Good knives for gutting

Discussion in 'Game Processing, Recipes & Cooking' started by Bowhunter728, Nov 28, 2021.

  1. Bowhunter728

    Bowhunter728 Weekend Warrior

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    What is everyone’s go to for these type of tools?. I’ve been looking at kits but not sure if it would be better to just get a couple individual knives. Throw your recommendations here and let me know.
     
  2. Ebaybow

    Ebaybow Newb

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    Any 3" blade on a folding Buck or similar knife will work.

    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
     
  3. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    If I'm not splitting the rib cage, I like the Havalon. Wicked sharp (it is a scalpel for all intents and purposes), light weight, good for caping too. I've broken down elk with it a few times using the boneless method. The key is don't pry or twist the blade, say, on a joint cutting ligaments.

    The outdor edge are also good, with a differeny locking mechanism.

    If needed, you can make do with a lot less though...
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2021
    Wapiti426 likes this.
  4. Shocker99

    Shocker99 Grizzled Veteran

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    I just posted something about this. I really like these 2 knives. One is made by Esee. The other is Lionsteel. The small blades allow for very good control. The esee reminds me of the havalon but it is a razor sharp fixed blade that wont come off in the cavity like havalons are known for. You can rip right up the rib cage with ease. The esee is a 1095 steel so it sharpens easy and gets razor sharp. 2.5” blade. Needs touched up every few deer. The lion steel is a high grade stainless M390 with a 2.9” blade. D8D17F87-0B80-49D3-94F5-1CDBC535A2A6.jpeg
     
  5. Sota

    Sota Legendary Woodsman

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    I have a 4" rapala presentation filet. I have used that knife to fillet fish, gut deer, bear, birds, even used it to debone chicken when I raised them. I have had that knife close to 40 years. Kinda funny how wore the blade is.
     
  6. Wapiti426

    Wapiti426 Newb

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    I am also on the Havalon train, personally that is my go to.
     
  7. dnoodles

    dnoodles Legendary Woodsman

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  8. Heckler

    Heckler Grizzled Veteran

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    Dang! dnoodle beat me to it. RazerPro best knife ever. We even re -sharpen the replacement blades. Makes quick work and if you ever process a big animal in the field you will appreciated being able to swap blades out on the fly!
     
  9. opossumhunterNC

    opossumhunterNC Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I almost always use the “gutless” method these days since I mostly hunt private land where I have a processing and cleaning area nearby with table, gambrel, and running water set up so I just throw the deer on a cart or 4-wheeler trailer and haul it back whole instead of field dressing it. Plus I am in the south where it is rarely cold enough during the season to let a gutted deer hang outside to age. After trying many different knives and methods over the years I’ve settled on the Havalon knife paired with a Gerber vital zip tool. The gerber tool holds a standard utility knife blade and is perfect for making the initial cut for the gutless method where you are trying to make a cut into the skin only without opening up the paunch. I just make a little slit on the inside of each back leg, insert the tip of the vital zip tool into the cut on one of the back legs and pull down. I have found it works best if you insert your index finger into the hole in the tool and pull down with that while letting the tool more or less rotate freely on your finger. It will basically “unzip” the whole deer all the way from the back leg to the neck in one motion, then just do the the other back leg and connect it to the first cut just below the mammary gland to create a kind of Y shape. I have also used it occasionally to gut a deer and it also works just as well when you are actually trying to cut into the paunch and makes it really easy to do without catching on or piercing any of the intestines or stomach.
    Here is that tool:
    2D83B295-43FE-41FE-849D-144D6700C64D.jpeg

    For actual knife I like the havalon that uses the replaceable scalpel blades. The blades are incredibly sharp and really cheap if you buy them in bulk, like 10-20¢ each of you get the 100-pack. They’re cheap enough that they’re truly disposable so you can work quickly without worrying so much about taking your time to avoid hitting bone and dulling your knife since using an extra blade or 2 in the process is no big deal. I also really recommend buying a size #4 scalpel handle to go with it. The size #4 scalpel handle will hold the havalon blades and it’s a lot easier to clean than the havalon since it’s single piece medical grade stainless steel and doesn’t have any nooks and crannies for meat and fat to collect in. The scalpel handle is also dishwasher safe while the havalon is not. You definitely want to get the name brand Swann-Morton handle because the cheap knock-off handles use crappy stainless that rusts up right away and they either don’t hold the blades worth a crap or the blades won’t even fit on then in the first place, I learned that the hard way. The Swann-Morton only costs like $10 so it’s not like the cheap knock-off ones are going to save you that much anyway.

    I also use the scalpel/havalon blade combo to do most of my deboning during the final processing. It allows me to go faster since I don’t have to worry about hitting bone and dulling my knife and I don’t have to sharpen my processing knives as often.

    For my main processing knife I really like the Victorinox curved boning knife with the 6-inch semi-stiff blade. It is easy to get really sharp and holds its edge really well. The 6 inch is the perfect size for processing a whitetail since it’s long enough to make any cuts you will need to make but short enough that you still have plenty of control when you need to get in and separate muscle groups with the tip of the blade.
     
  10. opossumhunterNC

    opossumhunterNC Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Another thing worth mentioning is that I’ve taught a couple folks to clean and process deer and the less experienced somebody is the more valuable the replaceable blade knives are, regardless of whether it’s the havalon or the outdoor edge. Somebody who is just learning is going to hit a lot of bone and usually isn’t that skilled at sharpening knives either. If they’re using a standard knife they’ll almost certainly be trying to use a dull knife by the time they’re halfway done and processing a deer for the first couple times is hard enough without having to do it with a dull knife.
     
  11. oldnotdead

    oldnotdead Grizzled Veteran

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    My folding old timers buck knife
     

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