Commando Stag Knives
The Commando Stag Story
Between the Puma German made knives, and the Puma SGB license with the parent company in Solingen Germany, I have been selling Puma Stag Handled Knives going on two decades. I have always preferred stag handled knives for several reasons, the uniqueness, the feel and grip, and the fact that the antlers used on my stag knives were once on the head of an actual animal at one time.
Recently the demand of stag antlers has increased substantially, causing an increase in cost and ultimately the retail price of stag handled knives worldwide. The reason was somewhat disappointing to me when I realized that the dog chew business is one of the main reasons we are seeing stag prices soar.
Hopefully, we will see prices stabilize in the near future. I am hoping that the increasing price does not cause a black market for antlers as we have seen for tusks and horns of elephants and rhino's. I'm not talking about legal harvest of these animals, but the poaching for the significant money these tusks and horns command on the Black Market. Is it possible we could see the same thing happen with elk and deer antlers?
About two years ago, when I first started to see the rise in stag prices, I began the process of looking for alternatives. I looked for materials that were manmade and researched materials that have been used previously as knife handles, materials that were less apt to shrink or swell, were durable and could hold up to the rigors of oft used knives. Because of previous use as a knife handle or scale material, I was attracted to a Polyoxymethylene (POM) material that is commonly known to most as Delrin. This POM material has been around for over 50 years, so it was familiar to the factories I use to produce the Puma SGB knives. In fact, knife manufacturers have been making a knife scales out of Delrin, or some derivative of POM for years. This material seemed to be a good alternative to stag, resistant to shrinking or swelling at both low and high temperatures and humidity, durable for long life without cracking or chipping and could be ground to all scale designs and angles. Also, POM has a reasonable tensile strength, and could be produced with consistent texture and stained or painted to any color desired. The problem I had with the existing "POM Stag" being produced or available on the market was that it really didn't look like any stag I had seen before and I have seen a lot of stag knives over the years.
I wanted to design the best POM stag handled knife, one that had the right texture, a texture or look and feel that was not too aggressive, but still had enough to give me a good grip while reaching up inside an elk or deer to cut the wind pipe. The color was important, because it needed to look real, not painted bone or plastic, but when someone looked at the knife in your hand or on your hip, it looked like the real deal. So where should I start?
And so, begins the second part of the story.
One of my best hunting buddies since the mid-seventies, we will call him Tom, had acquired single elk antler that we had both admired for years. The story behind the antler is a good one, and now the story is continued. It starts during the 3rd season rifle elk hunt in 1991 in the back country of central Colorado, specifically a place called Commando bowl, Tom had glassed a huge bull bedded in a nasty tangle of blowdowns across the ridge from his perch. He decided to make a stalk, got the wind in his favor and began the 2-hour trek to get in position. He had the bull in his sites but something didn't seem right, he moved closer, again, and again, and then it became apparent that the bull was expired. He approached the magnificent animal in awe, there was no apparent cause of death that he could see, maybe the rigors of rut had claimed this grand old bull of the Commando Bowl. It’s hard to say.
Tom really wanted the rack but was not willing to tag it, he still had a few days left on his hunt, so he marked the spot on his topo, and decided he would come back in the spring time and nab the biggest set of antlers he had ever seen. So, in April off he went into the back country of central Colorado, snow shoes on, and cross country skis on his back. He found the spot, but the bull and antlers were still 6 feet under snow!! Determined to secure this rack, he went back in May, this time the snow had melted so that he could see one of the antlers, and he was broken hearted to see that a varmint had chewed most of the exposed antler. But the other side was still under the snow and untouched. So, he dug it out, strapped it on his back and skied out.
This antler became a discussion point with us for 25 years, it was always displayed in his man cave, and whether we were collecting gear for a drop camp in the Rawah's, or fishing trip in Wyoming, or just a visit to his house to discuss next year's adventures, and as always, telling lies about previous trips, the Commando Bull was always topic of discussion.
Sooooo, a year and a half ago, while looking at the "Commando Bull" antler, I picked it up and a light came on, I was holding a perfect prototype with multiple textures for the knife handles I sought to produce an alternative to real stag. I asked Tom if I could have it. “For what?”, he asked and I explained my desire to develop and new POM knife handle, and that I thought the texture and size of the antler would be perfect for me to start my quest. He first looked at me like I had lost my mind, but he understood why, and he agreed it would make an exceptional knife handle if I could pull it off. Of course, there was some negotiation for finished product if this crazy idea worked!
So I brought the Commando Bull antler home, looked at all the different textures this beautiful antler offered, removed a section, made arrangements to have a mould produced. After multiple attempts, the mould has been cast with the HC (High Country) mark, the color has been specified, and we are producing the "Commando Stag" knife handle material exclusively on Puma SGB and High Country Knives at this time. These knives look and feel just like naturally dropped stag antlers; we are offering several models including the heirloom designs of the Skinner and Bowie, as well as the Elk Hunter, Coyote and Blacktail knives. The Puma SGB knifes feature 1.4116 German Cutlery steel and have a Rockwell hardness of 55-57, each knife comes with a heavy suede leather sheath. These knives will be available in July 2017.
Please note that you will see the mark HC imprinted in the "Commando Stag" POM/Delrin material. This is to guarantee you are getting the best material available on the market; the HC designates a copyright for High Country trademark and is owned by Bob Carpenter and Drop Point Enterprises, Inc.
Thank for your interest. Be safe.
Best Regards, Bob