Be a serious or recreational deer hunter, among many gears you have to bring with you, you absolutely understand the importance of properly field-dressing your kill – why have you chosen the best skinning knife for deer? Getting meat from animals to the table may take some effort, but not all knives can serve that purpose. If you have a poor knife, it may take all afternoon, affecting the flavor of your meal.
This means it is extremely important to have the best one. So what makes a knife a good skinner? This article will help you have a general guide on skinning blades. Also, below you will see the best skinning knives I recommend for you, and you can use this guide to pick the best for you.
But first of all, you have to know clearly about types of knives which can be used for deer hunting.
Types of skinning knives
There are basically three types of skinning knives:
Folding skinning knife
As you know, a skinner knife is small, but the folding one can make itself smaller. With compact design, it helps you easily move around and makes yourself safer. In addition, this type of skinning knife can offer special changeable blades.
Fixed-blade skinning knife
I’m sure that most people know this type. Because of less or no movable parts, the fixed-blade knife seems to be stronger than a folding one. And it is perfect for heavy duty stuff and lasts longer.
This is a special type of knife with added features for quickly skinning or opening animal’s abdomen without slicing organs. Therefore, this knife is designed with a small hook-like part which slices through the skin but still used as a traditional skinning knife.
How to pick the best skinning knife for deer
If you are not sure what makes a good skinning knife, here are some key points to consider.
Folding vs. fixed blade
This factor is just based on your personal opinion. You can deny the compact convenience that the folding one brings to. However, have you ever thought about cleaning deer fat out of the nooks and crannies of a folding blade? OMG, it’s absolutely hard to any hunters. If you pick the folding one, you should focus on cleaning the locking system. Remove dirt, hair, meat, blood, and fat on your knife, or it can smell pretty bad.
So, for me, a fixed blade knife seems to be better for skinning tasks. Perfect for rough jobs, fixed blade will be stronger, less likely to break in the middle of separating a joint as folding knife, and are way easier to keep clean.
A note about a gut hook, this is used to cut a clean line up the center of a fresh kill for super easy field dressing. They look cool.
On every skinner, the tip is designed for precision cuts, and deep belly provides a nice, long cut stroke. Remember that bigger isn’t always better. A smaller one will be easier for you to reduce the possibility of nicking the hide or leaving some of that precious meat attached to the skin. For deer, a long knife (3 ½ to 5 inches) will make your job go faster.
Stainless Vs. High Carbon Blade Steel
No one wants to stop in the middle of removing a hide to sharpen a dull knife. So, keep in your mind that the type of steel will determine its strength, how easy it is to sharpen, and how well it will hold an edge. Then, stainless or high carbon, which is better?
The difference between them is that some chromium tossed into steel’s basic iron/carbon cocktail create stainless. This helps stainless steel to resist rust and corrosion. So, perfect for skinning job, right? But it comes with a price.
Apart from that, high carbon steel is more durable and stays sharper longer than stainless.
Handle Design and Material
The handle is also important. The best choice is a handle with an ergonomic design and a slip-resistant coating. Easy to hold onto even when your hands are wet.
3 Best skinning knife for deer I choose
Gerber Strongarm Fixed Blade Coyote Knife
One of the most effective knives that I want to introduce is Gerber Strongarm Fixed Blade Coyote Knife. It can be used for many applications from survival to hunting.
This Portland knife has a 420HC ceramic-coated steel blade which measures 4.8 inches in length. The total length of this is 9.8 inches – reasonable size – so, it can handle a lot of applications. It is lightweight at 7.2 ounces itself and about 11 ounces with strap and sheath. Additionally, with the full tang construction, it can cut anything from wood and paper to rope and even thin metal. However, steel may be a downside of this knife because it requires regular sharpening to retain the sharpness and keen.
About the handle, with a rubberized diamond texture grip, a lanyard hole at the base and a striking pommel, this becomes an effective knife. In which, the rubberized texture will save yourselves while skinning your prey. The small hole to place the lanyard and the proportions between the handle and the blade make it comfortable to hold. And its design is suitable for people with both small and large hands.
This Gerber has one of the most versatile sheaths in this category because it can be carried either vertically or horizontally, in your backpack or on yourself.
Some pros and cons of Gerber Strongarm Fixed Blade Coyote knife:
Extremely functional knife
Not effective for aggressive use
High-quality and corrosion resistant coating blade
A good skinning knife with 9.1/10 rate, this Gerber unit is definitely worthy of your consideration.
Ka-Bar Becker BK-2
Next, take a look on another good knife – Ka-Bar Becker BK-2, which is made in USA. If you are looking for a truly ultimate survival, hunting blade, I am sure that it will be your favorite thanks to its many excellent features.
This knife made of 1095 Cro-Van steel that is plain carbon steel. This material makes the tool easy to sharpen. Thanks to the fixed blade design, don’t worry about the knife closing on your finger and the cutting is also safer. In addition, unlike other knives, there is no joint in the middle of the tool, so you can easily handle the force when slashing or chopping. Thicker stock makes greater force as well, moving faster.
The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 is designed with the blade length of 5.25 inches, which helps you to easily manipulate during usage. With 1 pound and an overall length of 10.5 inches, this hunting knife ensures optimum handling. In addition, it has a flat grind tapering from the top of the blade onto the cutting edge, so you can be easy to sharpen it.
One of the outstanding points of this knife is the Ultramid® handle which is made from high-density Grivory plastic. Thanks to this material, this has been given glass reinforcement to make the component tougher and more stunning. Also, the full grip provides a sure and comfortable feeling by the wide, rounded ergonomic curves of the handle.
Apart from a strong handle, this knife also has a special blade. With 100% of synthetic, the blade is strong enough to control every survival need of your hunting trip. Moreover, this is designed with the 20-degree edge angle which is ahrp and hardy enough to take a lot of abuse. It offers sustained resistance against stress by the hefty ¼-inch flat ground blade.
The knife is made of steel and protected by the black non-reflective coating. You will pay attention to the small cutout near the very end of the edge, right? It allows sharpening of the knife edge without running into the handle and makes a great fire starter.
When picking this Ka-Bar Becker BK2, you will also have a MOLLE compatible hard plastic glass-filled nylon sheath made in Taiwan. It helps your tool safe and easy to carry, but it makes loud when inserting knife. On top of that, this knife has the limited lifetime warranty and a distinct assurance of total quality and premium craftsmanship.
Let’s see the pros and cons of this Ka-Bar Becker BK-2:
Strong, solid build
Loud when inserting knife
Limited lifetime warranty
Textured coating can cause resistance when cutting
Come with necessary accessories
But with me, this knife can do anything, from chopping onions to cutting wood, or skinning deer. It rates 9.3/10 – one of best skinning knife for deer, believe me!
The last skinning knife that I want to share with you is Buck 119 – a USA classic hunting knife around for nearly 50 years.
Let’s take a general look on this. Buck 119 knife has a 6 inch blade and 10.5 inches overall. Its blade is made of 420HC which is an older type of steel but still works great. About the black handle, it is Phenolic – an extra hard plastic and has so slight finger grooves at the bottom. Specially, this handle is not slippery when wet. It has an aluminum guard and butt, so make sure that you don’t use it for hammer.
About the sheaths, it seems to be that Buck 119 only produces leather sheaths for older version. Now they are replaced by nylon sheaths. But you can still find it online for $10-$15.
This solid fixed blade knife is used for outdoor activity, helping you effectively cut. But for me, this 6” clip point blade is too large for field dressing deer, because it can make puncturing intestines or stomach, even cut yourself when working up in deer’s chest cavity.
Lightweight yet substantial at 7.5 ounces, you can easy carry this Buck 119 in a knife holder on your belt so you have easy access to it consistently.
Here are some pros and cons of Buck 119:
Great edge retention
Not exactly full tang
Easy to sharpen
Too big for EDC
Extremely well build
Made in USA
Buck 119, why not? I rate it 9.9/10 for an unforgettable hunting. So let’s pick it ASAP.
In short, to choose a skinning knife for deer, you have to consider a couple of factors like comfortable grip or sharp blade. I hope that through this article you can have the bets skinning knife for your deer hunting. If you have any recommended skinning knives, leave it in the comment below. Thanks for reading and sharing.