By Steve Wild
Team Wild's resident Master Butcher and Slaughterman Steve 'Wildy' Wild knows a thing or two about cold hard steel.
After leaving the army I started to work in the family business as a butcher and slaughter man - I've got plenty of cuts and scars to prove it! ;) So I like to think that when it comes to knifes I know a bit.
My first hunting knife was made by Spanish knife makers Joker. It had a lovely little rounded blade with a gut hook built into it. I say "was" because it now resides on Killer's belt - that's how I learnt about the 30 second rule i.e. if he holds it more than 30 seconds it must be his!
After losing my Joker, I purchased a Gerber 'Exchange-a-blade'. I liked the principle and thought that this might be the one!
With its 3 inter-changeable blades (gut hook, bone saw and blade)it looked very impressive and until we got down to the business end of a nights stalking I loved it!
But half way through the first fallow buck, Killer was in my ear "come on Wildy, pull your finger out. We won't be getting a pint at this rate!"
I don't know if it is a common problem with Gerber knives, but the steel seemed soft and doesn't seem to hold an edge!
The mechanism in the handle to switch the blades is good and works well, but I found to let it down badly by the poor quality of the steel in the blades and it wouldn't hold an edge carving butter.
When you use a knife as much as myself, Killer and Mr H do, it's a big problem! Although I'm not dissing Gerber at all - I have a multi-tool of theirs that I wouldn't be without, that's given me years of good service both home and abroad. However, the problem I've had with the 'Exchange-a-blade' has turned me off them a bit.
So now I have a Boker Valkyrie bowie knife, which is a modern interpretation of the knifes issued to the USMC in Vietnam.
It's a bit of a beast but I love it! She has a 7 1/4" hard stainless steel blade which holds an edge really well even when dressing red deer that have been in the mud wallows!
The weight of the knife lets you chop at foliage around high seats and in hides and will even pull through the brisket bone of a fallow deer no problem.
Like I said, it wouldn't do for everyone, but it works for me! I really love the look on fellow stalkers faces when I give them the line "that's not a knife" and they catch the first glimpse of her blade against the moonlight!
About Steve Wild
Birthplace: Stoke on Trent, UK
Married: To Sue since 1995
Occupation: Director of Wild's Butchers Limited
Shooting since he was 6, Steve rode with the Meynel and South Staffordshire Hunt, played Rugby for the Army and Regiment, served for 6 years in the Blues and Royals all over the World: Belize, Canada, USA, Cyprus, Germany and served at Hide park barracks on the queens life guard.
Steve supported and helped run a commercial shoot over 15 years, has hunted in Africa, Stalked Deer on the hill in Scotland and in Woodland around the UK.
Steve is a successful Master Butcher and Slaughterman, landlord of his Local Village Pub, play darts in is spare time for Staffordshire County!