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This question goes back to my previous question about knife sharpening. What knifes do you guys use for gutting, skinning, etc..

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  • #16
    I actually like Buck knives, but I recently fell in love with the Outdoor Edge Swing Blade for gutting and skinning. I got the one with the orange handle so I don't lose it when I put it down. (outdooredge.com/SwingBlaze-p/swingblaze.htm)

    Outdoor Edge has an excellent line of products for a great price. Personally, I have their butchering kit, the swing blade, and the folding fillet knife, and I have been thoroughly satisfied with all of them.

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    • #17
      Don't pay too much attention to guys who haven't gutted moose in minus 20 or an elk by the light of the moon on top of a mountain or a deer when it has to be tied to a snow covered thirty percent snow covered slope or it'll slide away. A razor sharp knife will get you injured in those situations. I know. Been there and done it. And I have a nasty scar on my left hand to prove it (my first buck gutted in the headlights). To field dress an animal you do not want a real long blade or one that is extremely sharp. But certainly not dull either. By the way, a skinner like that worthless Old Timer I had is no good for gutting. Especially if it's razor sharp. Drop point is a good shape for field dressing. Blood groves are useless decoration.

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      • #18
        I use a Buck for field dressing because it is strong enough to cut through a tough sternum or pelvic bone if necessary. It also has a long enough blade and sharp enough point to cut a throat instantly. You are right though... it does not keep its edge well enough to skin.

        I use a folding blade Schrade Oldtimer with about a 4 inch blade for skinning. That thing is razor sharp and holds an edge well enough to skin about 10 deer or antelope before needing blade attention.

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        • #19
          P.S. I gutted four bucks this fall in ideal conditions and nicked myself on at least three occasions. But only enough to barely draw blood. Had I been using a knife sharp enough to shave the hair on my arm, I likely would have had to make a trip to the hospital. I regularly ding myself cleaning and boning geese too. Boning does require a fairly sharp knife (much sharper than what's necessary for field dressing big game) but nothing remotely close to hair-shaving sharp. With all the goose grease flowing a knife that sharp would be a disaster!

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          • #20
            A longer knife is easier for cutting the windpipe, that's for sure. But that's all it's good for. I usually have to dig around blind for the esophagus anyway and I DON'T want a long knife blade in there with my fingers. When dressing the animal you want your hands closer to the end of the blade, especially when your cutting out that diaphragm in a cavity full of blood. I almost never split the pelvis in the field any more. Just a lot of wasted work. It's unnecessary and a good way to break a blade. Helluva lot easier to just cut around the pooper and pull it back through. I'm usually out in cold enough weather so that it's not necessary to open the sternum either. If the animal has to be dragged any distance, it's best to avoid splitting either the sternum or pelvis. Actually, it's best to drag deer with guts in as far as possible.

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            • #21
              BTW! Lost Lure! I wouldn't pay much attention to a person who can't unsheath a knife without injuring himself. It's a sure sign of ineptitude! LOL!
              I can't imagine a "real" hunter preferring a "not so sharp" (re: DULL!) blade.

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              • #22
                OH, I suspect its a matter of personal choice regarding knife use. I worked in a butcher shop for a while and got accustomed to working with razor edges. I even welded scalpel blades to the top of my fish pliers for cleaning catfish. Now, that is the only kind of edge I use because it will cut with minimum effort and it avoids the blade jerking as it breaks through tissue.

                I just about cut a finger off my second day on the job and after that paid great attention to knife etiquette. Now, I never put my fingers in front of a blade and never push or pull a blade toward any part of my body. As a result, I've never knicked myself since then.

                I used to feed my mink 150 pounds of fresh meat a day and had to butcher a few cows, horses and/or hogs a week to provide them food. I have frozen my fingers doing it when temps dipped below -20; especially if the animals were nearly frozen when I got to them. With deer and antelope, I was taught to break the sternum to spread the chest cavity wide open to cool the meat as quickly as possible. I was also taught to gut game as quickly as possible for the same reason. That has always worked for me as my main concern has always been retaining the quality of the meat and it seems to work. Not saying that other techniques wouldn't work; just haven't tried them.

                By the way, I was never very good at field dressing but manage to get through it. My dad and cousin were great butchers and they always made it look so easy. I still appreciate the art of someone who really knows what they are doing.

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                • #23
                  Where I hunt affords me the luxury of carrying larger tools for processing game, especially "field dressing"! I ALWAYS split both sternum and aitch bone. BUT! I accomplish the task very easily with a set of lopping shears I carry in the tool box of my truck! Snip, snip! Easy, peasy!
                  No dulled knives!
                  No broken blades!
                  No ruptured intestines!
                  No punctured bladder!
                  No saw!
                  No hatchet!
                  Animal completely gutted, drained and cooling within 20/30 minutes of it's final breath!
                  Oh yeah! No gut piles in the hunting area either!
                  No cussing!
                  No fussing!

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                  • #24
                    Knives of Alaska Pronghorn hunter and or a havalon, both are scary sharp (havalon is a daggone scalpel) You know a hide can work on a knife edge pretty good and it is a PIA to quarter an elk with a dull blade. Keep them sharp and move slowly (methodically) Even my KOA needs the edge touched up towards the end. The havalon just change the blade.

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                    • #25
                      C'mon, Bubba, only a child takes things out of context or misquotes others. I wouldn't think of trying to dress an animal with a dull knife ... unless I had to (and it has happened). But I wouldn't use one that's sharp enough to shave either! There's a big difference between "sharp" and "cutting hair razor sharp." Unlike you, I don't shoot my animals sitting on an ATV our out of a tree stand. When I'm ready to dress an animal it's often after a helluva day tracking non-stop in terrible terrain. Or after having dragged the animal some distance. And, yes, I'm too often in the bag when I have to unsheathe the knife ... even after a day of goose hunting. Razor sharp knives in the hands of someone who's exhausted, half frozen, and/or excited is not a good thing! And I'm all too often faced with a less than ideal field dressing situation (certainly no tool box handy, that's for sure!). It sounds like your field dressing situations are more like a typical butchering environment, and you will recall that I said I prefer very sharp knives for butchering.

                      Dakota, if there was any truth to that old hunters safety myth insisting on instant neck slash and gutting or the meat's lost, then no one would dare dress out a dead gut shot animal that wasn't found until an hour or two after being hit. But we have all seen this situation and the meat didn't taste any worse for wear. If there's snow on the ground or freezing temps, there's no need to bust open a deer's sternum or pelvis. They'll cool down plenty fast enough (and splitting a pelvis really doesn't help with cooling anyway). Elk or moose may be a different story. Remember, any unnecessary work done with a sharp instrument only puts you at risk of being injured unnecessarily. Anyway, a drag of even an hour or two without gutting would not harm the meat of a deer ... although the same might not be said for your back or knees! My rule of thumb is if you can see your vehicle from where you shoot the deer, don't gut it till you get it there (but only if it's possible to start dragging immediately).

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                      • #26
                        I've looked at the Outdoor Edge, going to checkout the havalon. I guess just do some research because I am not a fan of Buck knives. I also like to have my knives as sharp as possible. I always carry a small saw to split the pelvis and sternum, makes cleaning easier for me.

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                        • #27
                          I don't know if they make it any more, but I use a geber gator that was made for cabelas. It has a Bell & Carlson handle and the blade is made s30v steel. It has the same characterisics of carbon steel, ealily sharpened and great edge retension, but also is rust resistant. 3-4 inch drop point with good quality steel is a great all around knife. I would worry more about steel quality than brand name. Look for a quality carbon steel, s30v, or D2 steel.

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                          • #28
                            I will amend my previous post somewhat. A fillet knife is very useful when skinning to slit the thin hide up the inside of the legs. But that's really about it. The blade is usually a bit too long for my liking for general skinning. I would advise switching to either a skinner or drop point design with about 4" blade, preferably the latter because it is so useful for so many different jobs.

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                            • #29
                              I have a number of different knives and enjoy collecting them, but I end up using a Buck Vanguard for most of my deer hunting. Not too long, and has enough backbone to cut through bone. I also tend to clean the knife and touch up the edge after every use. Its true that they can be challenging in terms of putting on a good edge, but once you do so its not hard to maintain it. Crock Sticks have always worked well for me.

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                              • #30
                                I prefer the sharpest knife I can find. There is literally nothing too sharp. If you are cutting yourself, it is because you are letting the edge of the blade contact your skin, not because your knife is too sharp.

                                Dull knives are actually more dangerous than sharp ones, despite what you might first think. A sharp knife cuts smoothly and with very little effort. A dull blade, on the other hand, requires force to cut, and when the material gives, you lose control of the blade. That holds true regardless of the temperature and angle of the slope you happen to be standing on. If you cut yourself, its because you don't handle a knife well.

                                I carry a knife made by Bob Legler, link below. They are more expensive than production knives, but you will have to spend a lot more to find a better knife. He also offers great service and is a nice guy to boot! Mine is the Beaumont, and I would buy the same one again. (actually, I should do that, God forbid something happen to Mr. Legler).

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