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One Year With The Attleboro Knife

Posted by Brock Gardner on

This is not a knife review. I'm not an expert on blades or knife fighting or anything of that nature. This is simply a story about my experience with a knife that impressed me—beyond my expectations.

I received my Attleboro knife in a trade deal early this year. I had heard of the Attleboro for many months, and knew of its reputation as a fine example of American craftsmanship and a knife with a story. The story behind the blade is a moving one that I won’t recount at this time, but you can read about it on the Attleboro website.

For several weeks after getting the knife, it sat on my desk where I would admire its sharpness, weight, and overall appearance. During a few of these private moments I would slice a piece of paper, smile with delight and imagine I was one of those sales people you see on TV with a 4-piece set of miracle knives. Every so often I would use it to open the tape on a package, then rush out to the shop to clean the adhesive residue off the blade, apologizing to the knife for using it in such a manner.

As summer passed the knife would go with me on several adventures, but it never got a chance for real use. Not that cutting fishing leader isn't "real" use; but looking back now, I see it was a low calling for this knife.

October. Finally, the Attleboro would get the chance to prove its worth. It’s big game season.

Rifle season began with high hopes of a grand hunt for large trophy animals, just like on TV. I had spent my summer behind the rifle I would hunt with, shooting at 700 to 1200 yards to ensure my confidence in placing an 800-yard shot in the field. My rifle was right--the load work done, dope chart spot-on--and my Attleboro was sharp, clean and ready.

The first two days of the season were great--good animals and lots of them. Confident that I would find a bigger trophy, I passed on some great animals. Day three: everything vanished that had antlers.

Over the next couple weeks we kept up the pursuit, glassing large areas, working the draws, pouring over topo maps. All the while the knife was on my side or strapped to my pack. Every time I would crack open a can of Vienna sausages I used it to dig out the cold salty pieces of meat and place them on a cracker.

At the end of bull season I decided to take a trip to an area I knew held bear. I loaded my pack, strapped the knife to the side of it and set my alarm to wake me up at 4 a.m. the next morning. As I drove to the trailhead the sun was peeking over the canyon walls and the morning frost began to glitter on the trees. I was running late.

I turned a corner and three does ran across the road. I still had a deer tag in my pocket and this unit was one of the last ones open for deer. I stopped to look around, and there was a small buck up the steep slope above me. The rifle I had spent so many hours with over the last few months was broke down and packed away. Next to me lay my 300 black-out short-barreled rifle, suppressed and loaded with subsonic Gemtech ammo. The buck started up the hill, and I knew I didn't have time to mess around. I grabbed the short rifle as I bailed out of my pickup. I started up the hill, keeping my eye on the deer that was more concerned with his girls than with me. Finally, I reached a good shooting position and raised the rifle. With a sound you'd expect to come from a pellet gun I sent a Gemtech round into the back of his neck.

Instantly the small buck hit the ground and stared rolling back down the slope. I began waking down after it when I realized it had stopped about 20 feet from my pickup. “This is going to be a good day,” I thought to myself. I looked at the deer as I walked down. Looked pretty dead to me, so I headed to my pickup to put my rifle away.  After unloading and placing the rifle in the back seat I noticed that the road was much too narrow to leave my pickup parked for long. I'd have to load the animal and go down the road to a turnout and deal with it there.

I sprinted over to the buck, grabbed it by its antlers, nose in the air, and proceeded to drag it to the pickup. Just as I got along the side of my pickup, it was clear to me that this deer was not dead.

The neck injury had knocked it out and it was having trouble with its front legs. However, it's hind legs were fully functional and thrashing about, kicking the side of my pickup and twisting as it tried to right itself. I didn't dare let go of the pointy end as I figured I had the upper hand as long as I held on and kept it on its back. Instantly I regretted not having my pistol on my belt…or my knife…or a loaded anything within arms reach. Thankfully, I had left the back door of my pickup open, and I could see the Attleboro attached to the side of my pack sitting on the seat. As soon as the buck stopped kicking for the briefest second, I grabbed the Attleboro and cut its throat. I was very impressed with how easily the knife worked through the thick hair and didn't stop till it hit bone.

Now fearing that someone would come around the corner and see me holding onto a deer kicking and bleeding, I pulled it into the pickup and quickly closed the tailgate. As I drove off I could hear the thumping of the buck kicking the inside of the bed and the occasional hoof would flash in my rear view mirror.

A few hundred yards down the road I reached a pull-out. Thankfully, the animal was now dead and I was able to field dress it. The Attleboro handled like a dream, slicing through the hide, the diaphragm, and splitting the chest open. One thing that stood out was that with all the blood on the knife, I never lost my grip.      

Once home I used the Attleboro to skin and bone out the deer. From tasks like separating the joints to carefully cutting out the tenderloins, the knife was fantastic. Did I mention that I still haven't sharpened it?

Throughout the rest of the season the knife continued to go into the woods with me, field dressing two elk, again splitting the chest cavity with ease. I did sharpen the knife before the elk hunt, using an old sharpening stone that’s older than me and oil I had seen my father use when I was a kid. The sharpening of the Attleboro felt more like a religious ceremony.

The last time I used the Attleboro was not in the field but at Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws. I was tasked with carving the turkey…. "Attleboro time!" I thought to myself.  I ran to my pickup and returned with a large smile and my Attleboro in hand. With some odd looks from my sister-in-law and a questioning stare from my mother –in-law, I happily carved up that turkey, remembering the adventures I had had with it.

This knife is the perfect knife. This knife is my knife. 

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  • Hey, Brock!! I enjoyed reading your blog!!

    Aunt Jone on

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