Every hunter hopes for a successful season. We put in the work to prepare and hopefully it all goes as planned so we can take our prize home with us.

There is a lot of preparation that goes into a successful hunt, but if you spend any time with a hunter, they will tell you the real work starts once you have an animal on the ground. It can be a big job to dress, quarter, and pack the animal back to the table. A critical tool to make fieldwork easier is a sharp knife.

I carry two knives with me when in the field. A folding knife clipped in my pocket for general tasks like cutting rope, paracord, opening food, etc. I also carry a fixed blade to process my animal pending a successful harvest.

Prior to the hunt, I make sure both my knives are sharp. I sharpen both to the same angle, so I know exactly how I am going to resharpen them in the field. I also make sure that the angle is complemented by the sharpener I am carrying with me. I don’t want to have to do an angle change to a more acute angle in the field. That’s unnecessary work and frustration that will take more time to accomplish. I typically sharpen to 20° per side at home and then carry the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener to sharpen and hone at 20 and 25 degrees so I keep a sharp edge.

While field dressing, pay attention to how your knife edge is cutting. When you notice that you need more pressure on the knife to make a cut or your cuts are starting to look sloppy or jagged, it’s time to hone your edge. This is important because a sharp knife requires less force to make the cut which results in a more precise cut, less wasted meat, and less chance of an injury.

Quickly honing your edge with ceramic or just a leather strop gets you back to the work at hand and is much faster than having to do a complete re-sharpen.

Hone often, make clean cuts and be safe out there.

Stay sharp and good luck this season.