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hunting knife questions

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Readyrod, Jul 16, 2009.

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  1. Readyrod

    Readyrod Member

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    I've been reading a lot of threads about hunting knives and it seems that most people like a 3-4" knife for skinning deer. Would you want a larger knife for larger game like elk or moose? Would you need a tougher knife for say hogs? (many people like the Mora knives, I have one but I wonder if it's strong enough) Do you need a smaller knife for small game and birds? (those small skinners at DL knives are nice looking. drool drool drool)
    Finally, if any of the Africa veterans are reading, what do you use on the big animals like elephant or buffalo?
    I'm trying to think out a good versatile field kit and home kit for hunting and maybe butchering.(not for Africa game tho) It's just a mental exercise for now but I want to know what I will need when I start hunting. Kinda doing my homework.
     
  2. GodGuns&Guitars

    GodGuns&Guitars Member

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    You probably won't believe this but for the last 10 years I've used a small Swiss Army knife for skinning deer. The small pocket sized variety. I keep it extremely sharp thoughout hunting season. When it comes to cutting through heavier game I generally use a 4" Puma, again extremely sharp. I also keep the sharpening stones handy so I can refresh the edge when need be.
     
  3. paintballdude902

    paintballdude902 Member

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    generally i want a knife with a blade as long as my hand is wide
     
  4. avan47

    avan47 Member

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    I have a friend who field dressed and then butcher a deer with a little swiss army pen knife with the skinny 2 inch blade. It was a stunt, of course, he just wanted to see if it could be done. A 3 to 4 inch sharp blade is excellent for field dressing hogs or deer. Did I mention it needs to be sharp. That is the key to success. I once field dressed a deer using a knife with a 6 inch blade, and poked a bunch of holes into stuff that isn't supposed to have holes poked in them. I have no experience with elk or larger critters, and would like to hear some opinions from those of you who do.
     
  5. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    I slaughtered the 1st 2 elk I shot with a medium stockman and this was before I learned I didn't have to split the pelvis to get them apart. A fixed blade is easier to work with and I agree with paintballdude902 that a blade as long as your palm is wide is plenty. I now have one of those German hunting folders with a gut ripper that is handy for skinning (keeps more of the hair on the hide and off the meat).
    Normally I skin and quarter an elk to get it to the car unless I'm close enough and uphill enough to drag it whole (that's only happened once in my life). If I'm more than 2 miles or so away I bone it out where it lays.
    Your Mora is well respected as a hunting knife. There is no reason to be hacking or chopping when you slaughter big game. Even splitting the sternum is mostly cartilage and easily done with a 3-4" knife. I think a carbon steel blade stays sharper longer, but SST is pretty convenient.
     
  6. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

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    IMO, large knives are not necessary for general field dressing and skinning. If overly large and heavy they only become tiring and unwieldy.

    I use a Puma Duke (under 4”) folding knife to field-dress Deer and Hogs.

    For larger animals (Elk, Moose) you’ll probably want a larger knife. I use a Puma Skinner along with a Knives of Alaska set for them. You’ll need a decent “Caping” knife also….unless you plan on letting your taxidermist do that chore.

    These have served me well:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Add a “bone saw” (or small hatchet) and you should be good for anything on this continent from Moose to Mice.
     
  7. juk

    juk Member

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    I got the original buck knife that has been through a few whitetails. The key is getting a knife that gives you good control and keeping the knife sharp. You will regret every second that you spend cleaning an animal if you go about it with a dull or uncomfortable knife. A knife with a blade length longer than 6" is not needed.
     
  8. jim147

    jim147 Member

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    Looks like it has already been said, but I'll say it again.
    You want a sharp knife.

    jim
     
  9. BENELLIMONTE

    BENELLIMONTE member

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    In my opinion fixed blade knives are the most reliable. The brands I rely on for big game hunts in Idaho are Knives of Alaska, Chris Reeve Skinner & some of the knives TOPS contracted to make for Browning (FX Series?) knives several years ago. They are all well made and rock tough.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
  10. Readyrod

    Readyrod Member

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    I have a bunch of knives that I've accumulated over the years including the Mora, a few Swiss folders, and an old Buck 110. I don't really want to use the folders cause of cleaning. I guess I could use the Mora and keep the folders as backup.
    For some reason I've never been good at sharpening. That's going to be a project for the fall. What do you guys think of those diamond whetstones? Are they worth it or should I just bite the bullet and get a good traditional whetstone and just learn to use it properly? Any other options? I want a system I can use easily in the field but not so minimal that it's a chore to use.
    As for the larger animals, would a 6" boning knife work? I've seen them in the field dressing kits and was wondering if they would be ok.
    A capping knife is a new concept for me. I gather it's for fine work for mounting? Would it be good for small game? They seem to have a special design like the one in Flintknapper's picture. Is that what I should be looking for or is any small knife ok? I don't mind buying specialty knives if it really helps. Tho I do want to keep the costs down if possible.
    Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate it.
     
  11. flipajig

    flipajig Member

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    I use a uncle henry M 4678 3 1/2'' fixed blade (they dont make it any more.) and for cutting up and buchering I use a felet knife works great just a wm cheep $1.50 felet knife..
     
  12. interlock

    interlock Member

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    i use a gerber ez zip and a "bush knife" the bush knife has an orange plastic handle and a stainles blade, it comes in a plastic sheath. the plastic sheath is good because it is dishwasher proof and stops you sticking the point in your leg through the sheath.

    as for blade length i go for a knife that is long enough to reach the aorta and vesels on top of the heart when stuck in between the neck and breastbone. That way if i hang the deer in a tree i can bleed it out easily. Of course you guys have BIG stuff to shoot like moose. i don't suppose that you can lift them into a tree to bleed out!!!

    so as i say to Mrs Interlock, "5 inches is plenty long enough if you know what you are doing with it"
     
  13. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

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    I carry a old puma 4" folder on me and at camp i have a new, 5 year old Knives of Alaska combo. They are to about 31/2" bladed knifes one has a more typical clip type point the other has a round over tip that is sharp over the curved part. Damd sharp knife. Very happy with these 2 knives. Just don't use big knives.
     
  14. paintballdude902

    paintballdude902 Member

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    i got a ka-bar last year and decided to try and skin a deer with it ....... big mistake it didnt ruin anything but it was just so big it made things alot harder

    a large blade tends to be cumbersum and harder to be delicate with

    ive also use a smith and wesson assisted opener 2-3 times it works well with the 3.5 inch blade

    now my primary knife is an older buck knife with a 4 inch fixed blade
     
  15. Alagator

    Alagator Member

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    I have used a Victorinox Safari Hunter (discontinued) to clean over 400 Alabama whitetails. The curved gutting blade with the blunt tip is perfect for zipping them open. The rest of the work is done with the regular blade. I really don't use the saw if there is another one available. It's the only blade I don't sharpen, so I save it for emergencies. If anyone out there has one you're not using, I will gladly buy it!! The stainless steel is fairly soft, but it takes a good edge, and I use a Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker to restore it between deer.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2009
  16. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    Looks like everybody has a certain knife they like and if it fills their needs,so be it.
    I used to carry a sheath Buck knife for for a very long time but for the last few I`ve carried a Buck 110, folding knife.
    looks like my old favorite is going to be riding the pine for the fore see-able future.
    The Buck has a keen edge and is compact. Plus it doesn`t dig into the ground when you sit down. I`m sure some of you guys know what I`m talking about. Makes you feel like your hung up on something.
    Plus, it looks really nice and feels good in your hand. :)
     
  17. jim in Anchorage

    jim in Anchorage Member

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    Not real happy with knifes of Alaska. Mine have chips in the edge,which tells me the steel is too hard or has imperfections.
     
  18. Readyrod

    Readyrod Member

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    Good suggestions, thanks all, but what about larger/smaller animals than deer? Do you need larger/smaller knives? And what should I look for in a caping knife? Is a caping knife good for smaller game?
    And I'm still curious about African game.
     
  19. gpknives

    gpknives Member

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    I am a knife maker and have knives literally all over the world. The most used and bragged on knife I make is a 3 1/2"- 4" dropped point hunting knife. If a carbon steel knife is desired, I suggest 1095 and zone heat treat the blade so that you have a hard edge that can be sharpened in the field. If a hunter wants more rust resistance, I suggest D2 or ATS 34 steel. These are both good edge holders and will get the job done on just about any game most of us hunt.
     
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I've been using this last couple of years. Excellent skinner. I'm very happy with it and it wasn't but 25 bucks or some such. You don't really want a BIG knife, too hard to get into small areas and not as precise.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Readyrod

    Readyrod Member

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    Hey Alagator, do you recommend curved gutting blades? It looks like the same principle as the Outdoor Edge Zipblade. Is it worth it? Sometimes time/labor saving devices are worth it sometimes they just take up space.
    GPknives do you have a website?
    MCgunner, I was also looking at that same Gerber. I heard that they get dull easily tho. Is that true?
    The 3.5-4" knife length makes sense to me as any longer would need really strong hands to keep control. I've seen a few makers (Old Hickory, Victorinox) offer 6" curved skinning knives and I was wondering what they are good for.
     
  22. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Whatever allows you to work easily - I prefer a drop point, about 3" blade - easy to work with, although I do have Buck original folding hunter, and some others, a Case pocket folder works well for me. Get two or three of them and a few good stones - that way, someone can be sharpening while you use the others and it will speed things up
     
  23. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Not really. Of course, I only have one relatively expensive knife, given to me by my dad for christmas in the mid 70s, a Case Kodiak Hunter. That thing is pretty awesome, holds a good edge and it will still get shaving sharp, but it's too big to use. LOL But, that Gerber will get me through about a hog, maybe a hog and a half, medium sized meat hogs, between sharpening. I've skinned 'em 3 at a time. Hogs are tough to skin, gotta use the knife all the way down, not like a deer. I won't need to sharpen it at all skinning a couple of deer. You pull the skin off once you get it off the hind quarters.

    That Gerber gets REAL sharp, too, shaving sharp if you whip it on a leather strop. I like it a lot and recommend it if you're a budget minded type. I'm sure a several hundred dollar knife will hold a better edge, but the Gerber works for me.
     
  24. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

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  25. islandphish

    islandphish Member

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    Just get a normal knife. no gut hook, no saws, no serrations, no blood fuller, no swords.

    If you want to make it easy carry an axe/hatchet. Then you can chop out the pelvis and pull out the poo track.

    Seriously, I feel this is overthought. That Mora is probably perfect, just use it and keep it sharp.
     
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