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Anyone use an axe/hatchet to field dress big game?

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  • Anyone use an axe/hatchet to field dress big game?

    Anyone use an axe/hatchet to field dress big game?

  • #2
    Yes, used my Gerber camp hatchet, but just to see if I could do it. I've also done it with a razor blade. I'd also like to do it with a flint knife at some point.

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    • #3
      The only time I use a hatchet is to break the breast bone and pelvic bone. Other than that, no, whitetails are the biggest I go for...it would make it more of a challenge

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      • #4
        I use a hatchet to split the pelvic bone on deer.

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        • #5
          Nope! I use lopping shears to separate the aitch bone, then, flip them over and split the sternum! All this with the deer at waist level in a gutting cradle! Easy, peesy?!!!

          Bubba

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          • #6
            I quartered my first elk with a hatchet. Never again! It makes a mess. Also damn near impossible to do by yourself. Very difficult to hold the critter open/in place and swing the ax at the same time. With a saw you're not throwing yourself all over the place with every stroke. I have used a hatchet or rock to drive my knife through the crack in pelvis. Hatchet doesn't work that great for me. I'm just not accurate enough with a hatchet blade and wind up making a hacked up mess. Much easier done on does and cows than male gender. However, make sure the knife has a good heavy blade - and not worth a lot of money. Blades have been known to break doing this (true confession!). Also, for that reason, if you decide to split the pelvis (which I don't do any more - just unnecessary wasted energy and possibly the knife blade), make sure it's the LAST thing on the animal dressing agenda, not the first. Pretty hard to finish opening them up with a broken blade (another lesson learned the hard way).

            I knew a guy once who made his own military-sized hunting knife from the blade of electric hacksaw he "borrowed" from his workplace at the mill. He left the saw teeth on the back of the blade (the steel in those blades makes FINE knives). Claimed it worked like a charm quartering elk and I suppose it did okay. I once quartered my brother's bull with his useless T-handled "game saw." Knuckle-busting junk! For years I have toyed with the idea of having a more rugged set of teeth set by a filer into the blade of a miter box saw. The rigid back and short size of those saws would seem to be ideal for field work on a carcass - a regular meat saw is just to unwieldy and bulky. Also I'm thinking the rigid-back reenforcement strap would give the miter saw blade an overall wedge shape which might help hold the meat/bone apart while the saw is cutting. Unfortunately, miter box saws invariably have very fine teeth for cuttig door molding, etc., hence the need to have coarser teeth reset. Or perhaps just cutting down a regular carpenter's cross-cut saw and resetting it in the handle and spine of the miter box saw? Unfortunately, I never got around to actually perfecting a prototype. And now my big game days are done. Maybe one of you younger guys might want to take that idea and run with it? I'll drop this over in the Tips blog. Maybe it'll be worth a freebie? You all know how important that is to me!

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            • #7
              No but I do sharpen my ax as though I could. Honker, I have experimented with various recip. saw blades and found that the fine tooth with thick blades work well, although a pro grade bone saw is the best non-battery powered way to cut through ribs and pelvis bones. Cheers.

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              • #8
                Reciprocating saws are something that has mostly appeared since I gave up big game hunting. I have thought about them. However, aren't they a bit too flexible? And not very long either. Certainly if I was going to do much moose hunting these days, I'd have a battery recip saw in my truck or camp. Gad, those have GOT to be the bees knees for cutting up meat. In the old days some fellas would use a chainsaw with vegatable oil in the bar oiler. Worked great but you better have goggles and rain gear on! Meat and bone pulp flying everywhere!

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                • #9
                  I meant aren't the blades a bit too flexible to be using by themselves?

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                  • #10
                    AJ, the problem with traditional miter saw blades is that there is almost no offset to the teeth and consequently they plug up real easy. Even a finer toothed recip blade will have a healthy offset as they are designed for powerful ripping and tearing not fine cutting.

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                    • #11
                      i used to but just use a bow saw these days.

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                      • #12
                        I do use a battery powered reciprocating saw for processing large game and love it. It allows me to take off ribs in whole racks, or to cut t-bones. I have some longer, 12 inch or so blades that are fairly stiff. They are not the ones I use in the saw, because the shorter blades are handier, but I bet they would work with a handle on them.

                        But to answer the original question, no, I have never seen any reason to try to clean an animal with a hatchet.

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                        • #13
                          Havent tryed for big game but we use a hatchet to split the rib cage and the pelvic bone when we butcher cattle

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                          • #14
                            We use them to split elk into qtrs. Works well and fast.

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                            • #15
                              I use them as a cleaver

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