This is a great, well-designed knife that will work really well for a big game hunter.
It is also good looking.
by Leon Pantenburg
Editor’s note: I will sometimes do a followup review when a piece of gear performs really, really well. That was the case with the Lon Humphrey Minuteman.
My brother, and long-time hunting partner Michael Pantenburg was loaned a Lon Humphrey Minuteman 3V with no instructions except to wring it out.
Mike got his chance recently on a Mississippi Deer hunt. My first cousin, Marion Fitzgerald, shot a four-point buck that stepped out into the road. Naturally, the buck’s death run ended up in the thickest brushy gully in the area.
Marion headed back to get me and the sled while Mike started field dressing the buck. By the time we got back to the carcass, Mike was just finishing the gutting job.
“This is a great knife and it worked really well,” he commented. “And it is sharp!”
And the Minuteman stayed sharp. After gutting the buck and splitting the ribcage, and while covered with blood, fat and hair the blade could still shave hair. It could have easily handled another deer without sharpening.
From the gully, the carcass and knives were taken to the skinning shed, where the Minuteman continued to be used for skinning.
Minuteman specifications (Courtesy of Knivesshipfree.com)
I frequently loan out knives to experienced outdoorspeople for testing. Mike and I have been hunting together for decades, ever since he passed his Hunter Safety class when he was about 12. Since then we’ve hunted deer and elk extensively in Idaho. Mike has been very successful in harvesting big game animals, and I value his opinions on hunting knives.
He also loves Lon Humphrey knives. I gave Mike a Sterling for his 50th birthday, and that knife has gotten a lot of use.
Marion and I started hunting small game together back in Iowa about 50 years ago. He joined Mike and me on several Idaho backpack elk hunts, and Marion is a competent, ethical hunter. Both of them can offer experienced input on hunting cutlery.
They both loved the Minuteman. Here is some of their feedback.
The good stuff
Point: The Minuteman has a clip point and swedge, which all of us appreciate. This makes the Minuteman an excellent knife for piercing and starting the under-the-tail knife work of field dressing. The relatively narrow blade profile makes penetration easy.
Steel: CPM 3V is one of my favorites. Before I discovered A2 and CPM 3V steel, I used to carry sharpening gear in my day pack. No more. I don’t need to sharpen knives in the woods with these superior steels.
Grind: The Minuteman is flat ground with a micro bevel. My favorite grind is convex, but this flat grind works really well. After stropping, the blade will eventually evolve into convex grind, and that will make it even better.
Blade thickness: All of us prefer thin blades when it comes to field dressing big game. At .150-inch thick, the Minuteman’s thickness is a good compromise.
The best chance to have a survival situation develop is when a hunter is in the backcountry. In such a case, a thicker knife may be a good idea. Still, after some 50+ years of outdoor rambling, I have yet to break my first blade.
Blade length: All of us prefer a four-to-five-inch blade for a hunting knife. The length of the blade can determine how well it will work under field conditions, and the Minuteman worked superbly.
Handle: Mike, Marion and I all have large hands, probably a result of the Wirth family genetics, growing up on farms and doing hardcore manual labor. The Minuteman’s handle is long enough at 4.75 inches, but we wish it had a larger diameter. I get it that knife makers have to build for the average user, so this is not a criticism. (Check it out: How to figure out knife handle design.)
Do you need a Minuteman?
Field dress and skin one whitetail and you’ll appreciate the difference between a good-enough knife and an excellent one.
Mike and Marion gave the Minuteman the highest ratings.
“I’d give this knife six out of five stars,” Mike commented.
Well, good friends should have good knives (in case I have to borrow one), and you never know when I might have to fly into Idaho for a hunt.
So Mike got the Minuteman in the mail.
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