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  1. #1
    Plinker
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    Feb 2017
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    Recommendations on a small game knife

    Hey, all. I was hoping someone could pitch a few recommendations on a fixed blade knife for skinning and cleaning small game. I have had a couple of...gnarly experiences this year trying to field dress squirrels with a standard pocket knife. The last one I brought home and was working on with a freakin' razor blade because my EDC knives all seemed laughably dull for the job.

    I don't need serrations or a lot of length. Mainly I just need something sharper, with a sheath capable of being attached to a 2.25 web belt. Don't want to drop a ton of money but I also don't mind spending a little to be able to perform this task easier.

  2. #2
    Knifeholic Bradsknives's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
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    Benchmade Hunt Series.....Great Knives, high quality, USA made, life time warranty.

    Benchmade | Hunting Knives

    Regardless of the quality of a knife, if you don't keep them sharp, they simply won't do the job. What you do get when you buy a quality knife with quality materials (blade steel) is blade toughness, and better edge retention (less sharpening).
    Last edited by Bradsknives; 3 Days Ago at 07:29.

  3. #3
    Plinker
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    Mar 2009
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    Lots of great knives out there to do the job. I'm sure Brad can help you find something that matches your criteria. Like Brad said, you could spend $1,000 on a knife but it is useless if it isn't kept sharp. If that is an issue for you, you might look at the Havalon knives like the Piranta. It is not a fixed blade and isn't something that you might consider an heirloom piece to hand down, but it is very functional. A lot of people rave about them. I have no first hand experience, but it seems pretty self explanatory. It is basically a knife shaped razor blade with a handle. If it gets dull, you pop a new blade in there. The thing I don't like about them is that they are folding, so I imagine they are a little more tedious to clean but I haven't heard this complaint. Also probably easier to clean than the inside of your sheath after you put your dirty knife back in the field.

  4. #4
    I would suggest just a Buck 110 from Walmart if that’s what your uses are. Even novices can get that blade operating room sharp.

    Made in USA. A classic. But probably under $30 around This time of the year.

    Ive had literally thousands of dollars of folders. All that high end Chris Reeve, ZT, Strider, etc. A Buck 110 rides in my pocket every day now. And has for the last year.
    Train at Mindset Lab

  5. #5
    Master
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    Dec 2009
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    Some personal observations from a guy who used to skin lots of fur. These are fixed blades as they clean up easier. It would be nothing to skin 12 rats 3 coon and a fox in a night. Have a couple of knives sharp and ready to switch out if one dulls. If you are doing 5 squirrels or lass one should do fine if it starts sharp. Looks up skinning squirrels on YouTube but my buddy from the Shawnee national forest in southern Illinois I use his method with electrician snip for the feet and the gutting just need a knife for the first cut only. Once you get it down this way it takes under two minute a squirrel. Electric snips at any hardware store just scissors on steroids. 14 bucks max. Get a pair.

    I have a true fondness for Case knives. They makes somenice small game knives the hunter xx series m3 Finn is the close copy of my old one most likely older than I am and I am 52. It is on the large size for grey squirrels fine on fox squirrels and larger small game. The one I got was used a lot before I got it. It has been used a lot more now. I would say the blade is now much smaller than it started at. Much smaller. Get a nice stone also.

    For grey squirrels muskrats and fox squirrels I like a bird and trout sized knife. The cold steel pendleton mini hunter AG Russell woods walker or AG Russell bird and trout. Sharade sharpfinger are all good knives for the work worth we’ll above the asking price.

    If you want a folder a case trapped or any trapper style blade that locks.

    Never wanted to worry about a high price knife for skinning fur. Cut into the profit and the few cheap ones I had could hold a good edge. Squirrel tails were going for 20 cents each. Nothing wrong with brads Benchmade recommendation but I have not used one. Benchmade is more expensive than my recommendation heck you could get 15 woodswalker for the price of a benchmade.

  6. #6
    Master
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    Outta office is his you tube handle. Once you do it like this you won’t need much of a knife for squirrels.

  7. #7
    Grandmaster patience0830's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
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    Knives of Alaska Cub. Perfect size from squirrels to deer. Though when i clean squirrels i do 95% of the work with a pair of game shears.
    It requires an O'dark30 workout, not layin' in the fart sack.

  8. #8
    Plinker Redleg11b's Avatar
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    May 2017
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    Middlebury
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    I had asked a similar question myself not too long ago. I had been using a Loveless designed semi-skinner with a 4.5" blade. It worked well, but I found it a little large and cumbersome for small game. A set of kitchen shears or electricians snips was recommended for dealing with the feet/legs. There are several recommendations above that say the same thing. I basically use the "Squacks Method". One time I was out, I forgot to put the knife in my pack while I was deciding on a replacement. When I got back to my truck, I remembered that I had a CRKT Dogfish neck knife stowed in the dash. I have the version without serrations. I use this knife a lot while camping for food prep, whittling, etc. It worked like a champ making the initial slice at the base of the tail, and was easy to manipulate through the joints to get rid of the feet and head. The best part is that there is no handle scale material to get stuff between, and the design of the handle provides a positive slip free grip.

    One or two other things about this great little knife should be noted. The sheath will not maintain an adequate level of retention after about 50 draws. I keep it in a small pocket of my hunting pack now. I have used small diameter shock cord to fashion a loop to the sheath that catches the bottle opener hook. What?!? a bottle opener on this knife? Yes, this is also the knife I take on hikes when the goal is to get somewhere to sit and enjoy a refreshing brew by a fire and imagine myself in another time. The bottle and knife will bring me back to modern times, but it is another great excuse to get this knife. The knife does come adequately sharpened for use, however, get it honed well before you use it and the edge will last longer. I have a Work-Sharp that I run the blade over the lapping grit belt after every couple hunts/camp trips. I have never had an issue that required me to use a more aggressive grit than that once the initial edge geometry was obtained. If using stones, just touch it up with the finest grit you have every now and then for the same thing. I have a friend that got this knife on my recommendation and used the rubber grip dip from Lowes to give it a yellow handle. He also dusted it with sand while it was still wet. It is another easy modification if you want a little more substance in you hand.

    Bottom line, there are many knives out there that will do the job with ease, and it looks like everyone here has given you some good suggestions. I am still thinking about a Schrade Sharpfinger though. Let us know what you end up with and your thoughts after you use it.


    You are now what you are becoming. -Unknown

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