Okay, so thought Id go pick up my new knife and meet the guy who made it.
Jumped in the Charger and went for a trip to Ohio to say hello to Lon Humphrey.
On the way, I had plenty of time to reflect on, how this all came about.
I was never a big fan of the very short sharply upturned clip on some Bowies, but a while ago I saw a Bowie on a blade forum. It was a real show stopper and was not only beautifully made, but it also had a looong swept clip.
It blew my socks off and I simply had to know more. The knifemaker was Lon Humphrey. Against my better judgement, as I am really trying to cut down on knives (no pun intended) I wrote Lon and we talked back and forth about the knife design,
I mentioned, that I would like a Bowie for pig sticking, as I had always wanted to try both owning a hand made knife and to try my hand at hunting hogs with a knife made for the purpose.
Lon was very nice to talk to all the way through the project. He became all fired up, when I mentioned, that I wanted a blasted low-key no-frills practical knife for sticking hogs.
I asked, if he would make the knife and Lon readily agreed. I could simply not have asked for a more friendly and competent guy to deal with. Lon always answered very quickly to mails and he was even fine with any stupid questions and design suggestions, that I fired at him.
We agreed on W2 steel and lines like the Bowie, I had first seen from Lons hand.
I wanted a swept clip, a guard what I could wrap my finger around, a choil to rest the finger on and a lanyard tube.
For really bloody work a sub-hilt would have worked fine, but I am not a big fan of sub-hilts, so I went for the wrap-finger-around-guard feature mentioned above.
Lon initially went for a brass slightly swept "S" guard, but ended up making a "ball" guard out of mild steel.
Initially, I did not care much for the guard, but after being told about why he made it and after seeing that the design is an old one, it grew on me.
Further more, Lon mentioned, that he made the two balls on the guard, as one needs a pair when hunting pigs with a knife.
Now I would not change the guard for anything. I find it very special and nice looking. Further more it works.
Arriving in Ohio, I drove by Lons house and paid him a visit. Lon is not only friendly via email communication, he is just a great guy to talk to and he could not have been more friendly in person.
We talked about knives, politics and the world in general. Also went for a meal at Lons local hang-out, which was really nice.
All in all a great visit and if could not have more fun to pick up a knife in person.
When seeing the Pig Sticker in attached files in an email, I was bowled over, but handling the Pig Sticker was something else; long slender lethal lines. A great handle and ditto balance.
Here Lon is posing with the "petite" Pig Sticker!
The prize winning Bowie, that started it all is the bottom most one in this pic. Pig Sticker at top for comparison
The Pig Sticker is dull, as I wanted it for this one, as the knife is made for pig sticking.
Pig Sticker has a slightly longer more slender blade - PERFECT for the task at hand!
I was more than satisfied with the result of Lons work.
After the lightning visit in Ohio for picking up the Bowie, I drove to Arkansas for some Pig Sticking at the Rolling "R" Ranch in the rolling hills of Zinc, AR.
The Rolling R outfit is led Dave "Dangerous Dave" Richardson, who in spite of his nickname is one of the most friendly guys, I have ever met. That goes for Terry and the rest of the outfit too for that matter. Jason, Brady, Don - all of you. I can not thank you enough.
I met up with Dave and the crew an early (very early) morning in order to go hunting for hogs at seven o'clock in the morning.
Dog will HUNT!
Driving around on the Rolling R Ranch, a "baying" dog was let out to pick up the scent/track of a hog. Dog got the scent fast and was off in a flash!
When the alert Rolling R crew determined, that the dog had a pig cornered judging from the pitch of the eager dog barking, another dog was let go.
This was quite a different dog. I was almost tempted to call it the Devil Dog, when looking at this pic....
....but its just a very good hog hunting dog.
It was outfitted with a tusk resistant vest and ditto collar, because this dog gets in close and dirty to hold the pig.
It does that job WELL.... and likes it too.
After the kill, the dog had to be pried off the pig, as can be seen in this pic.
When the second dog was on the pig a third one was let go.
Very efficient with three dogs holding the pig, though as the pigs have no intention to go silently into the night, they still try to scramble around quite a lot. The super dogs made sure, that they did not go far. One pig had us on a chase, but was eventually cornered by the dogs.
Most of my buddies thought me an idiot for doing this. At the very lest a hog could tear loose of the dogs and do some damage, if nothing else then a broken bone - at worst a ripped artery.
I was pretty confident moving in on the pig, as it was kept in place by the dogs and even more important, as the quiet confidence of the pros at the Rolling R Ranch crew was somehow transmitted to me.
My main concern was, in no particular order, to not stick any of the dogs or myself, to not get bitten by the dogs and to not get mauled by a pig.
The dogs solved all of those questions/concerns above. They were totally focued on the pig and did not at any point snarl or growl at me, so I was very confident, that there would be no problems with the dogs....now the pig, not so much! It was kept occupied with the excellent dogs, who let me in on the action.
I managed to sneak up on the pig. Not a mean feat by a 6.4 big(ish) guy BTW.
The Pig Sticker
As I have never stuck a knife in anybody or anything, I was surprised by how relatively easy it tuned out to be to kill the pigs.
I had some notion, that the tough pigs would be hard to stick the knife into. That turned out to not be the case.
I thought, that the tough pig meat would suck or cling to the knife. It did not. A friend of mine in Florida, who has more intimate knowledge of using a knife, than I will ever have, told me, that the blade sticking in something is most often the matter with bayonets, them being of a very different design.
The Lon Humphrey Pig Sticker slid into the pig like a ....like a.....well, like a hot knife through butter on a warm summer day.
With the first pig, I rammed the knife in there with both hands. Not neccesary at all. Just slide the blade in there just behind the front leg from above and at a downward angle. Work it a bit and out the blade goes again. One pig dead very fast.
On one occasion, I stuck the bone and had another go. The Knife worked PERFECTLY. No resistance at all. It cut through everything and insured a quick kill.
The ease with which the knife worked leads me to conclude, that Lon has made the perfect Pig Sticker!
The long slender blade could not have been any better for that kind of work.
After cleaning the knife, I saw no sign of it having been used for rough work in the field - let alone any signs of damage to the tip from ramming it into bone with both hands, which I did on the first pig before learning, that one did not have to use force at all.
Second pig was stuck using one hand and all went with the greatest of ease.
First pig was stuck in the heart, which can not be mistaken. It bleeds a lot.
Second hog - a boar.
Some dogs just wont let go!
Dave from the Rolling "R" Ranch
The guys from the Rolling R crew in their trademark blaze orange hoodies. They often hunt with guys using firearms and wear blaze orange for that. No firearms on this occasion ....and I promised not to throw my knife at them! They still wore their blaze though
A few more pics
Yeah yeah, I know what this looks like, but its just to show the devastating effectiveness of Lons knife
One pig hit very cleanly in the heart. A quick death
Dealing with Lon was just great. Finally handling the knife was fantastic. Using it for its intended purpose also.
Hunting with the friendly guys from the Rolling R Ranch was also a most pleasent experience.
I have seldom met nicer guys than Lon and the guys from the Rolling R.
All in all a very nice experience - having Lon make a knife, that worked great and trying out the knife hunting with the Rolling R crew.
I have no connection with neither Lon nor the Rolling R apart from having a knife made and going hunting, so I dont profit from any of this.
I can only say, that I hope to buy more knives from Lon and to hunt with the Rolling R again.