Heavy Hunter Large Game Blade


March 8, 2013, 08:10 PM
This is something I did as a bit of an experiment in form. I wanted something with a deep belly, and this sort of evolved from a bushcraft blade into more of a field dressing and butchering knife.


It is 3/16" 52100, heat treated by Lee Oates. Black Gun Kote to keep off the rust, and natural canvas micarta handles with black canvas micarta pins.

The blade is exactly 6" long and 1-7/8" at the deepest spot of the belly.

As the design developed I decided to go with a full-flat grind which lightens this up quite a bit and makes it quite slicey, rather than choppy. But the very good steel should give it a lot of toughness when pushed, I think, especially when working on a deer or elk, rather than cutting brush.

I'm curious to hear from guys who do a lot of big-game hunting if this would be a useful item to have when gutting and quartering a larger animal, for example.

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March 8, 2013, 10:12 PM
That shape speaks to me!

March 8, 2013, 10:55 PM
I like the shape, and the colors. I gave my opinion on the thick spine but FFG already.

Sam Cade
March 8, 2013, 10:59 PM
Looks a bit like a "Hudson Bay" knife.

March 8, 2013, 11:12 PM
Sam I love your knives, but I'm trying to think how it would be used. Sure is not a skinner,I use a saw(or a hatchet if forced) for quartering ect. A true chopper is quite heavy and when the blade hits the wood that the meat is on it should be parallel like a cleaver.I think you are right about butchering something real large, which I have paid to have done mostly.What exactly did you have in mind for it's use.

March 8, 2013, 11:45 PM
Mr Sam;

I've harvested about 10 elk in Colorado since I moved here and started hunting big game in '78. I haven't used anything bigger than a 4" knife to slaughter and quarter any of them. A folder is adequate for the job but messy to clean up after so I do most work with a sheath knife. A knife of the size you show here is pretty nice for butchering, or preparing for the table or freezer though many use one like it for gutting/quartering without complaint so that use gets no criticism from me.
I'm getting old so I take more time in the field to cut up my game than some but I get most of the meat home even if I'm back in so far that I have to bone most of it out before I pack it on my back.
I remove any bones from my game when I package it for the freezer anyway and use an 8" slicer for that work.

March 9, 2013, 05:56 PM
Good looking Blade for clean deer and such.

March 10, 2013, 11:17 AM
Nice looking knife but in my experience, too big for meat chores. The old old link below shows a pic of a set that Mel Sorg jr and I worked on many years ago. We called it a camp set. 2 blades to handle all needs for caping, quartering, and butchering medium and large game. The 4.5" semi skinner is as big as I want to handle when cutting meat. Anything bigger calls for a saw or hatchet.
Just my preference, not to demean your blade or design.
Edited to add
I own the camp set and it has been in the mountains, plains, prairies, and woodland river bottoms. These 2 knives have cut several elk, a dozen or more antelope, and over 40 deer. our goal was to design a set of two blades that could do every meat cutting chore in a remote hunting camp. The size and style was based on real experience. I carry a grandfors hatchet or a saw for wood or heavier cutting. A larger or heavier knife is fatiguing to use for hours of caping or butchering IMHO.

March 10, 2013, 11:56 AM
Ideal size shape skinning/gutting knife for up thru Elk : (and I presume moose cuz I have not shot one) was developed for African plains game .
3/16" x 4.5 flat grind

AlthoughI use a hatchet or saw for quartering , your Camp Defender would work well I think. I cut up a steer half with it .

March 10, 2013, 01:11 PM
Guys, I really appreciate your advice! I've used this one in the kitchen a bit but that's easy duty. I am quite used to the "small is beautiful" idea in knives, but what is a 6" blade good for?

March 10, 2013, 07:51 PM
"Camp " Knife ! Do anything but not optimum !"Survival" blade also in that range would be usefull to many.
I got this gorgeous 6 1/2 " recurve Knife on the left from Stephan Fowler. I won't give it up but it was not optimum for anything I tried to use it for, go figure. Knives under about 8" are not real choppers IMHO unless very cleaver like and not so much even then for heavy duty Bar B Que prepping.9-10" knives can be wonderful choppers, wonder why competition choppers have that size and are usually very cleaver like!

March 18, 2013, 10:36 PM

Oddly enough...it has neutral balance. Very much what most US knife guys think a fighter should feel like. I would have saber-ground it, though.


CA Raider
March 19, 2013, 12:56 AM
very nice game knife. :-)


March 19, 2013, 07:23 AM

I think you could slightly decrease the blade width near the handle, giving the knife more belly without additional true width (of course, then it's starting to become a miniature Camp Defender). Then change the grind to a sturdier grind that will be better able to chop. This should keep the weight the same, or shift the balance forward slightly. Either is fine.

Then I can see a use for this knife. :) As it is now, it is a perfectly balanced but heavy slicer. It feels GREAT in the hand, but if it's only a slicer, it could weigh 30% or more less. There's no need for its current weight unless you want it to stand up to hard use...in which case, it needs a sturdier grind.

The other option would be using thinner stock. That would lighten the knife, in which case this grind could make perfect sense.



March 19, 2013, 08:43 AM
I see what you're suggesting. If that blade was out of thinner stock, it would be the most wicked slicer ever. (It's pretty good at that now!)

More of a saber grind would give it the intense toughness for choppy, bush-craft sort of tasks.

Makes sense to me!

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