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Thread: Hatchet for butchering?

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    Member tekla's Avatar
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    Default Hatchet for butchering?

    Does using a hatchet for butchering help? I was watching the meateater and he uses a hatchet to split the hip I gues on a caribou. Then he is able to gut it right out the back. I have never done it that way and just curious. I have used one on a moose for removing antlers but never in the butchering process. Thanks

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Never used one or seen one used.....a good handsaw is a must, though....you can split the pelvis, sternum, remove antlers and ribs, etc....
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I've used one. Good for breaking the pelvis and great for skinning if it has a flay poll. Not so good for splitting the sternum or removing a skull plate without a lot of drama.

    Mostly use a Wyoming saw now since it's smaller, lighter and folds up in my pack easier.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    All you need to butcher a caribou and moose is a knife. I don't like recommend using a hatchet because if a person is not experience he could hurt himself. I prefer using a small carpenter hand saw.

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    Attachment 69497I love that 'MacGyver' is the one who says all you need is a knife Used hatchets before to split sternum, but that's it. If I'm 4-wheeler hunting I have my sawzall with 3 batteries. It will do antlers, sternum, pelvis, ribs, etc. Otherwise its a wyoming saw and my Havalon, that's it. I took care of this guy with my Havalon and Dewalt, in the middle of the flooding last September.
    Last edited by sockeye1; 03-31-2013 at 12:54. Reason: adding pic
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    All you need to butcher a caribou and moose is a knife. I don't like recommend using a hatchet because if a person is not experience he could hurt himself. I prefer using a small carpenter hand saw.
    Agreed, my oldest son killed his first bull last year and I showed him how to quarter him up with two Pirahna knives and one fixed blade. In the meat sacks and outta there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Good for breaking the pelvis and great for skinning if it has a flay poll.
    I just got a gransfors bruks hunter's ax with a flay poll, can't wait to try it out! Thing is sharp enpugh to shave with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    I just got a gransfors bruks hunter's ax with a flay poll, can't wait to try it out! Thing is sharp enpugh to shave with.
    Dave that is just what I used on my moose. I thought since it was for butchering, I could cut bones as, like you said, they are sharp. So I cut up the hind quarters and other bones with it. When we got to my buddies moose later in the trip I noticed the sharp edge looked like it was serrated! I was not happy. Of course I sent it back and they fixed but I thought it should have done better. Don't know if mine wasn't hard enough or maybe it wasn't made for cutting moose bones, but won't take it again. Knife and small saw next time. Let us know if you have different results.

    Mark

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    I don't think I would use it to cut a bone, I can disjoint them easy enough with a knife. Could see an ax being useful to pop ribs, and I want to try the flay poll on skinning. I have done plenty of moose with a Wyoming saw and a couple knives or an ulu. Always take them apart from the back, just keep removing pieces until there's nothing left but a gut pile.
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    What is the flay poll you are talking about?

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    The distinguishing feature of the Hunters Axe is the “flay poll”. The poll (side of the head opposite the blade) of the axe is carefully rounded and burnished to assist in removing the hide from an animal such as a moose. If an animal has been aging with the hide on, or if the carcass has been frozen, the hide can be very difficult to remove. The flay poll can assist greatly in such a situation. The hunter will pull the hide with one hand and strike with the flay poll at the point where the hide is attached by membranes to the carcass. The flay poll is blunt, so it will not slice meat or hide, but will break the connective tissues between the hide and the carcass.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markopolo50 View Post
    Dave that is just what I used on my moose. I thought since it was for butchering, I could cut bones as, like you said, they are sharp. So I cut up the hind quarters and other bones with it. When we got to my buddies moose later in the trip I noticed the sharp edge looked like it was serrated! I was not happy. Of course I sent it back and they fixed but I thought it should have done better. Don't know if mine wasn't hard enough or maybe it wasn't made for cutting moose bones, but won't take it again. Knife and small saw next time. Let us know if you have different results.

    Mark
    It's important to note that the hunters axe is intended for skinning and meat work. As Dave noted, when properly sharpened you can shave with it. The blade is quite thin with almost no cheek to it and it is NOT intended for splitting wood or striking bone. Such abuse will result in a dinged, flaked, or chipped blade. Traditionally it's used in place of a knife, similarly to how an ulu is held and used. The rounded poll makes it comfortable in the hand when slicing and cutting, and is used as Dave described for quick efficient skinning (it's super fast with two people).
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    Thanks. I learned something today.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Not much you can't do with a ulu and a good hatchet is an ulu with a handle.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    The only thing I use a hatchet for is removing antlers from the skull. Everything else comes off with a knife, with the exception of the ribs, which are removed with a folding saw. I've used the hatchet for the ribs, but it leaves jagged edges of bone that will lacerate your game bags, allowing flies inside. The hatchet I use is an Estwing Camper's Axe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    The only thing I use a hatchet for is removing antlers from the skull. Everything else comes off with a knife, with the exception of the ribs, which are removed with a folding saw. I've used the hatchet for the ribs, but it leaves jagged edges of bone that will lacerate your game bags, allowing flies inside. The hatchet I use is an Estwing Camper's Axe.

    -Mike
    True, the hatchet leaves some jagged edges, I temper this by using an old bedsheet to wrap around it before putting it in the bag. But as we're often boat hunting somene usually has a sawzall.....that is the ticket. Have done a few sets of ribs with a big K Bar knife and popped the rib "joints".....takes a while compared to other methods I thought but makes a nice product in the end.

    I use a gerber sport axe.....does a nice job on antlers and ribs in a hurry.

    Whether you use it or not on the moose, they are always nice to have along.

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    Member Redlander's Avatar
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    Interesting advice from watching Bartlett's videos is to have a couple of small meat hooks. Good knives, saw (I like the idea of the battery sawsall), the hooks and small pulley set-up is what I intend to pack. I like the Meat Hunter, but he is all in for the field dressing thing. I'm not. I haven't field dressed a deer or hog in years (well one little shoat that we back packed out). Guts stay with the rib cage and I don't see the value in splitting the pelvis. A knive will take off hindquarters just fine. Fillet and roll. FYI, I do sometimes use lopping shears to take off lower legs on deer, but I can do it with a knife almost as well.

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    The value of splitting the pelvis and taking the entire hindquarter, instead of knuckling the hip joint is enormous. If you age meat, as we do, the less meat that is exposed the less waste you have. Splitting the pelvis and leaving bone, instead of meat, exposed saves some of the best cuts on the animal. The only negative is the excess weight, which doesn't matter if you are 4-wheeler hunting or don't have far to pack it. We age our meat in a meat cooler at 38-41 degrees for 12-14 days. Typically these are mature 60+" bulls. Produces a fantastic product, as long as it has been well cared for in the field prior to hanging.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sockeye1 View Post
    The value of splitting the pelvis and taking the entire hindquarter, instead of knuckling the hip joint is enormous. If you age meat, as we do, the less meat that is exposed the less waste you have. Splitting the pelvis and leaving bone, instead of meat, exposed saves some of the best cuts on the animal. The only negative is the excess weight, which doesn't matter if you are 4-wheeler hunting or don't have far to pack it. We age our meat in a meat cooler at 38-41 degrees for 12-14 days. Typically these are mature 60+" bulls. Produces a fantastic product, as long as it has been well cared for in the field prior to hanging.
    While it's true that leaving it on the pelvis results in less exposed surface, doing so, as you suggested, is impractical for most hunters on remote trips involving aircraft. Additionally the sharp edges of bone you get from cutting the pelvis in half can cut game bags unless extra caution is used. Finally, a conscientious hunter should have no trouble removing the quarter from the pelvis in the field without waste. It's not that difficult.

    -Mike
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    Its not about being conscientious, I can remove a quarter from the pelvis in the dark with a fork, ha! What I'm referring to is the trimming that occurs after the meat has been hung for a couple weeks. I've found the less you expose meat initially, the less you need to trim as you butcher. With your clients on long float trips, where aircraft charter services are involved, obviously taking the quarter off at the hip joint is more practical. I'm simply saying that whenever possible I will leave as much meat on bone as possible. I've rarely had a game bag cut by a pelvis, its not that difficult.
    Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes. ~Wilde

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