Best deer field dressing knife?


August 1, 2007, 02:17 PM
Just got my first deer license in 20 years and I'm slowling putting together my hunting gear and it occurs to me that the only hunting knife I own anymore is a 25+ year old Gerber drop point folder. Can anyone recommend a good knife for field dressing a whitetail? I'd prefer a folder but that's not mandatory. I'm also open to any good advice wrt to small bone saws for cutting the pelvis and breastbone.

Thanks in advance,

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Charles S
August 1, 2007, 02:30 PM
Well, since you did not place a price limit on you knife I can recommend the best deer field dressing and for that matter general purpose hunting and camp knife.

Without a doubt my finest hunting knife, and one of the finest knives made at any price is the custom Bob Dozier K7 slim outdoorsman. Other knives will cost less but none are as good. The sheath for this knife is second to none also.

I would avoid a folder if you are planning on cutting the pelvis and breastbone. They can do it, but in my hunting experience that is where even the best folders can fail and cut you.

If you don't want to spend that kind of money the Cold Steel Pendelton Hunter in VG1 steel is an incredible knife for the money.

August 1, 2007, 03:00 PM
I highly recommend the Whitetail Skinner (I think it's made by Outdoor Edge). It's a funky looking t-handled, round blade with a gut hook knife, but it's very very good. I've used it for field dressing countless deer, 4 bears, and a couple of coyotes. You poke a little hole, and use the gut-hook to un-zip the critter. Very ergonomical, fast, and easy to use even with numb or cold hands.

My other must-have is a long bladed Buck for quartering the deer and butchering at home.

My drawer is full of knives, but these are the two that go everywhere with me when I'm big game hunting.

August 1, 2007, 03:12 PM
I've had great feedback from my own Small Skinner. :) People complain about the weight of fixed blades but customs are a whole new world. This one is light and big enough for any skinning job, really.

ATS-34, 2 1/4" Blade, 7 1/4" Overall

August 1, 2007, 03:23 PM
My favorite knife for all the stages of deer processing only has a blade 2" long. It rides the index finger very well. I would rather my finger tip meets the guts a bit before the knife tip does. Nothing worse than poop, corn, and pee in a deer cavity. I learned this after trying to use a 4" bladed knife on my first deer.

August 1, 2007, 03:36 PM
Sog Field Pup. Around $50, Aus 8.

August 1, 2007, 03:36 PM
Sog Field Pup. Around $50, Aus 8.

August 1, 2007, 03:38 PM
Splitting the pelvis is optional, not necessary, and you can split the ribs/sternum up far enough with a sharp knife. You don't need a bone saw in the field, or a gut hook either.
A good fixed blade is my preference over any folder. Bob Dozier's knives are great but >$200.
The #510 listed here \/ is much better than the price would suggest.
I carry a Roselli Carpenter's knife or one of several custom drop points in the 3-4" range.
Bark River, Northwoods, etc, lots of choices out there.

August 1, 2007, 03:45 PM
Thanks guys! It's looking like fixed is my best bet. I love the looks of that Dozier but I don't know if I can spend quite that much. :) (that's more than the barrel on my shotgun! :) ) Although it would probably last me forever. I'm reading and re-reading.

Keep'em coming.

August 1, 2007, 03:47 PM
Valkman, that looks like a great caping knife and I'm sure I could disassemble a deer- start to finish with it. I have a custom 2 knife "Camp set" by the late Mel Sorg Jr and the smaller knife is very similar in profile to yours. The other is a 4.5" semi-skinner with a deep blade. great combo and I've done everything from field-dressing, caping, quartering, butchering, etc with them on elk, deer, and antelope.
When it comes to deer and knives- bigger is only better if we are talking about the deer.

Charles S
August 1, 2007, 03:54 PM
Valkman, that looks like a great caping knife and I'm sure I could disassemble a deer- start to finish with it.

Agreed Valkman that is an incredible looking knife and looks perfect to me.


Look at a good custom knife as an investment. Mine is 15+ years old and only cost a little more than $100 when my wife bought it for me. I could easily sell it for $150 today, not many times in your life do you get to purchase a knife use it of 1.5 decades and then have it appreciate to the point you could sell it for almost 50% more than your purchase price. Again an incredible knife.

Kingcreek is right the Mora knife is an incredible value and a great outdoors knife.

August 1, 2007, 05:09 PM
Sounds to me like your 25 year old Gerber is still serviceable.

August 1, 2007, 05:26 PM
I like a 4 inch or smaller blade, folder or fixed doesn't matter to me. Folder's easier to carry. I agree your old Gerber will do well.

Steel Talon
August 1, 2007, 05:59 PM
Use your Gerber, and find a folding saw to carry in your pack. I have a old Gerber folding saw that I bought almost 20 years ago.It continues to serve me well.

Dosnt take much of a saw to do the job. However I would want a dedicated folder saw over a multi tool type saw .Although they will work just as well with a bit more effort..


August 1, 2007, 10:40 PM
Bark River lite hunter or scout will work.

August 2, 2007, 12:03 AM
last time i got a deer i used a Buck Vanguard, wood handle to clean my deer. this time around i'll be carrying a Gerber E-Z Skinner. im a Gerber fanatic and i like the comfortable feel of it.

Cant wait to try it out. -Eric

August 2, 2007, 05:28 AM
That Gerber has skinned alot of squirrels and rabbits and a few pheasants as well but I've never tried it on a deer. I might have to see if I can give it a little TLC to bring the edge back up on it.

Thanks again guys.


August 2, 2007, 07:04 AM
You'll find that your Gerber will do the job for you since you're familiar with it enough to skin out squirrels. Invest the time in sharpening and you should do fine.

If you decide that you want a new knife you can't go wrong with a small custom or the Doziers or Bark Rivers. I do have to tell everyone that the owner of Outdoor Edge is possibly the only knife company owner that is a real avid hunter and tests what they make personally. You'll see that there's not a lot of different models in their line and that's because of his "gotta work" philosophy about their knives. Another good choice is the Knives of Alaska line.

Some folks like a small ax or big knife for splitting.

Loyalist Dave
August 2, 2007, 08:27 AM
3" carbon steel knife from Mora of Sweden that runs about $10. Small blades are the best for dressing and skinning in my opinion, and from what has been posted, it appears that's the consensus. Mora's are sharp, easy to keep sharp, and don't cost an arm or leg to replace should you drop it in the woods.

basic knife:

Link to site:


August 2, 2007, 01:28 PM
I found this Ka Bar on sale for $20 something. They call it the Precision Hunter Classic
Sharp as all get out, and has a great feel. Havent gotten to try it out yet :(

August 2, 2007, 02:05 PM
i like my Buck Zipper

August 2, 2007, 02:43 PM
The Gerber will do just fine if it's sharp. I carried a Gerber for a number of years. I have a couple Dozier blades and they are great knives. Have one on my wish list at the moment.

If you want a new knife, you might consider the Moran model made by Spyderco. You'll get to experience a Spydie (as the brand is popular) and get a great moderate sized knife for deer hunting.

I have a SOG Field Pup also. Not a bad blade for the money. There are so many choices available.

I have field dressed a number of deer with my Remington bullet knife, Case XX folders, and Schrade Old Timers. Good knives. I carry both a 4-5" fixed blade and a folder hunting.

August 2, 2007, 05:31 PM
I've really liked the CRKT Kommer Chugach and the Bark River Hunters (can't remember which one I've got). The Bark Rivers are a tad better for my hand. Good steel, good balance. Not quite up there with Dozier, but half the price.

August 2, 2007, 09:26 PM
I'd have to second the Mora. I am going to miss my knives when I ship off to basic! Bleck! I hate that feeling of leaving off into the unknown and not having my precious pocket knife backing me up. I like my Sog though. The handle feels great and is more slip resistant than the mora. It's incredibly sharp and well made. There are so many choices that it all boils down to what you like. Me, I like exotic steels as well as not so exotic. As long as it gets wicked sharp and stays that way, its o.k. by me. You could skin a deer with your Opinel if you wanted to, it's just all about you, man.

I'd use my cold steel ODA just for laughs.

August 2, 2007, 09:47 PM
Long enough blade to reach in and around the rear, strong enough to split the ribcage is what I would say. There's a buncha knifes on the market that will do that. Personally I use a pre 1980 Buck 110 that has gutted well in excess of 50 big game animals. I have split the brisket on a young elk with it but it's a chore and too much on a large one. Blade is still nice and tight with no side ways wiggle. It will do the brisket on any deer I have killed. Just be careful and not get yourself in the process.

August 3, 2007, 08:25 AM
I prefer a fixed blade for that and thus would recommend either a Fallkniven H1 or F1. But if you want a folder, that old Gerber should be just the ticket!

August 3, 2007, 12:56 PM
ive got a good folder that has a pretty good little lock to keep it from folding upon you when you dont want it to. it was a bloody expencive knife though, and i havent found any cheaper ones with the same lock. (cost me close to $100 canadian 3 years ago)

August 4, 2007, 08:17 AM
Disposable scapels at a buck a piece work good. Cheap and it also allows you to sharpel your skills for minor surgery.

August 4, 2007, 08:49 AM
My experience is with whitetails. Any knife will do. I prefer a maximum 3.5 to 4" blade length with a clip point, but I have big hands and I don't have any problem getting my index finger up behind the tip of the blade to open up the abdomen. A Swiss Army Knife or a kitchen paring knife will work. The key is to have a sharp knife. A higher-quality knife will hold an edge longer, and may be an advantage from that standpoint. Get what you like, or use the Gerber.

Remember, our predecessors were using flint tools for this task for thousands of years! Come to think of it, I may knap up a nice blade and try that this fall.

I am so ready for deer season....


August 4, 2007, 09:38 AM
I'd just sharpen and use the Gerber. After a couple of field dressings, you'll either be pleased with it or develop a criteria for what features your next knife should have.
Good luck

August 4, 2007, 11:33 AM
I've found one of these to work the best for field dressing.
basically a fancy razor blade.

August 5, 2007, 07:06 AM
Thanks for all the advice guys. I've sharpened the Gerber to the best of my limited ability and it's my "fallback plan". I've got a bid in on a Cold Steel "Pendelton" on Ebay. I'll hope to get lucky this year with a deer then I could probably justify the Dozier based on the money I saved on the meat in the freezer! :)

Have a good one,

August 5, 2007, 01:25 PM
If you continue to like knives and have a moderately good job, you will buy many knives. Deer season comes and I'm scratching my head... which one this year? Used to be easy, a Case folder when I was a kid. A Swiss Army knife works too.

Good luck hunting.

August 6, 2007, 09:50 PM
I'll second moojpg2 on the Wyoming knife. Used to use one when I hunted deer.

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