Armchair commandos may believe anything sharp will make a good skinning knife, this is simply not true. Certain types of knives are much better at skinning wild game than others. Let’s take a few minutes and talk about types of knives to stay away from and types to consider.
For most applications the smaller and thinner the blade the better.
The easier the knife is to clean, the better. This should exclude multi-tools and knives with accessories, such as the Swiss Army knife.
High carbon steel blade that holds an edge and is easy to sharpen.
Examples that come to mind so far are the Gerber Big Rock, Gerber Profile, and Case pocket knives. I have seen more deer skinned with a Case pocket knife than any other brand of knife. Old guys do not mess around with fancy or expensive knives. Experience says go with what works. For most applications, a Case pocket knife will do just fine.
No Skinning Pictures or Videos
Back around 2008 or so I posted a video on youtube of how to skin a squirrel. The video was flagged as animal cruelty, the video was removed and my account was put on probation for something like 6 months.
After a few google searches I arrived at a forum where animal rights activist were working together to flag videos. One member would post a link to the video with a description and what actions that member had taken, other members would reply saying they had reported the video. They were like a pack of predators working together to take down hunting videos. My squirrel video had been targeted by that group of social justice warriors.
I decided to avoid conflict and not to post any hunting or skinning videos. This is also why I do not post videos of butchering chickens. Also, I like my chickens and do not want to butcher any of them.
So my blog does not get flagged for animal cruelty, I will not post any skinning pictures here.
Do not blame me, blame google and anti-hunting social justice warriors. Hunting is a human right. Not my fault human rights are not respected by rabid social justice warriors.
My Favorite Skinning Knife
For deer sized game, my favorite skinning knife is a Gerber Profile and a Gerber Big Rock. The Big Rock seems to hold an edge better than the Profile. For that matter, the Big Rock is a well rounded camp knife.
For rabbits and squirrels, I prefer a pocket knife over a larger fixed blade knife.
I stay away from knives that have a low carbon content. I want a blade that holds an edge and is easy to sharpen. That means stainless with a high carbon content, or a carbon blade.
Avoid These Blades
Serrated – Pulls the meat rather than slicing through it. After a few strokes the serrations are full of meat pieces and it has to be cleaned.
Heavy large blades – Rambo style survival knives are not good skinning knives. The blade is too thick and heavy to make precision cuts.
440 Stainless – Difficult to sharpen and does not hold an edge. There are different grades of 440, such as A, B and C. Rather than trying to figure out the grade the blade is made from, just avoid 44 stainless all together.
Multi-tools – Lot of places for blood and meat to get into. Cleaning a multi-tool after skinning a deer can be a time consuming. We want a knife that is easy to clean so you can get on with your day.
Try Something New
I carry a pocket knife for about a year. Then a new knife is bought and the old knife is retired. My current knife is a Schrade ST6C, before that it was a Leatherman, before that it was Klein tools 44003, before that it was a Gerber Paraframe,,, etc.
As for fixed blade knives, I like to buy a new one twice a year or so. There comes a point when you reach knife overload. Going on a hiking trip and you spend several minutes thinking about which knife from the collection you want to take.
Take time to get to know the knives in your collection. Which ones work well for given situation.
When I go on a river camping trip and will be traveling by boat, I will take a heavy survival knife, such as the Schrade SCHF9 or SCHF36.
Hiking trip, Gerber Big Rock.
Regardless of where I go, I always carry a pocket knife.
Take time to experiment. Knives are tools. Picking the right tool for the job makes life a lot easier.