scouts-l Mail Archive for July of 2000: Re: Sheath Knives
Dan Hammond, Sr. (danhammondsr@YAHOO.COM
Mon Jul 10 2000 - 14:49:49 CDT
> > As I've pointed out, it's possible to take part in the activities
you mentioned without the use of a sheath knife - with the exception
> > So, while a sheath knife is very useful while hunting, it really
has no use in the campsite.
For what it's worth, I carried a sheath knife for years as a Boy
Scout. I never had a problem with it and I found it to be
indispensable around camp.
Now that I'm older and perhaps a bit wiser, I have opted for a small
three bladed pocket knife, much like the BSA whittler's knife. It's
an Old Timer Cattleman. It's a great little knife that carries very
nicely in my pocket.
I even use it for hunting. I have found that a sheath knife is great
for kitchen-type work, but when dressing game, it's just too big.
The small blade on my Old Timer (which is shaped much like a scalpel)
works much better and is far easier to control. So when I go
hunting, I usually leave my sheath knife at home. I save it for
skinning and butchering.
The sheath knife is handy to have on my belt during those times when
I'm working on a project that is likely to require retireving and
using my knife with just one hand, but beyond that I have little use
In my 1970s version Boy Scout Handbook, there is a section on knives
that includes sheath knives. They were widely used then, and it was
included to discus proper use and care. One of the main concerns is
wearing one properly. When they were widely carried, it was not
unusual to see Scouts and even leaders carrying them on the front of
their belts. While this would seem to make their use convenient,
it's quite dangerous.
A slip or a need to lunge forward with the leg over which the knife
is worn, can cause the knife to be caught between the leg and the
waist. This can potentially cause the knife to penetrate the sheath
and then the leg. And the portion of the leg most likely to be
penetrated holds the femoral artery. Sever that artery on a campout
and it's likely you won't survive.
I go to extra lengths to explain this when teaching the wood tools
section of Outdoor Webelos Leader Ttraining. Most Webelos Leaders
are new to camping and knives and all that, and unless someone
explains the right way to use and carry a sheath knife, they're
likely to do it incorrectly.
So while there is no prohibition in G2SS regarding sheath knives, we
need to take extra care in the instruction of boys and leaders alike,
and explain the pros and cons of the various types of knives and how
to use them correctly. Simply banning them for Scouting may keep
them from injuries at Scouting events, but it won't keep anyone from
owning and using them at non-Scouting activities. And Scouting is
preparation for life, right?
And at the risk of reopening a dreaded thread about knives as weapons
at school (and ZT), we need to be sure our young charges and leaders
know not to take them to school, lest they suffer the consequences of
whatever policy is in place there.
Daniel D. Hammond, Sr.
CM Pack 225, District Committee, Army Major, NRA Member
I Used to be an Owl...
We should prepare boys for their future, not our past
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