When I posted last night about the new Arno Bernard knife I bought at Blade Show, I had no idea that I would end up putting it, and several other knives through their paces as I skinned a groundhog this afternoon. Thing is, the little bastard signed his own death warrant when I saw him climb up and over my garden fence like an Olympic athlete.
I moved the 10/22 to the upstairs bedroom closet, and stashed a magazine on a shelf under some shirts. After a quick reminder to the kids that just because I have left a gun out, that doesn’t mean the rules do not apply, I was ready.
Opportunity presented itself this afternoon as I walked into the bedroom from the shower wearing nothing but a towel. I couldn’t bring myself to shoot him buck-naked from my bedroom window. So I threw a pair of shorts on commando. Then I shot him. I took the shot from the second story window, hitting him in the right shoulder blade and dropping him immediately. Given the rifle is zeroed at 50 yards, and the shot only 10 or so, I am pleased with the placement.
I couldn’t let an opportunity like this to do some knife testing pass, so I strung the critter up, gathered a handful of knives, and got to work.
By sheer coincidence, my buddy Zach had commented on my photo of the Bernard last night, “That’s a nice skinning profile right there”. His words turned out to be prophetic. And spot on correct as it turns out.
Arno Bernard put a mirrored-razor edge on the knife, and this was its first significant use. I love the big belly of a Canadian Belt Knife or in this case hybrid CBK/Nessmuk, and the serpentine curve indexes nicely when wearing a glove and the knife is covered in blood. I had no trouble gripping the knife at all.
The upswept tip never came close to piercing the skin, and the knife reinforced my gut feeling that it would be a fantastic addition to my collection.
Strangely, my second favorite knife of the day was at the opposite end of the spectrum – my new KaBar folding hunter. One could say it was not surprising given the knife’s similarity to the Buck 110. One could even say it is KaBar’s clone of a 110, except the 3189 is a clone of the KABar 1189, which like the Buck debuted in the mid 1960s. I have a lot of experience with the 110, and thus the 3189 felt familiar in the hand. It would be interesting to see how the KABar’s 5Cr15 steel stacks up to the masterfully heat-treated but pedestrian 420HC of the Buck.
The ESEE PR4 did a more than serviceable job but was hindered by the less freshly sharpened edge, and the overall size. The Bernard and my LT Wright Small Northern Hunter both were more nimble in the confined space of the groundhog carcass.
I also threw in a couple of EDC folders I am testing, since they were close at hand and it was a unique opportunity. Both the BuckNBear Lynx and the DPx Gear HEST/F made the most of their razor-sharp drop points and did a great job at this beyond EveryDay task.
I could not be more pleased with my Arno Bernard Wasp, and I am thrilled I had the chance to actually use it for its designed purpose. I am sure than Mr. Bernard will be pleased that the knife ended up inside an animal and not just inside a drawer. At $240, it might not be a “user” to all buyers, but I trusted the N690 steel to stay clean, and the Giraffe scales, while beautiful, are utilitarian as well.
The pelt is now stretched and salted, and 4 pounds of Alum are on the way from Amazon. I am going to get the pelt I skinned with the Will Woods’ Kraken out of the freezer and try to tan both at once.
Not my typical Saturday afternoon, but entertaining nonetheless.