Best knife for skinning big game

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by Kimber22, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. Kimber22

    Kimber22 Supporter Supporter

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    So I am going on an elk hunt. And I believe I need a new toy to take with me for cleaning big game. What are your thoughts and reasons why certain blades are better. Never cleaned anything bigger than deer. And I am sure my Havalon would be just fine, but I think I need a new toy.... Or just a new excuse to buy a new toy....
     
  2. batmanacw

    batmanacw Bushmaster

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    @A Seedy Lot is doing a run of 4V knives at 5d/s and a bit higher rc than average. I have one of his 4V knives and it will definitely be my top choice.
     
  3. Mikewood

    Mikewood Supporter Supporter

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    The havalon is the perfect knife. Light and razor sharp. Pack a spare blade or three. I would not buy a New knife.

    If you need a new toy then get a saw just to cut thru the sternum and bones of the elk. A tree saw may cut the paunch and that’s a real mess. If you have a saw then get some meat bags. Cow/calf elk call etc.
     
  4. freebirdfb

    freebirdfb Bushmaster

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    Buck 103 or maybe a Tops Quick skin.
     
  5. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter

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    IMO, any knife with decent belly and enough tip to penetrate leg hide in a 3" -4" length should do.

    Have you looked into any Canadian Belt knife designs like Grohmann knives? They make excellent skinners and something differnt for you stable. I've used this design for years on many critters and have been quite satisfied.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
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  6. Kimber22

    Kimber22 Supporter Supporter

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    I do have the Wyoming saw kit that has a bone blade as well as a tree blade. With the leather case, but it is just so heavy! I was panning on that, but giving it to the kid to carry.
     
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  7. Kimber22

    Kimber22 Supporter Supporter

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    @Primordial I have not, but have drooled over that style for years. Not familiar with the maker you spoke of.
     
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  8. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter

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    They make the original: http://www.grohmannknives.com/index.php/products/outdoor/1-original-design-182-detail

    It can be found cheaper than what's listed on their site. The original can be had for around $90 or less.

    Cold steel makes a great budget option and R.Murphy, if they still exist, also made a decent one for a midrange price if I remember right.
     
  9. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Supporter Supporter

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    You want a tool for elk look into Phil Wilson's work as he has made a career on making knives meant to hold up to the task of butchering large animals in the field. http://seamountknifeworks.com/hunt-util-knives.html

    Gutting an elk and field butchering it are to differnt tasks. Use any old knife to gut an elk no problem. When field butchering comes in the picture so does a lot more knife work. I personally stay away from replaceable bladed knives i think they are a waste and a gimmick, plenty of people use them and swear by them but just as many people have had issues and stay away from them. If you want a new knife either look towards the path of Phil Wilson and get a steel that can butcher an elk without needing to be resharpened or a knife that can easily be resharpened in the field and plan on at least a few sharpening sessions.

    From my personal experience with field butchering elk it is most likely going to be a cold miserable task. I do not like to take the time to have to resharpen knives when my hands are cold and i am shivering so I error on the side of high hardness steel with good wear resitants. I also use two knives, one for the dirty dulling tasks and on for finesse cutting.

    A good friend of mine gets an elk every year during archery season when the weather is pleasant. He has an A2 knife at 59-60rc and he has to sharpen the knife at least once during the process and he is very proficient at the task.

    Here is a picture of last years elk boned out and on the sled for the long ride out of the mountians.

    20181031_133822.jpg
     
  10. Kimber22

    Kimber22 Supporter Supporter

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    @A Seedy Lot Do you do the "gutless" method? If I do this then I eliminate the need for a saw. Or at least from my research. I'm all ears...
    I like the sled idea. We will be in Colorado in unit 80 or 81. I wonder if the country will allow a sled.
     
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  11. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Supporter Supporter

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    Most of the hunters i know have gone to the gutless method. It does depend on the circumstance as last years elk i did not harvest the elk until about 4 in the afternoon after 8 hours of tracking the little herd. I was cold and a little worn out and not sure how far away camp was so with darkness approaching i did not have energy to start butchering so i gutted the elk to cool down the carcass.

    I also skinned the elk as i have plans on turning the hide into buckskin.

    I carry a Bahco saw with me as it does work well for cutting bones. I also carry plenty of pcord as it does help to have cordage to tie the limbs of the elk in strategic positions while butchering.

    The sled worked very well. It is rigged with ropes on each corner and as we were going down steep slopes i was able to control the sled and able to turn it sideways to be able to hockey stop. The sled is rigid enough that it was able to slide over downed trees without folding. The sled defiantly saved a huge amount of work and time.
     
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  12. Kimber22

    Kimber22 Supporter Supporter

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    You sold me on the sled idea. I am bringing one regardless of the area. I do have 200' of paracord ready, and a small bag to fill with dirt, rocks, etc to throw over branches. Never thought about the Bahco tho. Interesting idea. You have given me more to explore. Many thanks to you Sir @A Seedy Lot
     
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  13. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Supporter Supporter

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    The Bacho Laplander is not my favorite saw for cutting wood but the fact that it also cuts bone means it is the saw that I put in my pack during hunting season. You may need a saw to cut the skull for the antlers. Elk are huge and any weight one can shed is beneficial for the carry out.
     
  14. garry3

    garry3 Scout

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    I just use vintage carbon steel and a 4" fillet knife. The Wyoming saws can be handy depending on how you want to do it. Mine went missing a few years ago so I just do things a little different now. The little fillet knife comes in so handy for me because the only bones I pack out are with the hind quarters.
     
  15. Oldguy59

    Oldguy59 Supporter Supporter

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    AD320DD5-6AF5-419D-960A-70A899B6356C.jpeg When it comes to skinning it’s hard to beat a skinning knife.
     
  16. Nic7364

    Nic7364 Supporter Supporter

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    I've never hunted elk, but I would take a look at the svord skinners.
     
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  17. chyuck

    chyuck Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    I cut any animal with this knife. And hares, and bears and moose
     
  18. central joe

    central joe Wait For Me!! Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Old Hickory young fellar, Old Hickory. They have done it for over 100 years. joe
     
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  19. Mr. Tettnanger

    Mr. Tettnanger Supporter Supporter

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    Buck 103

    Or maybe a Gossman UNK
     
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  20. Nick Dundua

    Nick Dundua Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    I use mora HD for everything , skinned a moose from start to end , later gave it a strop and was like new
     
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  21. Kimber22

    Kimber22 Supporter Supporter

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    So I talked to the kid last night. Told him about this post. He stated "aren't we taking the knives that guy in California makes out of files?" So... the Havalon is going because it weighs nothing, the Wyoming saw is getting packed with the kid because he wants it, And our knives will be the @rwfred that we use in deer camp. Nice belly, comfortable, and razor sharp. And of course we are taking my late Fathers favorite knife. A very old leather stacked Schrade. It did Dad's first deer, my first deer, Scotty's first deer, The middle daughters first deer, and 2 other kids I had the pleasure of taking deer hunting for the first time.
     
  22. hillst1

    hillst1 Supporter Supporter

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    Cold Steel Master Hunter in CPM 3V is all you need.

    upload_2019-8-7_10-58-9.jpeg
     
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  23. Harry Zarkos

    Harry Zarkos Tracker

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    Classic
     

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  24. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Supporter Supporter

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    I am always a fan of using what one already has and is familiar with, great descion from your son. Make sure to bring a good pocket sharpening stone.
     
  25. Kimber22

    Kimber22 Supporter Supporter

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    Will do. Thanks for the tips!
     
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  26. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor

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    I tell you what. I picked up a Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner a month or so ago. I haven't been that impressed with a knife in a while and I honestly don't really care for Benchmades. I normally use my Bravo 1 for deer, but the Bravo may get a demotion this hunting season. The SMS is a tad bit smaller and much thinner and would be good for dismantling small game as well. I can't wait until hunting season to try it out!
     
  27. TWBryan

    TWBryan Tracker

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    Brisa/enzo nesmuk would make a fine skinning knife.
     
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  28. backlasher

    backlasher Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I've got one of the R. Murphy ones. It's 1095 carbon steel where the Grohmann that I used to have was stainless. They're very handy knives.
     
  29. Torrin

    Torrin Pan Supporter

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    Benchmade's S30V is a great choice for cleaning a deer start to finish with no slow down. I used a Mel Pardue Hunter last year on one deer by itself and it was just about perfect. I did the next one with a BM Altitude in S90V, and that knife still shaved after cleaning, skinning and quartering a deer by itself.
    IMG_20181122_132813_717.jpg
     
  30. Catahoula35

    Catahoula35 American savage Supporter

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    September or october hunt? September will most likely be out of the question for a sled because it will be a bit warm in those 2 units yet... october you have a fair shot. My personal experience is with a custom blade in d2. Ive skinned, quartered, and boned out without resharpening. The running joke in that area is that the louisiana guys dont leave enough meat for the coyotes to eat. We take it all. The maker of my knife isnt making knives anymore i think... also i didnt use a saw i just "ring and pop" the joint as we say it here...
     
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  31. Kimber22

    Kimber22 Supporter Supporter

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    It is 2nd rifle. I believe it starts Oct 20, 2020

    The saw just makes the kid feel better. I have no intentions of carrying ANY bones out. He gets the head....
     
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  32. Aknative

    Aknative Tracker

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    From 200 pound black bear to 1000 pound moose I use the same knives. If it works on deer you can use it on elk, but a saw would be nice for cutting open the sternum if you don't do the gutless method. I usually gut big game, just the way I do things.
     
  33. Catahoula35

    Catahoula35 American savage Supporter

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    I hear that. Thats how we do it... my first bull i carried all of the meat except 1 quarter, and one backstrap. The rest and the head i carried down myself in one trip. I was beat.
     
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  34. Poeschel

    Poeschel Supporter Supporter

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    82E571A0-6AD5-481B-AF98-5E4BFCB4009E.jpeg God I love it when hunting season is around the corner and these kind of threads pop up.
    That said, I’ll be carrying my leatherman wave and a new knife from Argali. It’s a ultralight fixed blade with super thin scales for a little more grip than raw steel.
     
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  35. Torrin

    Torrin Pan Supporter

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    That's awesome looks like almost the same blade as my BM Altitude but with more to the scales. Going to have check that out. I love the Altitude for the same reasons you stated, nice and thin, it's like a scalpel.
     
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  36. Torrin

    Torrin Pan Supporter

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    ^^^^ last reply was to this.
     
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  37. Line Dawg

    Line Dawg Scout

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    You can't go wrong with a Buck 119.
    image.jpeg Puma Classic Skinner is a great all around knife for working up big game.
    image.jpeg
     
  38. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    I use the heck out of my Havalon (it was a real game changer as a game warden), BUT I certainly wouldn't ever consider heading into the field with a small, quality fixed blade- currently a Sergant PSK; you need to exercise caution with the Havalon- it can cut you without even realizing it, it's basically a long bladed scalpel AND it's not unheard of to snap a blade or two

    [​IMG]

    and yes to the gutless method :)
     
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  39. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Looks like you've made up your mind, but I'm still going to plug either a Fallkniven F1 or WM1. I prefer the WM1 for deer. Not sure how it would hold up to quartering an elk, but I'd sure like to try it.
     
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  40. dreamin

    dreamin Scout

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  41. Kimber22

    Kimber22 Supporter Supporter

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    I had the skinner combo. The caping knife, and the rounded tip. Can't remember the name of that knife. But they were sweet skinning coons and coyotes. I sent my set back twice to be sharpened. I can't sharpen a knife to save my life. Never had. So a really good buddy gets them sharp as I need them.
     
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  42. Jetjr

    Jetjr Scout

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    They call the rounded on their muskrat. I bought my set years ago on clearance at Gander Mtn. It's a pretty good set especially for skinning furbearers.
     
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  43. RocketBoy

    RocketBoy Supporter Supporter

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    I had a DVD showing a Wildlife LEO field dress, skin and quarter a 600# Doe Elk with an old style Leatherman tool. So, I guess the answer to your question is, whatever knife you have. Are there better/easier tools? Yes. But, if you take your time, any sharp blade will do.

    b/r

    RB
     
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  44. Kimber22

    Kimber22 Supporter Supporter

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    I read s story about a guy that used a 3" blade from a swiss army knife to skin and quarter also. Read other stories about using a Stockman. I prefer a bigger blade that I know where it is
     
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  45. RocketBoy

    RocketBoy Supporter Supporter

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    I always have to remind myself our ancestors processed Mammoths with a shard of stone (Obsidian). However, I completely understand the desire for a new knife to commemorate a hunting adventure. I have a P.J.Tomes Scagal #17 repro made from forged 52100 steel (my favorite). It has enough belly to be a great skinning knife as well as a general field knife. If, I were going after larger critters, that's the one I'd take.

    b/r

    RB
     
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  46. RocketBoy

    RocketBoy Supporter Supporter

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    I'm always skeptical about stories 'I've heard'. But, I purchased this DVD and saw it with my own two eyes. If, you had told me about it, I'd have been skeptical. The DVD is probably still in circulation? Maybe by now it's on the InterWeb?

    b/r

    RB
     
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  47. highlander

    highlander Veni Vidi comedit lardum Supporter

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    My suggestion woulda been a Buck 110 with a pocket stone.
     
  48. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

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    The first Elk I butchered, I used a Case Trapper slip-joint folder. I left my hunting knife in my pack back at the camp. The Case actually worked much better than I expected. When I discovered that the Case was the only knife I had with me, it was one of those "Oh sh!t" moments. After the butchering, skinning and quartering was done, I looked at the bloody Trapper and thought, "Who needs a 'hunting' knife when you have a Case?"

    Steve
     
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  49. Kimber22

    Kimber22 Supporter Supporter

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    I have my grandpa's. I may bring it just because but the fear of losing it outweighs the sentimental value.
     
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  50. Ronc

    Ronc Scout

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    I'll use this one this Fall. It's my F1 that I rehandled in elk stag. It has a laminated VG-10 blade and holds an edge rather well.
    Ron

    [​IMG]
     
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