Many countries have long traditions of excellent metallurgy and knifemaking. Tanto, Puukko, and Victorinox knives are virtually the edged national trademarks of Japan, Finland and Switzerland. Germany also has a long tradition of high-quality smithing, and this Hubertus Forstmesser Nicker illustrates the features of a traditional German hunting knife.
Unlike traditional American hunting knives, a Jaeger’s knife will probably feature a genuine stag handle and a drop-point blade with a substantial guard. It’s no accident that these blades resemble really large SAK blades, because time has demonstrated it to be a versatile blade design for hunting tasks.
German big-game hunting is a genteel (and tremendously expensive) sport that bears little resemblance to the fall hunting season in North America. Most of it takes place on well-managed private reserves where driven game is taken at short range, and where Jaeger rarely venture more than a few miles from a comfortable hunting lodge. There’s no need for a camp knife for wood chopping or splitting, and most game is field-processed by the professional guide instead of the hunter himself.
A 4.5 inch blade like this is more than enough to bleed out a downed stag or boar, and this somewhat ceremonial use is often the only real task for a hunter’s knife in this rather formal and ceremonial sport. German-style hunting doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, but the knives are still cool.
Hubertus knives are handmade in Solingen, Germany using premium materials like genuine stag horn, Solingen steels, and fine leather sheaths. They typically cost between $150 and $650, and the smallish Forstmesser Nicker (literally ‘Forest-Knife Knife) is at the bottom of that price range. Knife Center currently carries them (along with just about every other knife on earth) for $136 plus S&H.