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Thread: Knives and tools for moose

  1. #1
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    Default Knives and tools for moose

    I lived in the High Arctic for many years and cleaned a lot of caribou. Moved south in the NWT and Yukon and started doing moose. I have really been changing my mind lately about tool choice and now take three knives and an axe or saw. I use a small pocket folder for the initial cuts, a designated skinning knife for skinning and a large straighter knife for quarter removal. The axe or saw is for ribs or briskets. My knives get thinner and lighter every 5 years or so.

    I do the gutless skinning thing. The knife that has taken my fancy is the Victorinox lamb skinner. What a great blade!

    What do you folks use? I use to be into rifle and caliber talk but now I just love the technical aspects of meat care. My caliber quest ended when I started using the 358 Norma. Now that nerdish part of my brain worries about knives. saws, axes and game bags.

    My further thoughts on you tube here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WoTcnlhrZI

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    I use a Hand made Puuko type knife with a 4 inch drop point blade.
    Moose, Ox, Caribou , Bears, Fur, I do it most all with the same knife.

    I also have 3 or 4 other knifes with me or on my ride while hunting and on -30, I often swap knifes and sharpen later if theres alotta gutting/fur skinning going on.

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    Thanks mate: I know what you mean about cold weather...not much time for sharpening then!

  4. #4

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    I have been a big fan of victorinox myself for years, but am looking into the havalon knives

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    For several moose, the only knife I used was a Buck 110, this last year I tried out the swing blade, it worked fine.
    Alaskans for Alaska

  6. #6

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    At this point in time my favorite moose knife is the ESEE Izula. It is a light weight fixed blade with a skeletonized handle and made from 1095 tool steel. Although it is not a "stainless steel" this blade is tough as nails, holds a great edge, and it is priced right.

    For years I used a 4.75" fixed blade helle safari. The safari is a fine blade but the blade length I find excessive. The 3" blade of the Izula is quick and controllable in hand. This makes for quicker moose work. My favorite aspect of this knife is it can be found in the $40 range. At that price I don't mind digging sockets or rubbing bone, all of which could roll, chip, dull, or even ruin and edge.

    The Izula is pure utility and it does it well.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunner View Post
    I have been a big fan of victorinox myself for years, but am looking into the havalon knives
    If you use your knife as a pry bar, look into a heavy buck knife instead. I don't pry with my knife, so I love my havalon just fine. Disposable blades are cheap and great, but do know that they sharpen up faster than a non-disposable blade, since they're so thin.
    Once you go Havalon, you won't go back.
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    I own a havilion and use it quite often to skin trapped game, but I can't even imagine using it as a general big game knife. I would agree it is a great knife for fine detail work but that would be the extent of it's use IMO.

    Why not carry one knife that can do it all and do it all fairly well? The havillon doesn't do that for me.

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    I spend about 4+ hours to dismember a moose. There are many steps along the way. I looked for a long time for the one knife that could do it all. The closest for me has been the Spyderco C48 Wegner. However when I take 3 knives each optimized for one of the meat processing task I get an increase in efficiency. I have started to think about butchering kit with designated special use tools rather than all purpose tool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoose35 View Post
    For several moose, the only knife I used was a Buck 110, this last year I tried out the swing blade, it worked fine.
    Could you get the European gut hook on the swing blade to work or am I misunderstanding your choice?

  11. #11

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    I use a Helle skinning blade with a 4" length and rounded nose. If I'm packing light or plan to cape out the moose, i opt for a surgical blade with rounded tip (#70) with a rubber handle for grip control.

    Of course I use TAG Bags for quality synthetic game bags (usually 6 per moose with a spare camp meat bag).

    meat thermometer is critical for monitoring deep tissue core temps each day, which helps me decide what steps are needed for proper meat care.

    A bone saw is a must when removing the antler cap.

    And a meat hook with a t-handle grip is a must have item for handling heavy qrtrs.

    moose skinning kit.jpg

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Have done a bunch of moose over the years. We process at least one and norm is two a year. This year I was on four. The best system we've found, and hands down, is the cutco double d. Three guys each with one of those and we have a moose carved up in no time flat. Throw in a battery sawzall and its a nice system. I love the Havelon, but only use them on a moose if I'm doing the cape. And I second family man on the sharpening of the havelon. For a long time I was throwing them away. Just takes a few seconds on the huter honer and they are back to razor sharp.
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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by North61 View Post
    Could you get the European gut hook on the swing blade to work or am I misunderstanding your choice?
    The gut blade worked as advertised
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    Larry....your video on meat handling persuaded me to order a meat hook and a good thermometer. Great stuff. Also a good primer on gutless skinning. Another great video is The Caribou Hunters out of the NWT. It is made by two Metis hunters and is first rate.

    One of the lads used a skinning type blade and it got me thinking.

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    I tried the gut blade on a January moose and couldn't get the button under the hide easily. I abandoned it. Maybe fall moose are less tightly attached to their skins.

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Did a cow moose this fall. Cutco double D and a havalon. The double D blade is sharp but will also do duty as a saw to some extent.
    We did have a small hand saw also.
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    a buck 119 with a long bevel and a $20 stanly sharp saw, 2 tool I don't leave home without. The long bevel on the knife has went many years without a stone
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  18. #18
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    I really like using my Cutco DD serrated drop point, will do 3 animals without needing sharpening.

    Lately all I have been using is my Havalon, Cutco folding Serrated (for the joints) and a utility knife with roofing blades. It has to be seen to believe how well that roofing blade is at cutting hide. It will open game like a zipper.

    The new Cutco folding pocket knives are awesome, I just wish they came with orange handles, had to paint mine.

    Anyone can butcher any game animal using only a knife, you just need to know where to cut the joints at.

    I will second Larry Bs recommendation for using a small hook when butchering game. The hook gives you a positive grip and will not slip, saves you from cutting you or your buddy and is really awesome on greasy bears.

    A pair of gloves also is required gear for me, can not count how many small cuts and nicks they have saved me, plus they help keep your hands cleaner.

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    I wish I had a video of MARV1 and a buddy of his when they cut up my moose on the lower Yukon. I tried to help but was only in the way. Marv had a couple knives, his buddy unrolled a professional knife roll with several knives and sharpening tools. That moose was skinned and cut up into major pieces and in the boat in 45 minutes flat, Jesus as my witness. When they got to the ribs, I asked Marv if he needed my little axe, he told me "I don't use an axe on my meat". Uhh...okay. I just watched as he removed the ribs from the backbone with the tip of his knife.
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    A utility knife to open them up, a buck skinner cause it was a gift from me son,a wyoming saw just in case I miss the joint and am in a hurry.

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