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Thread: preferred hunting knife

  1. #1

    Default preferred hunting knife

    In looking at people gear lists, it seems that Havalon knives seem to get the nod these days. I don't have any experience with this system, but it seems to me the blades would be flimsy. Of course, if they are mainly used for skinning and caping, then they would probably be the ticket. I am just wonder if this system is better than the traditional folders. Do you use these knives just for caping or are they used as your general duty knife as well on your backpack tripsl?

    A couple of years ago, I upgraded my knife and went with a DiamondBlade folding/locking Hunter. I caped and broke down/deboned my san juan bull elk last year with it and it still shaves hairs. it was so nice not to have to sharpen midway through the job! of course the bummer side of it is that i have to send it back to the factor to get effectively sharpened. Will see how it performs this year

    So back to my original question...Havalon knives verses the more traditional folding or fixed blade knives. What do you prefer and why?

  2. #2
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I have dressed Moose, Caribou, Sheep, Goat, and multiple bears and find the Havalon simply awesome for everything but removing the heads. I have never had an issue with breaking blades unless I got in a hurry and tried twisting them. Havalon has come out with thicker blades now. Also the blunt tip 22XT blades can not be beat for caping, the blunt tip allows for quick caping without cutting holes in the hide. For removing the heads and tsk that require a stronger blade I carry a Cutco serrated folder.

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  3. #3
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I'm old style with many fixed and pocket knifes plus a half dozen hatchets. A Case trapper and hatchet can do all that need done.JMOSO
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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jab7275 View Post
    So back to my original question...Havalon knives verses the more traditional folding or fixed blade knives. What do you prefer and why?
    I've used a Havalon for a couple of years and find that it is "okay." I've used one to skin (at least in part) 3 moose, 3 brown bears, 2 caribou, several beaver and a variety of small game so I've a little bit of experience with it. It is small and lightweight so I'll keep toting one along as a backup, but I prefer a knife with a bit more heft for most skinning/quartering duties.
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  5. #5
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    I don't hunt with a knife. However, when applicable I like to skin out large animals with a CutCo DoubleD. For caping I like the Havalon
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

  6. #6
    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    I don't really have a preferred brand of hunting knife. As long as it has more critter blood on it than my own blood, I'm pretty happy with it.

  7. #7

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    I've been a fan of the Cutco. I just ordered the new one with the gut hook on it. All my other Cutco hunting knives have the Double D, so this one I got with the regular edge. It should be in next week, so hopefully I'll get a chance to put it to good use in May.


  8. #8
    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    I like the havalon. Pretty much been doing everything with it... till I run outta blades! But I pack the Kodiak Skining pack, or whatever it is called. Like using the saw when needed, and like the larger knife for the main skinning. I'm slowly going to the havalon for all it, cept the saw, especially since they are getting the slightly larger blades. Jen and Bob won't use anything but the havalon for all their skinning now.
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  9. #9
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    I bought a Havalon last year but gave it away after using it. It was sharp but my regular knives are sharper. it was just too flimsy adn light for my likeing and changing the blade just dosen't feel safe. Most of my work is done with a Wyoming Saw, Camillus Skinning Knife and a Rigid Bowie which weighs about 5-6 ounces and is crazy sharp. I have a couple of the Cutco serrated knives. One I bought one they gave me. They were bothed used once and now collect dust. Too light weight and not all that sharp. They do have a pretty sheath though.

  10. #10
    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    I always have my Busse Combat SAR4 on my belt for heavy duty work, it's just the Tweaner thickness 3/16", but plenty sturdy for quartering and beheading chores. FWIW when you order a Busse they come in three thickness, Leaner 1/8, Tweaner 3/16, and Fatty 1/4". They are made of some proprietary steel called INFI, have no idea what that means but it stays sharp forever once you get an edge on it.
    I also always have my Case XX Trapperlock in my pantpocket anytime I have clothes on. It has a yellow handle, just like every other Case I've ever owned, if the handle isn't yellow it don't go in my pocket, not sure why just been that way since I was little. I have probably taken care of more game with a yellow Case over the years than all the other knives I've owned put together. I even skinned a brownbear with my old yellow handled Sodbuster Jr, when other belt knives failed me it kept on chugging.

    If I'm expecting heavy work I'll slide the R&R Alaska knives Master Hunter on my belt next to the Busse. Also always bring either an Estwing shortaxe and or a saw if hunting something other than bears and bigger than deer. Always have a SpiderCo doublestuf ceramic stone in my backpack for the knives as well as a 6" child of unknown lineage file if the axe is along.

    Overall I don't care for anything with replaceable blades, plastic sheaths or ugly handles. I know I know handle color doesn't make a knife, but it makes it mine.
    Last edited by The Kid; 04-27-2012 at 19:09. Reason: Wouldn't let me say ******* file

  11. #11
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    I really like the outdoor edge swing blade. I have done six big game animals and countless small game and the edge is still razer sharp. The gut hook on it is just phenominal. You don't have to worry about puncturing the gut cavity and working up the the legs is a breaze. I have a friend that has a havalon and he says its a good knife but it is down right scary changing the blades. He recomends using a leatherman to change the blade because one slip and you'll be leaking all over the place. I personally like a knife with a good solid handle that fits comfortably in my hand and a blade that will not flex if you get a little agressive with your skinning. The swing blade will probably be the last knife I ever buy.

  12. #12
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Knife selection is almost as controversial as gun selection, but here goes...

    With the exception of the occasional Leatherman, I have not carried a belt knife for years. I just don't see the sense in it. Especially if it's a skinning / caping / boning knife. I mean, if the only time you plan to use it is on a kill, it doesn't make sense to me to carry the darn thing on my belt for the whole hunt. I carry mine in a ziplock bag with my spare knife, sharpening tools and so forth. The bag stays in the side pocket of my pack until we kill something, and my pack stays with me the entire hunt. It's just the system I prefer and it seems to make sense.

    I really like the Helle Nying or Fjording, and the Havalon. I carry both.

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  13. #13
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    Overall I don't care for anything with...... ugly handles.
    LOL my Kershaw Echo definitely falls in that category.....but it'll cut through a moose hock in two swipes, take a quarter off in a couple more, good skinner, too. I'd love to get a knife from forum member seved, he makes some of the sweetest looking blades I've seen. Got no use for a knife I can't sharpen myself, and throwaway blades are for hangin' drywall....
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  14. #14
    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    I love the double d cutco and the havelon as well. On my havelon I carry a small pair of needle nose pliers that fit right in the havelon case and work real good for changing blades. I've been using the same blade for a long time though just a quick couple swipes down the hunter honer sharpener, and they are good as new.
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  15. #15
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Mark me down in the Cutco and havelon camp as well. The thing I like best about my Cutco is that I don't need to carry any sharpening tools at all. My two cutcos have now been through at least five caribou, two deer, and a few other associated critters without sharpening. Yeah, it's time for a touch-up, but the blades are that good - and my pack is that much lighter without having to carry a stone or a steel.

  16. #16
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    I don't like a havalon for boning meat. Great for anything having to do with thin skin though on anything short of a moose.

    For boning meat, I like one non-serrated victorinox paring knife that's either new or wearing a scary-sharp edge from my lansky. Add to that a pocket ceramic cross-stick that weighs very little for touching up while working.

    I just weighed the orange handled havalon, four extra blades, one victorinox parer in its fancy duct tape reinforced sheath, and my little plastic cross sticks and the whole shebang goes 3.8 ounces. That's about the same weight as a real svelte fixed blade conventional knife. I'd be curious what Brian's cutco weighs in comparison. Nice to have a flexible blade for boning.

    For moose I add a sturdy fixed-blade knife to the havalon and vicky, doubling the knife weight. I don't like the havalon for going through moose hide.

  17. #17

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    Nothing beats a Case Buffalo/Bulldog folder for taking apart a moose! You guys can have those flimsy throw aways! I may be a little biased though. (grin) However, I did use a Havalon to skin a Wolf this winter and it worked well.

    Mike... That Helle thing/knife you posted is hideous!

  18. #18

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    I have read numerous rave reviews about the Cutco's yet I'm still skeptical.

    What steel does Cutco use for their knives? In regards to knife quality steel choice is a major consideration. I looked at their website and couldn't find the answer. Usually when a knife maker doesn't list their steel it is of for a good reason. Maybe I missed it? Several google searches listed 440A as Cutco's main steel which is a low to medium grade stainless steel depending on treatment and Rockwell hardness. Definitely not junk but better options are available like 440C, Aus8, VG10 and one of my favorites for field dressing is 1095 A Sog field pup with Aus8 is available for $20 with similar ergos to the Cutco. An ESSE Izula (my current favorite) goes for $45 and it is incredibly light weight. What does the Cutco Hunter sell for?

    Before I make up my mind I need to get a Cutco in my hands but my initial impression after some research is the Cutco's are more hype and marketing than anything else. I have used many knives that were highly regarded and I found them lacking. Some of the best knives, cheap and expensive, I stumbled across.

  19. #19

    Default Havalon, hands down

    Quote Originally Posted by jab7275 View Post
    So back to my original question...Havalon knives verses the more traditional folding or fixed blade knives. What do you prefer and why?
    Cutco makes a very very fine knife. Stays sharp longer than any blade I've seen afield.

    Buck makes a really great and very strong knife that you can twist any which way, or chop down a small tree with it, without hurting the blade. And they look cool.

    But Havalon takes the cake, if you're the kind of guy that (in pre-Havalon times) used to skin and butcher big game with a filet knife (that used to be my favorite) then skip the Havalon. You won't like it, and you'll bust a blade every few minutes, every time you twist it instead of cutting meat with it.

    One concern I have with the Havalon (as previously posted here) is changing the blades; I'm scared to do it without a pair of pliers. The other concern I have with the Havalon is more about me than it; when I miscut (cutting the wrong animal), it'll go clear down to the bone in your finger before you get a chance to slow it's progress down. I'm pretty sure that almost every big game animal I've butchered since getting a Havalon (is it 4? or 5?) I've used a piece of duct tape to stop my own blood flow, and then continue working on the animal, until I was done. I take responsibility for that; being sharp is not my knife's fault. Duct tape will stay on your wound and not shed off like a band aid will, when you're still in the thick of things.
    Dear whatever doesn't kill me, I'm strong enough now. Thanks.

  20. #20

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    Cutcos were the hype 20 years ago. They would actually send a Rep. out to your house and give you a demonstration! Maybe they still do. We used them for years and they worked great. But, we considered them "throw away" knives. You would have to throw it away after skinning 4 Moose.. Because, sending them back for a sharpening seemed like a pain. We had the Cutco guy over a few times.

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