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TK: In Missouri recently, a simple weekend hike turned into tragedy when a father and his two sons became lost in late afternoon, spent the night in the woods and all died of exposure. Their Labrador Retriever survived. There’s a lesson here for our readers, don’t you think?

Absolutely. I can’t imagine our readers going on even a simple, quick hike without a knife and matches. From what I’ve learned, this guy (an Air Force veteran, by the way) and his sons were on a popular hiking trail in late afternoon, with a storm approaching. They evidently took a wrong turn that carried them deeper into the forest as darkness beset them. They had no flashlight, food or adequate clothing. There was freezing rain falling. They were found dead of exposure the next day. Tragic…

TK: What would you have in your hiking kit?

It would depend on the kind of trek I’m out for, but even on a hike of a couple of hours I wouldn’t be caught empty-handed. At the least, I would have a good strong knife on my belt or a big folder in my jacket—a blade strong enough to cut stuff to start a fire or build a shelter. I’d have matches, or a SOG Firestarter/Sharpener, and maybe a small flashlight—maybe even a couple of nutrition bars.

TK: What about something longer? Maybe a half-day, or even a full-day’s hiking?

Now you’re getting into individual needs and the type of terrain and hike we’re anticipating. It’s actually fun to put together this kind of kit, picking out what you need. I’d have a small backpack or at least a pack. Food, extra knife, maybe a lightweight extra jacket.

TK: Do you ever think of your hiking knife being needed for defense out on the trail?

There are a lot of lunatics out there, and if I happen to run into one, I want to at least want have a knife handy. Also, there’s always a chance of running into rabid animals, like raccoons.

TK: Do you think you could build a fire and shelter deep in the forest in the freezing rain?
I do, because I’ve done it. If you’ve never done it, finding dry wood, cutting fuzz sticks as firestarters, making your shelter, maybe you should find some secluded spot and practice. See if you can actually handle the situation. If you don’t know how, it’s time to start some research and training.

TK: Any particular knife you like these days for the kind of mission we’re talking about, backcountry survival and stuff?
I usually carry my SOG Creed. But there are many, and I’ve just been given a special new one. It’s a sheath knife, single-blade hunter from the master Japanese craftsman Kiku Matsuda. He makes about 100 knives a year, with the precision and care of the old Japanese makers back in the Samurai sword times. He heats, he folds, he pounds—until the steel is right. The steel stays so sharp you can gut a deer or elk with it without ever sharpening it. It’s so strong you cold pry open anything with it, and the sheath is a work of art as well.

TK: Speaking of knives for defense, anti-knife groups like those in New York are very much on the attack. They would take knives away in a New York heartbeat if they could.
In fact, they’re already doing it, and knife owners better wake up to the fact that this fight is just as serious as fighting the current attack on guns. Our forefathers didn’t think to put knives in the 2nd Amendment.

TK: How can we fight back?
The Knife Rights Group (kniferights.org) was at our most recent NRA board meeting to seek NRA help in spreading the word on the attacks on personal knives and how it relates to the attacks on our guns. Make no mistake: The Nanny-State fools want your knives as well as your guns. They don’t mind leaving us defenseless. The Knife Rights folks brought along a nice case folder with an important message. The group’s logo says, “A Sharper Future.” On one blade are printed the words “Essential Tools.” On the other, “Essential Rights.”

TK: Do you have a new book for us?
I sure do, and it’s one our readers are going to love. It’s called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Hunting, by Frank Miniter. There’s nothing flaky left-wingers and liberals hate more than hunting, and here’s a book that blows the antis’ viewpoints all to hell. This book shreds every anti-hunting argument to pieces. Here are a couple of samples straight from the jacket copy: “Did you know? *How hunters are wildlife’s best defenders—far more effective than big-budget ‘green’ groups. *How deer cause more human deaths each year than sharks, cougars, bears, and alligators combined. *Why hunting is statistically safer for kids than football, bicycling and tennis.” If you’re a hunter, you’ve got to have this book to help you tell the next anti-hunter you meet to “Shove it!”

TK: Thanks, Gunny
Semper Fi.

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TK: In Missouri recently, a simple weekend hike turned into tragedy when a father and…