A good sharp cutting instrument has been the desire of man since the dawn of time. Far and away are the tools of prehistoric civilizations from what is available today. Refinements in metals and edge technology allow a sustainable sharpness that has never before been available. Sleek designs and molded to fit grips shadow traditional shaped buck knives in durability and aesthetics.
Like most avid outdoorsmen, my collection of dulled down knives is substantial from years of use seeking just the right knife for a particular application or type of game animal. Add to the pile, knives gifted during the holidays by well meaning people who had no real clue as to what else to get an avid outdoorsman and the collection becomes as I said, “substantial”. Having teethed in the whitetail woods of the upper Northeast, a traditional buck knife did the trick for many years. However, upon arriving in the western states and being faced with much larger game to deal with, all new specialty types of knives were needed. Thus the collection grew even more and I felt at that point that I likely had a knife for most any application.
Back home again in the East and missing the time afield guiding high country hunts, I began working with an outfit that offers whitetail hunting as well as other game species on their large ranch as a guide. Part of the deal in this offering is full service guide work through and including quartering and packing meat for transport. Back in my hand was the traditional buck knife that immediately paled in comparison, in sharpness and design for high volume processing to that of my new contemporaries. I realized that I needed speed, sharpness and the ability to do finer detail work without having six knives strapped to my belt for the day. I sought out a middle of the road knife that would fit the bill on all type of game from small to large that offered the durability and edge retention without the need for a sharpening steel just to finish a field dressing job.
Looking over several design and manufacture offerings, the Gerber Metolius caught my eye. Initially I thought the knife might be a bit small when looking it over, but after holding and gripping the handle it fit even my large mitts comfortably. The edge seemed of superior quality and sharpness and I soon was swiping the debit card and bagging the tool. I had a busy upcoming day of hunting that was going to put the knife to the test immediately so I left all inhibition behind and strapped only the Metolius to my belt for the day, relying on an attitude of this knife needing to perform.
The day of the hunt, heavy falling snow slowed the deer movement down considerably and the success rate was very high. Starting at sunrise and ending at dusk in the field, later yet in the butcher shed, a full day of field-dressing, skinning, caping and packaging ensued. I personally processed sixteen whitetail deer in the field that day using only the Gerber Metolius. In the end, the knife performed far beyond my expectations for speed and accuracy and above all was still as sharp as ever at the end of the day.
Due to its smaller design, I twice lost track of it in the deep snow, but consistent methodology in field dressing soon led me to finding it again and quickly continuing. In as far as a downside of the knife would go, the handle being designed “trendily” and with the purpose of adding extra gripping surface, has recessed grooves to fit the hand. There is also a hole at the very back and top of the handle where assumedly a piece of rope or lanyard type material can be inserted, that collected meat and fat to the point of having to use a tooth pick to fully remove the material later that evening during clean up. I appreciate the grooves in the handle for their purpose, but once filled with material and in very cold temperatures the knife lost a considerable amount of its gripping surface. I could very much do without the hole on the handle, especially since the knife does not come with a lanyard or rope (at least one was not in the box with mine) but perhaps this has additional use unbeknownst to me. I do know that it was a priority for me to get it thoroughly cleaned and every bit of that meat removed from the handle as rotting meat that can spoil, in my mind, is a health risk to the meat of future carcasses.
Bar the minor handle inadequacies of my own opinion, the Gerber Metolius is a superior all-around gutting, skinning and caping knife of most North American big game size animals. I would not hesitate to arm myself with this tool as a sole blade on any hunt as the surgical type precision it offers without being a very small bodied blade make it useful for detail work is incredible. Gerber advertises the Metolius on their site for approximately $30.00, but I paid several dollars less than that price at a retailer in my home town.
If you found yourself feeling as though your knife was a bit lacking this fall when the need was upon you, consider checking out this caper and see for yourself how it fits your hand and the quality of the material it is constructed of. If I was contemplating a five star rating scale for this knife, I would give it a 4.5, and that is really due to the minor handle issues I described. While most users will not find themselves field dressing sixteen whitetail deer in a single snowy raw day, I think the inconvenience is minor in the grand scheme of the offering.
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