Hunting and camping knives, and any other type of knife in general, are not toys. They are weapons and tools that can turn deadly in the wrong hands. Cases of people sustaining bad injuries in the course of using their knives are very common, and no matter how experienced you may be at handling knives, accidents can happen.
Knife safety is important since there are too many rules that regulate their ownership. We are going to have a quick look at some of the things that a knife owner should or shouldn’t do when it comes to handling knives. Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned haunter and camper, stick around and learn a thing or two.
Dull Knives are Dangerous
Sharp knives should not be trifled with as they can cut, but that’s exactly how they are designed to work and are easier to handle if you know what you are dealing with. Dull knives, on the other hand, are another matter, they force you to exert more force and energy, and this may lead to the handle sleeping and the blade coming into contact with your hands. Dull knives also do a messy job of cutting and may destroy that good pelt you are skinning from the animal you just killed, among many other undesirable things they bring to the table. Before leaving the house, if you have any intention of using your knife along the way, make sure it is well sharpened and ready for action.
Monitor your Blood Bubble
The “blood bubble” is a term that is used to refer to the maximum radius that your arm can reach while holding the knife. To avoid driving the blade into other people around you on accident, make sure you are aware of what and who is in the surrounding. It is up to you to monitor your own blood bubble and notify anyone around you to be on alert from their end. The moment you feel like someone has breached that space, then stop using your knife for a moment or simply move to another space. It is always a good idea to display some courtesy when using a knife near other people so that they too can extend the same to you.
Don’t Handle Knives When Tired
Handing knives when you are tired or intoxicated is always a recipe for disaster. You need the full concentration of a sober human to handle knives and their intense tasks. The dangers of doing this when tired, sleepy, or drunk are many, and you may end up inflicting serious injuries on yourself or the people around if you are not careful enough. Knives are sharp and big; a simple mistake and a slip of the hand can lead to serious damages and could land you in trouble with the law. Therefore, before going out hunting or camping, ensure you are sober and well-rested on the eve of the expedition.
Don’t Use your Body as a Backstop
A backstop is an object upon which the item being cut is placed to give the user more leverage. When cutting up an animal, for example, you may want to have a strong backstop like a plank of wood to give you the needed resistance for the knife to go in deep. However, there are instances where people use their one bodies as the backstop, sometimes unconsciously, and this is a recipe for disaster. In the event that the knife slips and misses the object you are cutting, the force you were applying on the knife will drive it deep into your flesh, and you may need to go to the ER as that force is usually immense. Never use any part of your body as the backstop.
A tool that carries this magnitude of importance has to be maintained at all times to ensure that it is operating at optimum levels at all times. It has to be cleaned at all times after use to get rid of any dirt build-up near the handle or the stains on the blades. The knife has to be oiled to keep rusting at bay, and it has to be sharpened every time you are about to go out. All these are customary maintenance routines that every knife owner should be privy to in order for them to get the best out of them.
Don’t Catch a Falling Knife
Playing catch with knives may look good in movies, but if you try it in real life, you will find yourself with more than you bargained for. Knives slip from the hands all the time, and your reflexes may kick in momentarily, prompting you to try catching them before they hit the floor, don’t do that. Train yourself to always jump out of the way every time a knife starts falling to the ground; just let it hit the ground, it is not made of glass, and there’s very little damage that will be sustained. The same cannot be said of your hands; however, imagine going for the knife to grab it with all your might only for the sharp edge to dig deep into your hands. Let falling knives fall.
Don’t Throw Knives
In the same breath as catching falling knives, unless you are an expert knife thrower, resist the urge to throw knives every chance you get. For starters, there’s the danger you may hit, injure or even kill someone if you do it in a crowded place. The other reason why you shouldn’t throw knives is the fact that they will get damaged if you miss. A knife that lands against a target using its side will bounce off and hit the ground at high velocity; this could chip the blade or make the handle lose, among many other things. You have to be an experienced hunter with years of training to be able to mister knife throwing. In the meantime, avoid the urge to do that.
Sheath with Care
For pocket knife owners, finding a place to store the knife on your person is not that hard as they can simply be folded back into the handles and thrown into the pocket for storage. However, if you own a fixed blade, finding another storage method is needed, and in most cases, an external sheath comes in handy. The sheathing process is supposed to be simple and straightforward, but many times, accidents happen when people try to sheath their blades without paying attention. You have to make sure that nothing like the edge of your shirt is in the way. You should also be keen when sheathing, making sure that the tip of the knife is in first before pressing in to avoid sticking your leg with the blade. You should also invest in a good sheath that fits your knife perfectly. If it is too tight, you will end up slicing it open; it is too wide, the knife may jump out while you’re walking.
You should never be in a rush when using a hunting knife. Unless you are wrestling with a bear and need to squeeze in a quick stab to the heart, just take your time with the other activities. Knives are sharp and dangerous; therefore, hold them the right way without any rush, and if you feel like they are slipping from the hand, pause, readjust and continue with your work. This is especially a very important thing to note when skinning an animal. You may end up getting blood on your hands, making things too slippery. Do it at a slow pace without rushing to avoid cutting yourself. Focus is everything.
Don’t Leave an Unsecured Knife Unattended
Never leave a knife lying around unattended on the ground or any other place. This is especially crucial if you are near children who may start playing around with it like a toy leading to all kinds of problems. Once you are done with a knife, always keep it on your person either in the sheath if it is a fixed knife or folded neatly if it is a pocket knife. Considering how expensive hunting knives are, the last thing you would want is to leave your knife exposed to the elements or, worse, picked up by some random stranger. Knowing where your knife is at all times will save you from a lot of headaches since you will be held liable if it is used to cause injury to someone else or worse.
There are countless other tips you can use to ensure that you adhere to safety practices when dealing with your knife. Every knife you purchase usually comes with a manual for its use and the safety precautions that you are supposed to adhere to. Take your time to read them well to understand what is required of you. For more information on knives and where to get the rest of them, visit Shieldon(pocket knife suppliers) and browse through a long list of options that may fit your needs.