If you’ve ever taken a big game animal late in the day, then you know the value of some form of illumination. Performing game care chores in fading light with a sharp knife is the surest way I know to invite trouble. And when trouble rears its ugly head in the form of an unanticipated laceration, your hunting experience can immediately go downhill from there. Equipping a knife with some kind of light source isn’t anything new or revolutionary. However, skillfully integrating 30 lumens of illumination from six tiny LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs all powered by a single battery for 138 minutes of illumination is engineering design at is zenith. And the new SOG BladeLight Hunt fixed-blade knife is all that¾and more.
This innovative hunting knife features a 3.8-inch, drop-point pattern blade crafted from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, with a satin polished finish. The blade shape also has a generous recessed choil (cut-out) where the blade tang meets the leading edge of the handle. This recess provides for the alternate placement of a forefinger to allow more precise blade control when working in tight places (trophy work). The blade itself has been Rockwell hardened on the “C” scale to Rc 56-58. While this may not mean a lot to some knife users, hardening a knife blade to this position offers greater in-the-field sharpening ease, while at the same time providing reasonable edge retention. Sharpening a knife is always a challenge for many, and when the blade has been heat-treated to a higher Rockwell finding, this further accelerates edge maintenance difficulties for many.
The unique knife handle, molded from highly visible orange glass-reinforced nylon both offers strength to the blade tang (which extends about halfway into the handle), and serves as a water resistant housing for the onboard electronics. Six tiny LED bulbs, three on each side of the leading edge of the handle and powered by a single AAA battery, provide brilliant illumination to the blade work area. One of the features of this type of lighting that I really like is the fact that no special type of battery is necessary. AAA batteries are readily available at any gas station, convenience store, as well as many other retail locations nationwide and around the globe. A simple push-button switch, located at the knife handle terminus, controls the power to the LEDs, and a convenient loop for lanyard attachment adjoins the off/on switch.
Unlike a folding knife where the exposed blade edge is folded into the knife frame or handle, a fixed-blade knife edge is always exposed and must be covered for safety when transported. A heavyweight, “fine grain” leather sheath comes with every BladeLight Hunt knife for safe carrying convenience. A generous belt loop is integrated into the sheath design, which allows for attachment to fit belts up to two-inches in width. The knife is secured in the black leather sheath by means of a snap strap, which is an integral part of the one-piece sheath.
On a recent wild pig hunt, I had the occasion to put the new knife to a serious field-test. Arriving at the hunting location about three-hours prior to nightfall, enough time remained in the day to get a little hunting in before dark. As luck would have it, I encountered a sizeable boar hog feeding in a tall stand of wild oats. A single bullet ended the hunt, but by the time I found hog in the dense cover, daylight had almost evaporated. Not to fear, the built-in LED bulbs in the SOG knife provided more than enough illumination to deal with primary game care easily. I like it when things function as they should and the BladeLight Hunt fixed-blade not only illuminated the assignment, but also sliced through wire-like hair and tough boar hide equally well.–Durwood Hollis