The Buck Zipper, a special purpose hunting design, features a black hard rubber handle, 4.25″ hollow ground skinning blade of high carbon stainless steel, brass finger guard and brass butt. What sets it apart from a fixed blade hunting and utility knife is the gut hook ground into the back of the satin finish blade.
Gut hooks are not essential. Most hunters have learned to do without them. The purpose of the hook is to cut down on butchering mistakes, which are more common than anyone wants to admit. The hook is inserted into the belly after a small entry incision is made, and is used to slit open the abdomen of the animal without cutting into any of the internal organs.
I do recall some advice from hunting guidebooks when I was a kid, stressing the importance of caution and even advising that game contaminated by a cut colon or gall bladder should be discarded. Yeah, that’s probably true enough. As a kid I never did that, and I don’t recall my father reacting to a mishap with anything more than, “Oops!” Now, I’d suggest being more careful.
Whether you need a gut hook depends first of all on whether you hunt. If you don’t, then you don’t need this at all and it just weakens the structure of the blade. If you are skilled in butchering your own game, you probably learned that craft without a gut hook knife. You don’t need training wheels if you know how to ride.
If you are new to hunting and want to cut down on mistakes, a gut hook is a fine idea. It will at the most eliminate one of the many possible errors you can and undoubtedly will make. One less is enough to make good sense.
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