When you pick up a Canadian,  the humpback blade looks and feels unusual until you start to use it. These well-used skinners show a consistent blade  curve, or belly, which works quite well for removing the hide from a big game animal.
The hump on the spine looks weird to the uninformed, but it really does have a place on a do-it-all knife.
The spine has 90-degree angles which means it will work to scrape a ferrocerium rod to create sparks and start a fire. So I contacted Mike Stewart, president of Bark River Knives, and asked if the handle could be modified at the factory. The KSF design works very well in many instances and pleases a lot of people, so this ticky little nit-pick is strictly personal preference. While it might not be the best choice for certain jobs, you can depend that it won’t let you down.
Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and doesn't claim to be a survival expert or expertise as a survivalist.
As a newspaperman and journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff's departments, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense might have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. After graduating from Iowa State University, Leon completed a six-month, 2,552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail. Some of Leon's canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Since 1991, Leon has been an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 18 in Bend, and is a scoutmaster wilderness skills trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49.
After a week on the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota,  I sent home a lot of gear.  I was headed for the Gulf of Mexico on what turned out to be a six-month, end-to-end voyage of the big river, and my cruising setup had to be lean and efficient. The Kalahari Sportsman is a well-designed fillet knife that can take care of most of your fish filleting needs. Cutlery was taken care of with a Buck folding hunter, which rode on my hip,  and a six-inch Fisckar fillet knife. To start with, a fillet knife is a specialized tool, featuring a flexible, thin blade and it wouldn’t be my first choice as an all-around survival knife.
The Sportsman went along on an Oregon deer hunt in October, and the plan was to use it for boning out meat. Flexible blade: A fillet blade needs to be sharp, but flexible, so it moves easily around bones. The Bark River Kalahari, top, and the Sportsman, both new this year from Bark River Knives, feature the Kalahari handle.


Easy to sharpen: A fillet knife may be your most-used outdoors knife, and it will get dull at some point. I currently own  about eight or nine fillet knives in different configurations, and they get used heavily during deer and elk seasons (Hopefully!) Right now, the Sportsman is residing on the knife rack in my kitchen, and it looks like that will be its permanent home. So, at some point, I may have to get another Sportsman, and have Bark River grind the blade length down to 5.5 inches.
DescriptionKershaw Camp 14 MacheteThe Kershaw Camp 14 is a pretty awesome camp knife that does a great job of whacking outdoor chores down to size in short order.From clearing brush to making kindling, the Camp 14 is the ideal outdoor and survival tool.
The 1948 Original Equipment Expedition Gear section holds some of the greatest names in Bushcraft. Our axe selection includes the world’s best from Gransfor Bruks of Sweden, such as the Wildlife and Small Forest axes.
You will find blankets, head torches and survival packs including Don’t Die Out There playing cards and the famous Frontier Stove.
Don’t make any investments in that cutlery category until you check out the Bark River Canadian. Then you’ll find the drop point is just right for field dressing big game, cleaning fish or whittling sticks. Variations of this design were probably around many years before the first commercial knives were put on the market some 50 years ago.
I checked out the curve against several of my proven and well-used skinners, and the Canadian had a virtually identical design in that area.
I have tested this on several other Bark Rivers, and saw no need to potentially damage the blade re-proving it.
He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships. I bought this knife to review, and all I ever promise in any equipment review is a fair shake. The Fisckar worked very well for filleting pan-sized fish and was used at least once a day to prepare whatever fish we caught.
After filleting thousands of fish on that voyage and subsequent expeditions, I came up with what I want in a fillet knife. The long, thin blade that makes it good for filleting or boning out meat means it won’t be the best choice for skinning big game animals.
A five-inch is about the minimum for smaller panfish, and I like a six-to-seven inch for medium fish, and a nine-inch for steelhead, salmon and larger saltwater fish. Once some fish guts or slime get on the knife, you don’t want the handle to be hard to hold.
It fits my glove-size large hands well and that there is little danger of it twisting in my hand under hard use.
This has been extended to include a Scandinavian Forest Axe plus a Hunting, Carpenters and Carving axe all from Gransfor Bruks. The Ghillie Kettle is another piece of great design that really works even in the worst weather conditions.


It worked fine for drilling a hole in the poplar hearth of a firebow primitive firemaking setup I’m making.
I know that the hump reduces the chances of the point piercing entrails when using the knife upside down, edge up, to gut a big game animal. The grooves were also commented on a couple of weeks ago when I showed the knife to several members of the Marion County (Oregon) Search and Rescue team.
I want to be able to get in my car with the knife on my belt and be able to fasten the seat belt. A knife of this size, designed to be used for everything, should also be good for slicing meat and cleaning fish.
Every technique, piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been thoroughly tested and researched.
The fillet blade would also not hold up very well under prolonged, extreme use for whittling, battoning wood or every day cutting chores.
For boning out meat,  the most useful length is a five-to-seven-inch blade, according to a consensus of the elk hunters I hunt and cut meat with. But a well-designed handle that fits your hand, no matter what it is made of, is safer than a soft, smushy handle that doesn’t. The handle is also long enough – for some reason, there is a propensity among some knife makers to make short handles that look good and perform poorly.
I really like CPM S35VN steel in Bark River knives – it has superior edge-holding ability. The Sportsman has a convex configuration, meaning there is no secondary edge that has to be sharpened.
This means the spine can be used for scraping a ferro rod to make firestarting sparks and process tinder. It retails for about $200, but that is cheap for a knife you will use extensively over a lifetime. Fischer custom Nessmuk, which is a cousin of the Canadian, and my go-to-skinning knife is a Forschner five-inch sheep skinner pattern. A couple of the pros mentioned that the handle grooves might limit who might be able to use the knife comfortably.
Once you get the hang of stropping a blade, there is never a problem with maintaining a razor edge. I don’t anticipate using a fillet knife for either of these tasks, but nobody ever expects accidents to happen either!
One of our latest additions is the LuminAID® light which is new design and technology at its best. But there are always some fish that swallow the hook and that wouldn’t survive being released.



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