife Set, CRKT is mak­ing sure that you get your game dressed and to the freezer in no time this sea­son. When you are up early in the morn­ing and pa­tiently wait­ing for that prize game to en­ter your kill zone, you may spend many hours qui­etly bid­ing your time in the brisk weather. The last thing you want is to spend un­nec­es­sary time shiver­ing away, us­ing shaky hands with a bulky knife to dress down your game.

First Im­pres­sions

Once I pulled this knife set out, I al­most felt like a sur­geon get­ting ready to en­ter the op­er­at­ing room. The set comes in a won­der­ful black, com­pact rollup, wo­ven polyester sheath, and once you roll it out and open it up, it re­veals three knives, each in its own pocket. Krein was an ER Nurse and I’m sure that had some in­flu­ence on this set up. The knives are made of a strong stain­less steel, which also gave it that sur­gi­cal feel. When it comes to dress­ing down game, a sur­geon’s touch might not be a bad thing—es­pe­cially when speed and ef­fi­ciency are what you are af­ter. The set rolls up to fit nicely into your pack or slip eas­ily into your pocket. Ev­ery knife in the set ful­fills a spe­cific need when pro­cess­ing your game, each ded­i­cated to its func­tion with fo­cused at­ten­tion. With the Euro­pean-style gut hook, cap­ing knife and skin­ning knife, this set is ready to de­con­struct any size game.

“Mak­ing the Cut” Test

When I first pulled each knife out, I im­me­di­ately no­ticed its size. I found them a bit small, but in fair­ness I have ex­tremely large hands, so I was def­i­nitely anx­ious to see how they op­er­ated within my grip.

They come with nice thumb jimp­ing in two sec­tions on the spine of each

blade for var­i­ous grip con­trol. They ac­tu­ally feel great on the thumbs and pro­vide grip, even if the knife gets cov­ered in the slick­ness that re­sults from skin­ning game. I re­ally liked their light weight pro­vided by the skele­ton han­dle de­sign, as it was clear that this will aid in pre­vent­ing hand fa­tigue—as well as how nicely they felt in terms of con­trol. My first im­pres­sions were cor­rect, you truly do feel al­most like a sur­geon hold­ing a scalpel.

When it comes to dress­ing out game, sharp­ness, edge dura­bil­ity, and hand fa­tigue are some of the key fac­tors that I like to ob­serve. I de­cided to put this knife set through some unique and ex­treme cut­ting chal­lenges first, as I of­ten do.

I al­ways say card­board is the en­emy to a knife’s edge, be­ing made of pressed and var­i­ous ma­te­ri­als, it’s known for quickly dulling knives. Af­ter a good half-hour of cut­ting, I did not no­tice any change in the edge or sharp­ness of the knives at all. I then moved to leather straps to see how they would per­form, and each cut through the straps as if through but­ter. I found the same re­sults in cut­ting through a thick piece of hard rub­ber tire. At this point, I was re­ally im­pressed with how these knives were de­signed and how well they cut. I liked how sharp they were and the grinds on these blades seemed per­fect for each of their as­signed uses, but I wouldn’t know for sure un­til I got them into the field for test­ing.

When I tested the Black Fork Hunt­ing Knife Set, it was not hunt­ing sea­son in NC, so I de­cided to con­duct field tests on a va­ri­ety of an­i­mals. I wanted to get a broad per­spec­tive on the set’s in­tended uses, but also ex­pand it in some ways so that it could be viewed as a multi-use item. I used it on sev­eral dif­fer­ent fish, birds and mam­mals. Each knife worked very well for its in­tended pur­pose. I re­ally liked how easy it was to han­dle the knives and use them for an ex­tended pe­riod of time— as sus­pected the lighter weight helped al­le­vi­ate my con­cern. The knives could eas­ily be tran­si­tioned to a re­verse grip for added torque, if needed. I did try them with the lan­yard, at­tach­ing all three to­gether, and was sur­prised that while us­ing one of the knives, the other two stayed out of the way fairly eas­ily.

I could see where a lit­tle more weight could aid in butcher­ing tasks, but the sur­gi­cal move­ment and sim­i­lar ef­fect in cut­ting made up for it. The cap­ing knife did re­move the head from the torso with­out too much trou­ble. It sep­a­rated the skin, ten­dons, and mus­cles with no ma­jor is­sues. Pry­ing the skull from the neck bone took some work, aided by some good old el­bow grease and a twist.

The rounded tip on the Euro­pean-style

gut hook re­ally helped pre­vent spilling the guts into the game and ru­in­ing your meat. I found this to be a very nice, help­ful fea­ture for some­one like me, who can be a bit of a brute, lack­ing some co­or­di­na­tion and grace.

The skin­ning knife made fast work of sep­a­rat­ing the hide from the car­cass, with the ad­van­tage of its light weight and fi­nesse, aid­ing the task. The sharp­ness and sur­gi­cal pre­ci­sion sep­a­rated the mem­brane very eas­ily, leav­ing less of a mess to clean off the hide—which is great if you in­tend to keep it for other uses.

The butcher­ing task went well, eas­ily cut­ting fil­lets and strip meat, or cub­ing your game. On smaller to medium-size

an­i­mals, I did not find it dif­fi­cult to get through bones and/or sep­a­rate them, but it was def­i­nitely a lit­tle more work with the larger an­i­mals, due to the ba­sic size of the blades. I was not a big fan of the over­all length of all three knives—i would have pre­ferred at least an­other inch to inch-and-a-half on the blade length and the same on the han­dle lengths, but again, that’s mainly be­cause I have larger hands.

The knives are all made from a high-qual­ity, stain­less-steel ma­te­rial, which made clean­ing them a cinch. By the end of the field tests, I was good and hun­gry, which was great, be­cause I had quite a lunch in front of me and was glad my cam­era­man was there to feast along­side me.

“THE EASE AND SPEED WITH WHICH YOU CAN DRESS DOWN YOUR GAME IS SU­PER IM­POR­TANT.” – EJ SNY­DER

Above: From top to bot­tom, the Euro­pean-style gut hook, skin­ning knife and ca­per make a great team for all of your field dress­ing chores.

01. The com­pact rollup sheath will slip right into your pocket so it is avail­able any time you need it. 01

03 03. The knives are a bit small in my hands, but the small size and skele­tonized han­dles make them light and easy to use for long pe­ri­ods.

02. The edge showed no se­ri­ous wear af­ter cut­ting up a lot of card­board. 02

Left: The gut hook was per­fect for open­ing a fish to be cleaned.

Above: Front and back view of the CRKT case.

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