1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Knife for field dressing

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by JimStC, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. JimStC

    JimStC Well-Known Member

    I have shot all my life, but have hunted very little. My neighbor who bow hunts my place brought over some venison and I am hooked. Bought a tree stand. Dialed in the 12 ga and am waiting for gun season. Got a nice cammo jacket. We wear them here all year!:D It was a good excuse! Gun season here in IN is 11/17 - 12/2.
    For field dressing before I get the deer (if I am fortunate to get one) what knife is recommended? Good chance of getting one. My neighbor calls my place a hunting "honey pot". Lots of dove and deer.

    Harv King, I'd appreciate your thoughts as your small game knife is one of my favorites. I will also appreciate the benefit of the knowledge of THR.

    Thanks guys,
  2. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Well-Known Member

    My personal preference is a smallish clip point. A 4" blade is easier to control with precision than a larger heavier blade. Also, if I need a gut hook, I'd rather have it as a stand-alone tool.
  3. BCCL

    BCCL Well-Known Member

    IME, less is more. A lot of folks bring WAY to much blade to field dress a deer.

    2 of my favorite knives I've used are an ESEE "Izula" and an Outdoor Edge "Grip-Blaze" folder.

    Good luck on your hunt!
  4. joecil

    joecil Well-Known Member

    I have 2 knives and a saw I use. The knives are Schrade Oldtimer line in the Sharpfinger, and gut hook knives each about $15 each. The saw is a Sagan Hunter Field Saw. Use the sharp finger for most of the prep work, gut hook for the breast bone splitting and saw for hip bones. There are also a number of fair videos on YouTube on how to do it. I also carry a Smith's 4" Diamond Combination Paddle Sharpener (diamond stones course and fine).
  5. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Well-Known Member

    You'll get a million opinions on this subject.
    My Dad could dress out a deer in a Sunday suit and not get bloody or gutsy.
    In reality, a 3" blade IS enough.
    Folder or fixed? Personal preference.
    Someone mentioned a Guthook.
    Really nice IF you can find one at a REASONABLE price.
  6. Centurian22

    Centurian22 Well-Known Member

    I have yet to harvest a deer but this is what I have for when I do:

    I bought it last year because I found a good deal on it. Unfortunately now that I know more about knife steels, I fear that I'll regret my purchase. I'm still going to try it out and see how it does.

    A similar thread to this one had many sugestions for Frost Mora (now Mora of Sweden) knives. This is probably where I will turn if my Mossberg knife lets me down.

    Best of luck with your search, in the end its the user and knowledge that matters more than the knife. I've seen it done with nothing but a small pocket folder
  7. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    I used this on the last three I field-dressed.
    Opens that sucker right up.


    Not very good for skinning - but my processor prefers that I deliver the deer with the hide on.
  8. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Well-Known Member

    Makes A LOT of sense
  9. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    I think either of these Grohmann knives would do a fine job. The top knife is a 50 year old pattern often called the "Canadian Belt Knife". http://www.grohmannknives.com/pages/r1s.html The skinning knife is the bottom knife, no reason why it would not work well.


    A shooting bud of mine used this 1964 vintage (he bought it in 1964) the weekend before to field dress a deer. He said he had not cleaned it out properly (yuck!).

    This is a bit small, (about 3 5/8" closed) but if you take your time, you can field dress a deer with a little pocket knife .

  10. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    I knew a guy around here that used the hooked utility blades to zipper open whitetail.
  11. jbkebert

    jbkebert Well-Known Member


    I have used alot of different blades for dressing out deer. However the small game knife you bought from Harv works like a champ. Granted a buck 110 or a gerber gator will do the job no problem.

    My small game knives from harv have done approx 15 whitetail deer, 6 hogs, 5 turkey, 1 red stag, 1 axis deer, 1 fallow deer, and one audad in since I have owned one. The blade shape and the sheer edge it will keep make it a darn fine tool. Making a plunging cut around the vent it done with ease. Yet the tip it dropped just enough that when you go to open up the skin. The is not all that much worry about peircing the intestine wall or the stomach or anything else.

    Make your vent cut and then wipe the knife off at least I do. Then with the animal on its back flip the knife over blade facing up. Place the tip of the knife gently into the lower portion of the rear leg and slide forward like a zipper. Do the same to the other three legs making the cut to the center of the animal. Then carefully make the cut in the same fashion up the belly to the chest. You should just barely be cutting skin no depth at all. The knife can easily pop ribs. Make short upwards pops and twist on one side of the sternum or the other. Ribs will snap out of the way no problem. If you make a large enough cut around the vent there is no need to pop the pelvis. Reach in and cut the wind pipe and use it as a rope to pull everything back and out of the cavity. Last pull the end of the instine and the bladder our very carefully and discard.

    If you do not cut alot of hair you should be able to skin and butcher a couple deer at least without alot of touch up to the blade. If you saw through alot of hair will you have to clean it up so don't. Hair will dull a knife quick no matter the maker. I use the same knife to do just about everything in the feild. There are times that I have butchered an animal start to finish with a small game knife.

    Good luck

  12. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Well-Known Member

    My pals: bunny to elk.

    I'm thinking about giving the old "Old Timer" a rest and taking the "gut-hook" next time. I'll no doubt miss the dramatic up-sweep of the 125 but that gut-hook looks to be some kinda perfect for the "zipper" lines.

    Attached Files:

  13. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Well-Known Member

    Ignore the machete on top and the straight bladed little knives on the bottom and near the middle; they're my fishing knives. I use fixed blades mostly because they are easier to clean up but a quick boil in soapy water cleans up the folder near the bottom when I use that (it has a really nice hide ripper and a cork screw!).
    I am a fan, like Slamfire regarding Canadian knives. The top one is an old Hearter's but the Grohmann in SST is a little more refined in the hand and you can't buy a new Hearter's anymore anyway. I could do with one of those alone to field dress an elk without complaint but my favorite is the modified Old Hickory Skinner 3rd from the bottom.
    I don't really care for a guard or a trailing point on a butcher knife.

    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012
  14. AKElroy

    AKElroy Well-Known Member

    Like other comments, I like the control of the smaller clip points. I use either a schrade old timer or case stockman. I have used a leatherman waive on pigs because it was all I had, but it lost its edge pretty quick on that tough coat.
  15. JimStC

    JimStC Well-Known Member

    Sincere thanks for all the advice.
    Jeremy, it sounds like I have what I need in Harv's small game knife. It also fits the description of a few posts. The Canadian Belt Knives look very, very nice too. Also the thought of being able to field dress with a folder is amazing by my novice standards.

  16. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    I think you have the "real need" covered. I like the Spyderco Moran for a practical field knife.
  17. PVT Pyle

    PVT Pyle Member

    I recommend the Cold Steel Pendleton Hunter ($40 @ WalMart). I have opened up everything from caribou to ducks in AK with it and I still have it and use it. I like the rubber grip because you can use it in the cold also.....The blade is thick enough to pry bone and stays sharp..
  18. 27hand

    27hand Well-Known Member


    I have been using a Buck Woodsman ( I think that's what it's called).
    It's a fixed 4" blade which has seen the insides of well over 40 deer from about 1978 or so, the last of which was just a few weeks ago.

    When I couldn't find it one year, I took a razor knife but didn't need to use it.

    You really don't need a Tarani Karambit or other $200 knife to clean a deer. Any small blade that you can put a good edge on will do. I got the 4" blade to cut around the anal tract to pull that out when I first got into deer hunting. Now, you can buy a butt ripper ( orange plastic tract removal tool which I just got but haven't tried yet) to easily take care of that.
  19. harvjr

    harvjr Well-Known Member


    Jeremy pretty much hit the nail on the head! Many of the deer hunters in this area use a knife the size and shape of the Small Game. I have been using one of my Small Game's on deer for 15 years and find it works well!!
  20. Wolfebyte

    Wolfebyte Well-Known Member

    as stated in several threads... lots of choices, and lots of answers.. but only a few will be the best for you.

    I prefer a fixed blade.. easier to clean

    I prefer a fixed blade that I can hold in my hand, extend my index finger out and it it's just a bit longer than the blade. That way I can use my finger to feel along the ribs and pelvic regions while maintaining my depth of cut and controlling my knife better..

    your choice may be different. ;)

Share This Page