Big Blades For Big Boar


Toby Benoit

 Is there anything more satisfying than wielding a good knife?  There’s something primal about it, isn’t there?  The Knife is an amazing and ancient tool for which there has been no substitute.  Throughout history, knives have been essential for survival; from providing food and shelter to warfare.  From its earliest form, the knife developed out of necessity, and its evolution may be traced throughout history.


During the Stone Age, knives were made of, well…. stone.  Most common examples of the earliest blades were made of flint, which could easily be knapped to shape, and then could be re-knapped to produce a new edge.  Later, flint knives were ground to the desired shape instead of flaked via knapping.  Much later in history, man began to make knives from metals; copper, bronze, and finally, from the products of iron as we know them today.


As we still do today, our ancestors held a special bond with their knives, in particular, those used for hunting.  Over the ages, knives have been adorned with ornate patterns, marks of craftsmanship which add a touch of beauty and reflected pride in the skills of both owner and craftsman.  Even in modern days, when purchasing a knife for hunting or fishing, the product of choice must be not only of lasting performance and quality, but also have an attractive design and finish that gives the owner a sense of pride.


Most of the world's countries have a knife related to their culture and history.  This is one reason why knife collecting has become an increasingly popular hobby.  Long, slim bolo knives of the Philippines or machetes from South America, curved, wicked-looking Ghurka knives of India and of course, America's own Bowie Knife has made its place in history.  The Bowie was handcrafted specifically as a hunting knife, and those looking for the finest in hunting knives today should turn to the hands of a skilled craftsman.


So, what do I look for in a hunting knife, especially for one to be used while hog hunting?  I’m a long-time fan of the Bowie styled pig-stickers, but we can take a look at some of the things I think you should look for in any style if considering a new hog knife.


Six to ten, inches of blade.  Some people will argue that you don't need a knife that long but it's important that the knife is long enough to reach a big boar's heart.  And if not stabbing into the heart, the largest target in the hog’s chest is the lungs and I really want to have enough penetrate and deflate both of them.  Either way, heart or lungs, the length of the blade matters.  On my personal Bowie, I have a nine inch blade and it’s never failed to reach where I need it to. 


Next important is to choose a knife with a good solid grip.  In the middle of the hunt you are going to be striking at a moving object.  You don't want to slip off and cut yourself or injure your dogs.  And once the initial thrust occurs, there is bound to be no shortage of blood.  A slippery grip, on a potential second thrust can allow your hand to slip down onto the blade causing you a serious injury.  That’s where a good hilt comes in handy too.  Consider at least a two inch cross style hilt to offer the best protection.


It’s best to consider a knife built with a full tang blade.  This means that it's one solid, full thickness piece of metal sandwiched in between the handles.  A full tang knife isn't nearly as likely to break on you during the hunt.  You want a strong blade with boar hunting.  I'd suggest a hog sticker that is at least 3/16" thick.


Today, the knife continues to be an important tool, though more for sport and work than survival, as in the past.  As knife technology and production methods have advanced, knife uses have expanded and knife forms have become more specialized.  Today, you can get quality built knives from variety of manufacturers in a wide assortment of configurations and materials.


As always, I thank you for any input and suggestions for future blogs; you can reach me at




Everglades Adventures
ByToby Benoit