A&R KORSAR TACTICAL KNIFE

When I hear the term tactical knife I have come to expect to see a very large black knife with a blade designed for limited special use. This was what I was expecting when I had the opportunity to field test a Russian made A&R tactical knife, model Korsar. When the knife arrived I was very pleasantly surprised. The knife is very attractive as it has a highly polished blade, stainless heavy duty guard, stainless pommel and a handle made from Birch bark. 

A&R has been in the cutlery business for some 150 years and they are noted for making a wide variety of knives from a Russian high alloy stainless steel, called 95X18, which is considered by many blade smiths to be one of the best materials in making forged blades. This is the steel that is the heart of the fixed blade Korsar knife.

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THE 7-30 WATERS CUMBERLAND DEERSLAYER

It was the hike from hell! To get into the mountainous fold of land so that the wind would be in my favor required me to go straight up a bluff that was thick with cedar and limestone boulders. Then I had to slide down a steep hillside that was covered with cedars, briers and rocks. I was soon in the rocky crevice I had selected as a stand. It looked into a large white oak covered basin where three hollows came together. Once settled in the rock stand, I glanced down at the little G2 Contender rifle I had assembled just for hunting in the Cumberland Mountains.

Within an hour a large nine point buck came to the low grunts I made and the 7-30 Waters handload I had developed for this semi-custom rifle took the buck cleanly at just under 200 yards. Following that first hunt I named the rifle the Cumberland Deerslayer.  Since then the little rifle has taken many deer in the rough Cumberland Mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.

To say the Cumberland Deerslayer is a custom rifle is not correct, for it isn’t. It is a rifle I assembled to hunt a specific region using after market parts and a few friends to help me assemble a short rifle that is perfect for the area I love to hunt. Any hunter can do the same.

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THE TRAPPER TURNED WISE MAN

Christmas in the mountains of north Alabama was a special time for me and my buddies, Punky Kelly and Chipmunk Green. School was out, there was plenty of time to put out rabbit box traps, and there was the Christmas pageant at our little rural church, which meant food and presents.

 Setting rabbit box traps was a high priority for us as we thought of ourselves as being mountain men. The excitement was that we never knew what our trap line would produce, one year it was mostly opossums the next a rabbit or two.

This particular Christmas season we each had built one new rabbit box trap. Our trap line started on the creek behind my house where we set one box on an animal trail next to the creek. Then we crossed the pasture to a fencerow near Punkys house where a second box was carefully set. The third box was set a short distance away, next to a brush pile behind Chipmunk’s dad’s barn.

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THAT MAGIC VEST

Editor’s note: At the 2016 SEOPA (Southeastern Outdoor Press Association) Annual Conference in Lakeland, Florida, this story, entitled THE VEST by J. Wayne Fears, was awarded first place in the SEOPA Excellent in Craft – Magazine Short Story category. The story was originally published in GunHunter magazine

Many times on bitter-cold morning rabbit hunts, my dad would reach into the vest and pull out biscuits with chunks of country ham in them. I never saw him put them in the vest.

It hung on a nail on the back porch always ready. As far back as I can remember it was old looking, a little thread bare in places, faded from years of being used in all kinds of weather. I’m sure it started out a brown color, but since my dad used the old Montgomery Ward hunting vest for all his hunts it now looks more a dirty tan than brown.

The old vest had a smell about it that, to me, had a smell of adventure. It was a blend of odors – a mixture of sweat, dried possum blood, squirrel hair, sassafras root, fresh cedar, shot shell powder  and Red Cap pipe tobacco as my dad smoked a crooked stem pipe loaded with the Brazilian tobacco most of every day. Many said that smoking that strong tobacco would kill him and I guess it did as he died one winter morning when he was 97, after knocking the ashes out of his pipe.

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