How Knife Hunting Works

Modern Knife Hunting

Today's knĀ­ives are a far cry from their Paleolithic ancestors, of course. Hunters might use stainless steel, or high-carbon, high-molybdenum or high-chromium steel alloys [source: Fisher]. A serious hunter might have a knife custom-built to his or her preferences like James Bowie.

Few contemporary hunters attack prey directly with the knife. Even if you don't like handling firearms you can still achieve a safe distance with a crossbow or bow and arrow. These weapons -- or, of course, a rifle -- allow you to hunt a far wider range of prey. In fact, modern-day knife hunters more or less stick to one species: the wild boar.

A wild boar, or razorback, is several hundred pounds of uncontrollable fury. The largest ever known to be killed (by pistol, not by knife) weighed in at just over 1,000 pounds (453 kilograms) and measured over 9 feet (2.7 meters) long [source: Brumbeck]. In other words, a wild hog can be as long as a Harley-Davidson hog, and twice as heavy.

A boar charges, thrashes and bites. Its four sharp tusks can be up to 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) long, and just as you've been sharpening your knife, it's been sharpening its tusks by rubbing them on trees [source: Dewey]. It can reach speeds of 25 miles (40 kilometers) an hour [source: Australian Hunting Adventures]. Most intimidating of all, its chest is heavily armored with a thick, scaly hide that can deflect even the sharpest blade. Hunting a boar with a knife demands physical strength, courage, fast reflexes and precision all at once. Many boar hunters also carry rifles, handguns or bows.

In the United States, wild boars are considered invasive. They destroy crops and other vegetation [source: USDA]. They aren't native; they were introduced as game and then -- as feral pigs tend to do -- rapidly got out of hand. Because so many game and natural resources departments consider boars invasive, you often don't have to deal with restrictive laws dealing with such considerations as weight limits. (Not that you shouldn't check anyway; many states do observe boar hunting seasons.)

Wild boars are also hunted in the Australian Outback and in some parts of Asia. Boar hunting in Australia tends to involve dogs, which we'll discuss more on the next page.

So what about the skilled part of the hunt? Read on to learn more.