Author Topic: Game processing knife  (Read 6773 times)

Offline heliotropicmoth

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #30 on: November 19, 2012, 12:40:07 PM »
Yeah the knife I am talking about is in pretty bad shape so introducing it to my grinder will probably only improve its chances of being useful.  ;)

Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #31 on: November 19, 2012, 01:08:12 PM »
Might take a look at LEM Products chartruse skinner. I've used mine in the field for gutting and in the kitchen for processing. A friend gave me one a few years ago. It is what he uses when saltwater fishing and discovered it worked just as well on his deer processing. Good all around inexpensive knife, IMO.

http://www.lemproducts.com/product/466/Knives

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Online nelson96

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2012, 01:10:38 PM »
I am looking for a knife to field dress a deer. And since looking into that subject I have noticed a lot of hunters prefer a small knife for this. I am wondering if there is a "one knife", just for field processing, that would work for deer down to squirrel. I am not opposed to owning multiple knives, in fact I do, I just want some recommendations on field dressing knives.

Again, you are confusing the subject, or at least you are confusing me . . .  Do you want a  knife for "field dressing" or one for "processing meat"?  I ask because you keep mentioning both. . . .  I'll assume it's field dressing (gutting, skinning, quartering, boning).

If you don't care how long it takes to field dress an animal or how hard the task is, I guess one knife could work.  In that case I would probably use something like what Mora offers.  And a bird/trout knife would probably serve the purpose, especially if you wanted it to be for both small and large game.

For me . . . .  To be field dress a "deer" specific. . .  And to get by with the least amount of tools. . . .  Any 3" or 4" blade with a decent point on it.  The knife could be fixed or folding, it doesn't matter.  Plus a bone saw to open the ribcage . . . .  This is all assuming that you are taking the animal out whole.  I added the saw because it's nice to gain better access so that you can be precise enough to leave the liver and heart attached (it's a clean and handy way to pack it out) and nothing else, while being able to access the esophagus enough to pull it all the way out too. . . . .  If you're doing more than that, then I would suggest others.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 01:18:37 PM by nelson96 »
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Offline heliotropicmoth

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #33 on: November 19, 2012, 01:16:26 PM »
Might take a look at LEM Products chartruse skinner. I've used mine in the field for gutting and in the kitchen for processing. A friend gave me one a few years ago. It is what he uses when saltwater fishing and discovered it worked just as well on his deer processing. Good all around inexpensive knife, IMO.

http://www.lemproducts.com/product/466/Knives

Nice, that looks a lot like some of the Mora knives. Plus its a local company to me. I may have to pick one up. Thanks

Offline heliotropicmoth

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #34 on: November 19, 2012, 01:20:27 PM »
Again, you are confusing the subject, or at least you are confusing me . . .  Do you want a  knife for "field dressing" or one for "processing meat"?  I ask because you keep mentioning both. . . .  I'll assume it's field dressing (gutting, skinning, quartering, boning).



Sorry for the confusion. I am talking about field dressing animals, not butchering them. I use the term game processing knife in the context of field dressing, not butchering the animal. I understand that you need specialized tools for butchering the animal. In my area I would be field dressing any game and carrying them to my house to butcher later. 

Online nelson96

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2012, 01:36:40 PM »
Sorry for the confusion. I am talking about field dressing animals, not butchering them. I use the term game processing knife in the context of field dressing, not butchering the animal. I understand that you need specialized tools for butchering the animal. In my area I would be field dressing any game and carrying them to my house to butcher later.

In my experience you need less specialized tools for butchering than you do for field dressing.  Much or even all of the boning and cleaning up of the meat can be done with the same knife you used in the field, the only knife I would add would be a butcher knife (for slicing steaks) with a 6" to 10" blade. . . .  I regularly use just three knives for meat processing (butchering) of my deer and elk.  A caping knife with a 3" blade to bone and separate muscle sections (roasts), a fillet knife to remove the silverskin, and a butcher knife with an 8" blade to cut up all the steaks. The caping knife will also be used to deal with the smaller pieces not suitable for steaks.
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Offline heliotropicmoth

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #36 on: November 19, 2012, 01:45:08 PM »
Thanks, what kind of saw do you use for the bones? Speaking of bones, what do you do with them after you have put the meat in the freezer?

Offline livinitup0

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #37 on: November 19, 2012, 01:55:49 PM »
Thanks, what kind of saw do you use for the bones? Speaking of bones, what do you do with them after you have put the meat in the freezer?

doggie treats (if they're raw bones....dont feed them bones if theyve been cooked)
cooking stock/broth
compost

Online nelson96

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #38 on: November 19, 2012, 02:04:53 PM »
Thanks, what kind of saw do you use for the bones? Speaking of bones, what do you do with them after you have put the meat in the freezer?

Hmmm, do you mean the saw I use to split the chest cavity up further?  Other than that and cutting off the head, I don't saw  bones.  All the bones I need to seperate come apart at joints where the use of a saw is not needed.

I've seen a lot of handy saws, I use the GERBER 46036 Exchange-A-Blade Saw w/ locking blade.  It offers a bone blade and a wood blade and folds up pretty compact.



When I'm done processing I take the bones back where I found them and throw them out for the coyotes.
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One hundred thousand generations of people lived and ate as hunter-gatherers, and only two generations have grown up on highly processed fast foods. . .  It's not too late

Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #39 on: November 19, 2012, 02:09:42 PM »
I quite sawing the chest & pelvis out in the field years ago. Tying off the bowel and making a surgical cut around the anus eliminates the need to saw the pelvis.  I only save the liver/heart of young button bucks and not mature deer. This can be done by placing them in a baggie during the field dressing process. YMMV


"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” –U.S. Senator Daniel Webster (1782-1852)


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Online nelson96

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #40 on: November 19, 2012, 02:18:37 PM »
I quite sawing the chest & pelvis out in the field years ago. Tying off the bowel and making a surgical cut around the anus eliminates the need to saw the pelvis.  I only save the liver/heart of young button bucks and not mature deer. This can be done by placing them in a baggie during the field dressing process. YMMV

Yep, cutting the pelvis is for newbies and the chest doesn't have to be cut to deal with what I mentioned, but it helps.  If you eat the liver and heart from a young buck, I'm not sure why you wouldn't use it from another, especially the heart.

I suppose the baggie is one way, but if you have a rifle in one hand and draging the buck with the other, it's a lot easier to just leave it in tact.  And have you ever tried to fit an elk liver in a baggie?
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Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #41 on: November 19, 2012, 02:25:28 PM »
Yep, cutting the pelvis is for newbies and the chest doesn't have to be cut to deal with what I mentioned, but it helps.  If you eat the liver and heart from a young buck, I'm not sure why you wouldn't use it from another, especially the heart.

I suppose the baggie is one way, but if you have a rifle in one hand and draging the buck with the other, it's a lot easier to just leave it in tact. And have you ever tried to fit an elk liver in a baggie?

No. I've not had the opportunity to hunt elk. My response was specifically for deer, per the thread title.

Why I don't use the liver and heart from older deer? Older means more time filtering impurities and potential exposure to disease. In a SHTF situation I'd be more inclined to utilize them than today. Not a big fan of organ meats personally. YMMV

"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” –U.S. Senator Daniel Webster (1782-1852)


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Online nelson96

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #42 on: November 19, 2012, 05:01:21 PM »
Why I don't use the liver and heart from older deer? Older means more time filtering impurities and potential exposure to disease. In a SHTF situation I'd be more inclined to utilize them than today. Not a big fan of organ meats personally. YMMV

We typically partake in just one good meal from the liver on each animal, upon inspection of the overall health of the animal and the liver itself.  I am not concerned.  But the heart?  It's just a muscle itself and in my opinion the best part of the deer if I could only choose one meal.
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One hundred thousand generations of people lived and ate as hunter-gatherers, and only two generations have grown up on highly processed fast foods. . .  It's not too late

Offline Cedar

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #43 on: November 19, 2012, 05:54:54 PM »


I have used this $11 Opinel knife for
  • 8 full sized hogs weighing 298# dressed
  • 3 llama
  • 2-3 deer
  • Countless chickens and turkeys
  • Countless rabbits
  • and the odd goat or sheep
and I am finally going to have to break down and sharpen it before the next creature to butcher. Yes, I did not have to sharpen it at all between any of those animals.

My other main knifes I used before falling in love with the Opinel was Chicago cuttlery knifes. Which I do still use. Mostly the top and the bottom ones.



Due to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) which I have seen in wild ungulates, I no longer go through the spinal column or bone other than the head the rare times, but only when it is already hanging to prevent spinal fluid from getting on the meat. So I have 3 bins. Roasts, steaks and hamburger/jerky. Nothing has bone in.

Cedar


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Online nelson96

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #44 on: November 19, 2012, 06:10:43 PM »
I have used this $11 Opinel knife for
  • 8 full sized hogs weighing 298# dressed
  • 3 llama
  • 2-3 deer
  • Countless chickens and turkeys
  • Countless rabbits
  • and the odd goat or sheep
and I am finally going to have to break down and sharpen it before the next creature to butcher. Yes, I did not have to sharpen it at all between any of those animals.

My other main knifes I used before falling in love with the Opinel was Chicago cuttlery knifes. Which I do still use. Mostly the top and the bottom ones.

Due to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) which I have seen in wild ungulates, I no longer go through the spinal column or bone other than the head the rare times, but only when it is already hanging to prevent spinal fluid from getting on the meat. So I have 3 bins. Roasts, steaks and hamburger/jerky. Nothing has bone in.

Cedar

Yea but you're Cedar  :D . . . .  I use a Chicago Cutlery knife, very similar to the bottom one you pictured, for 95% of my meat processing.  My old (been using it for 35 years and counting) folding Schrade is used 85% of the time in the field.  If it aint broke, don't fix it.

I agree with Cedar on the CWD and precautions taken, though I've never harvested an animal that tested positive or even shown any exterior signs at all.
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One hundred thousand generations of people lived and ate as hunter-gatherers, and only two generations have grown up on highly processed fast foods. . .  It's not too late

Online nelson96

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #45 on: November 19, 2012, 06:41:14 PM »
Tying off the bowel and making a surgical cut around the anus eliminates the need to saw the pelvis. 

Since we're talking knives, the best knife I've ever used for doing the surgical stuff as you call it, are Havalon Knives.  If you're a trophy hunter you won't find anything better for caping around the head and face.  Great for small animals and birds too. 

I haven't changed a blade in 3 years and you never have to sharpen them.

I originally purchased my Piranta with a sheath and extra blades (two different sized blades, which fit in the sheath too).
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One hundred thousand generations of people lived and ate as hunter-gatherers, and only two generations have grown up on highly processed fast foods. . .  It's not too late

Offline LibertyBelle

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #46 on: November 19, 2012, 10:53:46 PM »
Since we're talking knives, the best knife I've ever used for doing the surgical stuff as you call it, are Havalon Knives.  If you're a trophy hunter you won't find anything better for caping around the head and face.  Great for small animals and birds too. 

I haven't changed a blade in 3 years and you never have to sharpen them.

That's what I need...either that, or learn how to really sharpen a knife (probably need to be able to do that anyway).  I tried literally a dozen knives in the drawer, before I found one that was even halfway sharp enough to cut up an 8-week-old frying chicken. Sad, huh?  :(
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Offline RPZ

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #47 on: November 20, 2012, 07:18:44 AM »
Hi all,

I did a search and couldn't find this specific topic discussed. If I missed it please link me.

I got my first squirrel a month ago and after going through nearly every knife in the kitchen I realized I need to get a good game processing knife, as well as learn to sharpen the kitchen knives I have.  I ended up getting the job done but it could have been much easier.

I need a recommendation of a good game processing knife that will last. I understand that a small sharp knife is what is recommended for field dressing a deer. So is there a one knife fits all game option?

My father is a chef and sharpens knives semi-professionally. Looks like I need to go pick the old mans brain and acquire this useful skill set. 

Thanks,
Patrick
If small to medium game are your bag I would get a few Mora "Clipper" knives in carbon or stainless. They are cheap, have excellent steel and good practical handles.

All knives need sharpening often sooner than later. Longivity will largely depend on how often you use it, your sharpening skills and how careful you are.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #48 on: November 20, 2012, 09:36:21 AM »
All knives need sharpening often sooner than later. Longivity will largely depend on how often you use it, your sharpening skills and how careful you are.

That is why I was posting what all I had done with the Opinel.I was amazed at how long it stayed so sharp. I was half avoiding sharpening it however, as I did not want to lose what edge was there. Not all knifes sharpen well either.  Lots of knives you have to sharpen even while butchering. I forgot to add before that with your squirrel I would use a paring knife or something small and skinny.

Cedar
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Offline livinitup0

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #49 on: November 20, 2012, 04:33:59 PM »

Ive been thinking about this more.... for really small game... I think a razor sharp swiss army knife along with the scissors attchment would be the best tool for the job if we're breaking down small squirrel or rabbit. its thin, it can get super sharp, it's somthing you'll probably have on you anyway, it'll last for a long time and as long as the scissors are sharp I think it would be great tool for skinning and breaking through small bones and cartiledge(sp?) too.

If im breaking down anything much bigger than that i'd want my boning knife. 

Offline ChrisFox

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #50 on: November 20, 2012, 06:52:46 PM »
I've always been a cheap sob so I've used what I had at the time. Usually use only two or 3 knives for processing animals. Utility knife for skinning. Old Hickory butcher knife I had in my kitchen drawer for most other things. Or my Schrade pocket knife when I don't have access to the other two. 

Offline blademan

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #51 on: November 20, 2012, 08:54:08 PM »
It all comes down to this, how far and intricately are you going to dress this deer. Is it just a field dress or are you totally processing and skinning and butchering the deer.
    Also how good do you want to do the job?
   There are many decisions you could make based on the answers to those questions. 
 I have never dressed a deer. I am a butcher by trade though not got tons of experience but have done lots of research into what knive are used for what.
  I have to give a nod to razor in that he reccomended that you get you some good professional grade cutlery for this job. Victorinox is a great brand but there are others that may be cheaper or more expensive. Dexter Russel, F. Dick, Cozzini and others are all just about as good as others. Ontario Knives makes a line called Old Hickory which is made of carbon steel which requires careful oiling and storage to prevent rust until you get a patina on it. It comes with a really dull edge in my experience and I think that is so you can put your own edge on it. I mention this for two reasons, they sell a 5 piece package that runs between 15 and 30$ depending on where you get it. Pair that with a skinning knife (which they also sell) and a bone saw (optional but makes things easier sometimes) and you have a pretty good kit that will fit in your hunting pack. The other reason I mentioned it is because you mentioned that you needed to learn to sharpen, these are great learning to sharpen on knives. I was good at sharpening before I got mine and am better after having to spend time with those knives on a stone and a sharpmaker. Onece you learn to sharpen those, you will be able to sharpen just about any knife. You can find them at www.ontarioknife.com if you think that the knives look cheap, its because they are. They are low carbon steel and a cheap but sturdy wood handle with brass rivets. Meant and bones. Once you get them sharp, they with cut for a lifetime and if you loose one, its not a big deal because of the price. People may knock them but for the money they are a great learning to sharpen knife and they have been made in america for over 100 years so they have a track record that you can't sneeze at. They aren't really a belt knife though, you should get knife roll or case that fits in your pack. For a good hunting belt knife, a buck vanguard is a good design and they make one that has a gut hook, so that's a good option too. I own meat knives from several companies and they all work about the same if you take care of them and learn to use them. Another good tool would be a good butchers steel. You don't have to spend much on one, even most of the good ones are in the 10-50$ range but you can spend more. A good rule on length is to get one that is as long as the longest knife you are going to usually use with it. That way you don't have a huge steel to figure out how to pack and end up leaving it at home. You can sharpen long knives on short steels and shot ones on a long steel, so go with what you can carry. Learn to use it while you are learning to sharpen. Its not "hard" but you have to get the feel for it in my experience. Take a sharp knife and cut a bunch of chicken breasts into strips until it starts to drag just a little and the put it on the steel and figure out just how to put the edge back on. There are different types of steels but just a basic medium staight cut is most likely what you will get if you go to a restraunt supply store. I would avoid the polished steels, they are for extremely fine edges that you probably won't need and they are a little harder to use. I hope this has been helpful, pm me if you need anymore suggestions.
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Offline Winston Smith

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #52 on: November 21, 2012, 12:03:11 AM »
Moras are great all around knives, you can even baton firewood if you are REAL careful.   Another good knife would be a Bird and Trout (google it) - they are long, narrow blades, good for making delicate cuts.  I carry one with me a lot of the time when in the woods, just in case a squirrel or brook trout falls over dead right in front of me on the trail.

I'm with you, Moras are one of the simple pleasures of life.  Razor sharp, tougher than hell, and at $10 each you can destroy 8 of them before you would have bought a less durable Gerber(and yes, I do own and like Gerbers too but Moras are something else.
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Offline jim124816

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #53 on: November 22, 2012, 02:35:49 PM »
Like ChrisFox, I generally use what I have in my pocket which is whatever knife is my favorite pocket knife at the time.  This has worked for me for about thirty years. 

The important part, I think we have missed.  Perhaps you should field dress a few more animals and learn what is entailed before you spend a lot of money on specialized equipment/knives.  You may just find that all you need is to sharpen what you have. 

One caveat I'd like to add is that i would personally stay away from partially schraded blades and tanto blades for field dressing and butcher work, they just make the job more difficult. 

For butchering, I usually use the assortment of sharp kitchen knives in my kitchen and my grinder.  I have also been known to use a reciprocating saw (with a clean blade) at times (not on squirrels)

Online nelson96

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #54 on: November 22, 2012, 03:07:30 PM »
i would personally stay away from partially schraded blades and tanto blades for field dressing and butcher work, they just make the job more difficult.

Did you mean serrated?  If so, good point.  I don't own a single serrated knife.

To the point of using any 'ol pocket knife you have on hand. . .  I realize the subject is field dressing deer and not elk.  But one of the guys who elk hunted with us this year got an elk (two days before we did).  He field dressed it (gut it, skinned it, quartered it) with a pocket knife.  It took him a very long time.  When he saw my brother and I do the same to our elk and the ease and much shorter time it took us, he made note of the tools we used.
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Offline trekker111

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #55 on: November 22, 2012, 07:20:55 PM »
I have come to prefer a fish filet knife for the actual processing part of game i harvest. For field dressing big game i love my knives of alaska light hunter, regardless of where i'm doing the work. Sometimes i do it all at the house, but i prefer to gut in the woods, and skin at home.

For small game i usually use whatever pocket knife is in my pocket. Usually thats either a camp king, or an old timer 2 blade. Both are carbon steel and the models both unknown.

Offline jim124816

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #56 on: November 24, 2012, 03:52:28 PM »
Did you mean serrated?  If so, good point.  I don't own a single serrated knife.


Do you think you are better than me because you can spell? 

Just kidding...  yes I meant so spell serrated.  I have never field dressed anything bigger than a whitetail or axis, but I suspect you're (I almost put 'your' as a joke, but I was afraid you would think I was mis'pellin agane) right about doing anything like an elk with any old pocket knife, but like you said, your buddy did it.  But I feel comfortable suggesting that one would be good from squirrel to whitetail with a $20 walmart special pocket knife for field dressing and some butchering. 

I only mentioned the pocket knife because I have, and I have seen others, buy expensive stuff they really don't need for new hobbies.  And because I know me, I'll do it again and wish someone had warned me against the purchase. 

Good thread guys, thanks.

Online nelson96

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #57 on: November 24, 2012, 05:03:01 PM »
Do you think you are better than me because you can spell?

Hell, if they didn't have a spell checker on here, I would look much worse than I do.  Even so, I still misspell stuff, how stupid is that?
“There are few things more pathetic than those who have lost their curiosity and sense of adventure, and who no longer care to learn.”
 ~ Gordon B. Hinckley

One hundred thousand generations of people lived and ate as hunter-gatherers, and only two generations have grown up on highly processed fast foods. . .  It's not too late

Offline TexGuy

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #58 on: November 29, 2012, 09:04:17 PM »
OMG I can't believe all the knifes mentioned here.

For a squirrel, the pocket knife is the way to go. I can't believe some would use 6"+ blades to clean one.

LOL, I think some folks might need to reasses things. A fixed blade isn't an end all for the knife. Quit watching "Survival Man" for everything. The pocket knife is the best knife around.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: Game processing knife
« Reply #59 on: November 29, 2012, 09:34:58 PM »
... The pocket knife is the best knife around.
Disagree. Excluding being handy to carry as an EDC, I would rather have a fixed blade for virtually any use.

Honestly, go to Sam's Club - they have a 2 pack of Bakers & Chefs boning knives for about $8. These would be perfectly acceptable for field dressing or butchering. You would have to come up with your own sheath. (Cardboard and duct tape) These are very similar to knives you will find in most commercial restaurant kitchens. Good size handle.

I'm also an Old Hickory fan.