I am fortunate enough to live not far away from a knife maker. Ed’s not just a knife maker, but a world-class one whose work has been featured in glitzy high-end knife magazines. He also has a waiting list of at least a year. I like to visit with him and hear about some of the amazing things he’s done and animals he’s pursued. I once asked Ed, as an expert on hunting knives, to weigh in on what HE used when he went bowhunting (traditional, of course). The answer surprised me but made perfect sense.

“I don’t take A knife – I take several” he answered. “At a minimum, two – usually three.”

“One is for the course work” he continued, “especially when you have a big animal down like an elk that’s been wallowing in a mud hole or picking up dirt from lying on its bed. Just opening him up can take the edge off a blade in a hurry – especially if you’re going to quarter it after that. In the case of deer there is probably the rib cage to cut through, too. I like a good-sized knife with a strong blade for the rough work.

“The second knife is for the more precision stuff and where you really want a good edge. I use a smaller one for things like cutting through viscera and removing the bladder. If you’re going to cape the animal, you’ll want something that you can control easily. A 2 ½ to 3 ½” blade knife is ideal.”

“And the third knife?” I asked.

Ed laughed.

“Well, if you want to count it, I always carry my pocketknife, too. I don’t usually need it for field dressing an animal, but it’s always there in case I do.”

It’s easy to compare two knife system to the double bit axe the lumberjacks used when they cleared out the vast stands of White Pine. One side of it was for the course work and the other was kept sharp for when more exact cutting was needed.

I guess until they come up with a double-sided blade, multiple knives are a pretty good idea.