Ten-year-old Jordan Toerck had been pestering her knifemaker father, Bobby Toerck, to make her a knife for a while. But she was still young, so Bobby held her off. He promised to make her a knife when she got her first deer.
In January, she did just that. True to his word, Dad made a knife for his deer-hunter daughter.
It was bitterly cold that January day: 14 degrees, which is “almost unheard of in East Texas,” Bobby said. Jordan had been accompanying her father on hunting trips off and on for about four years, since she was 5 or 6. This was her second year of active hunting. It was youth season, which follows the general season. This particular morning father and daughter were set up in a tent blind on the ground half an hour before dawn. By 7:30 Jordan said her feet were cold. Her father admitted his feet were cold, too, but if they sat still and were quiet, they’d see something.
They saw a feral hog run through but that was about it. By 9:30, Bobby decided that they could go in. They went back out at 3 p.m. and conditions were more favorable. The temperature had risen into the upper 30s and they were protected by a wind block.
“Around 5:30 Jordan got antsy, as kids do,” Bobby said. He told her to sit still and be quiet and they’d see something.
Sure enough, two does came into view, and then a third and larger one. Jordan sighted through her Leupold 4.5-14x50mm Long Range scope and put the crosshairs where her father told her to aim. Her Remington 700 BDL Custom Deluxe bolt-action rifle was propped on shooting sticks, which her father had fashioned with ¾-inch dowels and paracord.
“The next thing I know, I hear a bang,” Bobby said. The deer ran off into the brush. Jordan knew she had hit it and so did her father. They waited about 10 minutes for things to calm down and then walked to where the deer had been standing.
“We found blood and I immediately started teaching Jordan about tracking,” Bobby said. They didn’t go more than 40 yards before they found Jordan’s deer. It was dead and had been hit exactly where she told her dad the crosshairs had been when she pulled the trigger.
It was a 110-yard shot, according to Bobby’s estimations. “I should also mention that there is a Briley muzzle brake” on that rifle, he added. It brings the recoil of a 25-06 caliber rifle to the approximate equivalent of a .22 magnum, “taking 90 percent of the recoil out of it.” The setup certainly set Jordan up for success. When they found the deer, “she was jumping up and down, screaming and hollering, then she took out her phone and starts texting her momma.”
They filled out the tag and attached it to the deer’s ear. Bobby got his pickup truck as close as possible and they transported the deer home where they hung it in a tree.
“She was hands-on, blood up to her elbows,” Bobby said. Even his 5-year-old daughter, Morgan, wanted in on the action. “I’m not raising girls here; I’m raising boys,” Bobby said, with a chuckle. At one point he told his wife, Amy, that he didn’t want their girls to “have to depend on some man to clean their animal.”
They gutted, skinned and quartered the deer, packing the sections in ice and switching the ice out for three or four days to get the blood out. Then they processed the meat, grinding some, making steaks, ribs for barbecue, even saving the neck bones for soup, noted Amy.
Fulfilling a Promise
Bobby knew he’d be making a knife for Jordan so when he attended the Long Star Knife Expo in early April he was on the lookout for the exact right handle material. He found it in a triple-dyed box elder offering by Terry Dunn. “The colors in it looked like mixed up Play-Doh, or bubblegum,” Bobby said. It was perfect for Jordan, and the size fit her petite hands.
The full-tang knife is 6 ¾ inches overall with a 3-inch flat-ground drop-point blade made out of 80CrV2 steel. “To me the drop point is the best overall shape for a skinning-gutting knife because you are much less apt to puncture an intestine or stomach with a less pointy front end. And the drop-point will lift the skin slightly before cutting when making the initial cuts up the legs of an animal,” Bobby explained.
What did she think when he gave it to her? “She loved it,” Bobby said. “And, of course, she said ‘It will cut,’ because she’s a huge fan of Doug Marcaida in ‘Forged In Fire.’ She loves to watch that show with me,” Bobby said.
Contact Bobby Toerck at T4 Custom Knives on Facebook or at 903-812-1173. Maker’s list price on a knife like the one he made his daughter would be $175 with a Kydex sheath, $275 with a leather sheath.
Erin Healy is Managing Editor of Blade Magazine, which has great information about knives, knife-making and more. Learn more here at BladeMag.com.