Most hunters, joggers, fisherman, mountain climbers, think of the basic reasons for having a utility knife in the wild. When it comes to thinking about needing a utility knife for safety, survival and emergencies, they sort of go into a state of denial. "That will never happen to me", "that does not happen in this day and age," or "that only happens in the movies and on television." The fact is, every year we hear about some hunter, jogger, or mountain climber on the news who gets into a situation where their outdoor activity puts them into a situation of survival. Their utility knife becomes a tool to make repairs to their gear or as a means of defense.
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Remember the climber out west a couple of years ago who got his arm wedged between some rocks and eventually had to amputate his own arm to free himself. One can only wonder what went through his mind when he realized that he was not going to be able to free himself from the rocks and that he would have to cut off his own arm in order to survive. "I can't believe this," and "how could this happen to me?"
I wonder how many people have died because they found themselves in a state of denial or because they have become complacent. To illustrate how quickly a person can get themselves into a situation of survival, I will give you a couple examples that have happened to me. The most important one happened to me in my own home while watching the nightly news. My left arm started to ache and my left hand began to feel like a pin cushion. My jaw started to hurt like someone hit me, and then my face began to feel kind of flushed. I started to recognize the symptoms as a heart attack. I started to think: "No, this isn't happening to me." Then I remembered that denial is one of the symptoms of a heart attack. I took some aspirin tablets and told my wife that I thought I might be having a heart attack. We dropped everything and headed for the emergency room. I was 95% blocked down the middle artery to my heart, and needed to have several stints put in. The cardiologist told me that I probably would not have survived if I had ignored the symptoms. The cardiologist went on to tell me that I stopped a heart attack from happening and that I had no heart damage. I realized that denial was not the right way to handle the situation.
In another situation, a friend and I were in Montana hunting and we hired a young man as a guide. He insisted on driving his vehicle. We got out into Custer National Forest, about a mile off the main trail, which was nothing more than a trail, and the young man's truck would not start. I used my utility knife to clean the battery posts and there was just enough spark to start the truck. In this situation, without that utility knife, we would have been stranded in the forest and would have had to walk back to the main road, about 20 miles, or spend the night in the forest.
I remember one of the Boy Scout Mottoes: "Be prepared." When I go into the wild, I usually carry a small pocket knife and I carry another larger folding knife in a pocket. I carry a hunting knife in a sheath on my belt or in my back pack. I always carry a high quality, high carbon steel blade knife on my person, because emergencies can happen to anyone at anytime.
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