As one who enjoys the pursuit of hoofed, horned and antlered game, I am always in search of perfection in my choice of hunting knives. Paramount among all of the various desirable features in what can be termed “the perfect knife” is functional design, structural integrity and superior hand-to-knife fit. In the most recent edition of the Cabela’s catalog, I discovered a knife that appears to meet all of my demands. Its creation was the result of a collaborative effort between Cabela’s staff, renowned knife maker Bob Dozier and the famed German cutlery manufacturer Boker Knives.
Aptly named “Boker Plus Dozier Skinner,” this new knife features a 3-inch-long AUS-6 stainless steel, full-tang, drop-point pattern blade. The blade is fully hollow-ground and features a length of file work on the back that serves as added purchase for either the thumb or forefinger when the need arises. The Japanese AUS-6 blade steel bears close similarity to our domestic 425 Modified stainless steel. The carbon and chromium content are nearly identical. While the Molybdenum component is absent in AUS-6, the presence of nickel adds similar strength and toughness to the steel. All of the other alloying elements, like Phosphorus, Silicon, Sulfur and Vanadium make the steel a near mirror twin of 425 Modified stainless. In my experience, both steels provide solid field performance, with a serviceable combination of edge retention and sharpening ease.
One of the problems I’ve encountered with many hunting knife designs is too much blade length. During field dressing, when attempting to cut through an animal’s windpipe, your knife hand is completely out of sight. Should the blade be too long, there is always the risk of accidentally cutting your opposing hand. The abbreviated length of the “Boker Plus Dozier” blade allows you to lay your forefinger along the entire length of blade back, providing continuous knowledge of the position of the edge when working blind. If you know where the edge is in relation to your opposite hand, there’s less likelihood of injury.
The knife purchaser of a “Boker Plus Dozier Skinner” has a choice of either walnut or olive wood handle scales. Both of these woods are highly figured and add ascetic beauty and functional warmth to the knife. Moreover, the handle scales are slightly tapered front-to-back and top-to-bottom to ensure proper hand-to-knife contact. A series of six pins are used as primary handle attachments to the full-length tang. The butt of the handle has a slight bird’s head appearance and incorporates a hole for lanyard attachment.
For safe carrying convenience, a pouch-type belt sheath, crafted from top-grade leather, is provided. The sheath features some attractive tooling along part of its length and the belt loop is positioned high enough for comfortable hip carry. While I’ve always been somewhat suspicious of pouch-type sheaths, this design clearly provides both outstanding containment and access. Once the knife is in the sheath, no amount of shaking or bouncing can dislodge it.
Wild Field Testing
No knife evaluation is complete without actual field-testing. To accomplish this goal, the “Boker Plus Dozer Skinner” rode on my belt during a recent wild pig hunt. When hunting effort collided with opportunity, an old boar was found in my sights. Wild pigs have extremely tough hide that is impregnated with every imaginable kind of grit, making them the ultimate knife-test medium. Suffice it to say, the knife accomplished the field-dressing and skinning assignments without hesitation or need for edge maintenance. Best of all, the overall size and shape of the knife made the work a simple chore.
While the knife is touted as a “skinner,” don’t let that label mislead you. As evidenced by my own use, the drop-point blade pattern provides a much wider range of service. Even though the blade definitely has what it takes to be an outstanding skinning knife, it is also equally serviceable in primary field care and trophy work.
The “Boker Plus Dozier Skinner” has all the fit and feel of a custom knife. However, the purchase price is far less than you would expect for this level of craftsmanship. Available only through Cabela’s, the knife is priced at $79.99.
For more info, visit www.cabelas.com.