Hunting knives and their uses

Discussion in 'Knives & Edged Items' started by johnlives4christ, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    i've been wondering about this for a while and from what i can tell the answers are varied depending on who you ask.

    i've never skinned a critter other then a squirrel and im wondering about what the best knife is for deer, bear, and hog.

    i've got these three [​IMG]

    the top is a j e middleton bowie , then a henry uncle henry skinner and a gerber gator.

    i've always thought that i'd take the bowie bear hunting with me. but how would such a large knife (15" overall) do skinning? what would the main purpose of this knife be? would it be a basic survival knife that could handle just about anything and be heavy enough to hammer with if needed? or is it basically useless.

    the henry is a more wieldy knife and i would think it would be easier to skin with.

    so what is the best type of knife to handle skinning bear and deer? whats a good compromise between size and style so i can get by with just one knife on my belt.

    thanks for the input and God bless

    ~john
  2. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    i think knife design and patternage is as varied as there are knife makers

    i know what i think i want for differing knives

    i never skinned a bear but dont think i'd want to use your bowie if i could help it

    and i'd use a very different knife again for a deer hide i wanted and different again for something like a croc ( still working on a design for that )

    6" long curved blades seem to be the most functional of all types from some reading i did but again your call as to what you like , i know a bloke who is faster with a old taylor's witness pocket knife on bunnies than i am with my syringe ..
  3. retired grunt

    retired grunt New Member

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    Either of the bottom 2 would work fine. The middle ones handle may become slippery where as the gerber rubber textured one will be easier to hold. If I had to pick one it would be the middle one one for the blade shape.
  4. carver

    carver Moderator

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    The Bowie is a do it all type of knife. You can chop wood with it, skin game, or use it in a knife fight. The best all around knife, IMHO, is a knife that isn't too big, and not to small. Yet it has to have lots of strength. While the two knives you have pictured below the Bowie would be more comfortable to use in skinning a deer, or a bear, they may not have the strength to chop wood. I like a knife with strength, plus the correct blade design for skinning, and butchering a kill. Something like the Big Rock from Gerber. There are other knife makers out there who make knives just as good as the Big Rock, and some of them are even better suited for these tasks, but most of them come with a price tag! A good thick blade will stand up to lot that a thiner blade will not. While a smaller knife isn't much good for chopping wood, if the metal is thick enough, and has the strength, it can be pounded on with anohther peice of wood to drive into the peice you want to split.

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  5. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011
  6. redwing carson

    redwing carson Former Guest

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    Big heavy knives for skinnng will give you a tired over worked wrist and arm pronto. A large knive is not needed or a wise choice for skinning. We often skin big elk with nothing more than a Case pocket knife called a Trapper. The pack saws are used to open the chest bone and cut the head lose. A knife that sharpens very easy is light in the hand makes a skinner. The old curved blade butcher knives work well. When cutting hair on a bear or elk moose etc. it dulls very fast. Nothing says "Dude Hunter" like a big Bowie knife on the belt.

    RC
  7. Bubblehead

    Bubblehead New Member

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    I have a small thread drift question. I'm looking for an affordable hunting knife. What type of steel should I be looking for that provides a good balance between strength, sharpening ability and it's ability to hold an edge?
  8. carver

    carver Moderator

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    Carbon steel will give you a good edge, and is easy to sharpen. It is not as hard, or brittle, as a stainless steel knife. And because of that it will take a lot more abuse, IMHO. After a lot of research on all around camping knives I settled on the Gerber Big Rock. Although it is made from stainless steel, the blade is 1/4 thick, and will stand up to a lot of abuse for the money. There are better knives out there, but not for the price of $25 - $35. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05p44ci3NH4
  9. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    jay. that is a sweet looking knife
  10. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    Thanks, John.... as has been posted, there are likely better skinning knives out there, but this is a woods/survival knife. It can skin, but it can also do more stringent tasks.
  11. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    i like the look of it and another the 4-s model and the 3. i've been looking on ebay. the wife likes the pink one
  12. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    so if the bowie is too big for skinning... what good is it? didnt they have knives of this type in the old west or before in the mountain man era? what purpose would it have served?
  13. Zane71464

    Zane71464 Well-Known Member

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    The knives I use, is for deer and smaller game. Here are a few I use the most and they have been USED! Several of them have seen their better days, but they all do they job they need to do. I dont carry "high $" knives out in the field for the fact Ive lost a few over the years...and the one that is actually one of my favorites, is the STIHL knife...an $8 knife at the time I bought it years ago. But does it ever keep an edge...it's been overly used and knicked.
    The two Buck's and the Stihl, Ive had for over 20 years...well used and then some!;)
    EDIT: These are pretty "rough" looking but they are "tools", and I use them as such.

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    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011
  14. carver

    carver Moderator

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    The Bowie was designed to be a do everything type of knife. That being said, it was not designed to be a skinner only. There are better knives out there for skinning game, but the Bowie will get the job done, just not as functional as a pure skinning knife. Personally, I like the Bowie just for the fact that it can do almost anything you need a knife to do. It's just not always the best tool for the job at hand. This is my favorite Bowie.

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  15. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    I can see where a lady would like a pink knife. That would be a good thing.

    Carver, that's a nice looking Bowie.
  16. carver

    carver Moderator

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    Thanks! They don't sell them anymore, but there is one on E bay for sale.
  17. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    The Bowie was designed as a FIghting Knife, pure and simple. It even uses it's own technique, which is more chopping then slashing, with the heft to do real damage.

    Along the way it developed into a "Utility Knife," and has many uses around the camp like digging holes. driving tent pegs, splitting wood, etc. But most guys who carried Bowies on the frontier "for real" also carried other knives for other purposes.

    But remember EVERY knife is usually designed with ONE use in mind for which it is the BEST tool. But ANY knife CAN be used for other things, and are, but remember for everything else than for what they were designed they are a COMPROMISE. And like any compromise, some are good and some are bad.

    Just like using the Bowie around the campsite. You REALLY would be better served with a shovel, an axe, or a hammer. And don't EVER use your blade as a screwdriver! (Although we probably have all done that at one time or another, and broken a NICE blade:mad::eek::D)

    Rather than a Bowie as a "Survival Knife" for the past 20 years or so I have not been in the woods or around a campsite without a quality Forged Tomahawk. It is a better fighting tool than a knife, and can be better used as a hammer, digging tool, wood splitter and is more easily thrown:D plus it is sharpened with a FILE so easy to maintain. In the process it saves the much better blades on my knives for skinning gutting, whittling, and cutting up my food!:D

    When I was 12, I bought an Edge Brand stag handled "Buffalo Skinner" Solingen steel knife for my first hunting knife. I used it exclusively for over 30 years. It gutted and skinned everything from deer to bunnies to birds. It cleaned fish and did all kninds of other chores. It didn't hold an edge forever, but it was easy to stone back into shape.

    Then I LOST it in the woods.:mad: The 5th replacement sheath needed replacement BEFORE I went hunting that year.

    But since then I have been using a Western W84 Drop Blade for my "Hunter" which is MUCH better, the drop blade does NOT nick the intestines when Gutting, and is heavy enough for other chores.

    For SKINNING I use a Carbon Steel Old Timer 152. Which is a FANTASTIC skinning knifem much better than the old 'Buffalo Skinner." It is SMALL, maneuverable, and easy on the hands and wrist. I GUESS I could gut a deer with it if I had to. But then my pocket 442 Buck that I use for EVERYTHING else including trimming cigars would probably do that too.:p

    The point is, while for 30 years I carried and made do with ONE knife, I am much happier with more specialized blades for the task, even if I have to carry 3 (or 4?):D

    So to answer the original question...Why not carry alll THREE of them?;)
  18. carver

    carver Moderator

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    Anything with a sharp edge will work. I have field dressed deer with a pin knife. It wasn't the ideal tool, but it got the job done. Just as will a stone knife. Carry how ever many you want, and spend what ever you want to on them. Just be sure to always have a knife on you.
  19. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    thanks for the information guys. very helpful.
  20. redwing carson

    redwing carson Former Guest

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    Polishshooter has it about right. The Rocky Mtn Fur trade skinners were smaller knives. The Bowie is mentioned in Texas and Civil War history. When Col Crane put a pistol ball in James Bowie at the SandBar fight it started a knife legend.

    [​IMG] RC
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