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Thread: knives for caribou and lessons from the last few years.

  1. #1
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    Default knives for caribou and lessons from the last few years.

    I used to use a folding knife for all my hunting. I got tired of difficulty cleaning them and have moved to fixed knives. As a gutless skinner I seem to like a long, thin knife over anything smaller or thicker. The long blade gives nice big sweeps and a high thin grind gives great slicing ability. Also if a knife is thin from front to back it allows for de-boning of ribs and quarters when necessary. I am really liking the Phil Wilson Spyderco. The S90V holds an edge and it seems reasonably tough. The skinning sweep is really nice on long cuts and the high flat grind is remarkable.

    As for bags I like the TAG bags for the initial back-pack portion of the trip due to their light weight and compactness but there is no doubt that cotton promotes better crusting and drying in normal conditions.

    Video of lessons learned.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxtaP1_PxqY

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    Member Mkay's Avatar
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    I am so disgusted with my knives I went and bought some swedish knife called fallkniven.
    My child was inmate of the month at Mat-Su pre-trial Correctional facility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mkay View Post
    I am so disgusted with my knives I went and bought some swedish knife called fallkniven.

    It Happens!

  4. #4

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    Try mora knives.
    Unbelievable and cheap!
    http://www.amazon.com/Morakniv-Compa.../dp/B004TNWD40


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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I've used the Mora on a caribou- very useful knife for breaking down big game. They make one that has a round tip instead of a point- really nice to keep from poking holes in the hide all the time. I can't make it through a caribou without having to touch up the edge a couple of times but the carbon blades sharpen easily. The stainless ones I can't seem to put a good edge on for love or money.

    I've largely went to the Havalon these days- it rankles the traditionalist who lives in me, but they work too well for me to ignore considering I break down 8-10 big game critters a year.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    I used at havalon this year for the first time on a 58" moose. Broke the blade in the first 10 minutes. I'm still not sold on them. Although not the best knife out there I like kershaw Alaskan blade trader. Nice to not have to take 3 different knives into the field with me. I usually do 4-7 animals a year with it and it does require a touchup part way through a moose.

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    I process several game animals, cattle and hogs each year and I prefer a Dexter Russell 6 in. curved boning knife with a sanisafe handle for everything from skinning to boning. They are only around $20 a piece and come with and hold an incredible edge. I used to spend a lot of money on "hunting knives" from various sources, but no more. After the money spent I still did not have a knife that even came close to the quality and function ability of this knife. I have used Dexter Russell knives for several years now and there is no chance I will go back. I skinned and broke down an entire moose with one of these this fall and the knife did not need to be touched on a steel at all. After cleaning it up it up with soap and water you could still shave with it. Of course I always cut the skin from the bottom side out as cutting through hair dulls the knives and gets more hair on the meat.

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    I have used the similar lamb skinner from Victorinox. The rounded tip is unlikely to catch on anything and the gently sweeping blade makes for nice long, smooth cuts. Thin blade in a simple stainless is easy to sharpen and takes a very nice edge.

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    i guided three fall seasons in Northern Quebec for caribou mostly and we used a lot of differences knives. i ended using Mora knife and Victorinox lamb skinner. still using them in Yukon.

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Victorinox paring and other 3" knives were what I used for all animals now. Razor sharp and resharpen quickly.
    27' Wooldridge Super Sport Offshore Pilothouse PRIME TIME!
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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    I have to agree with the Dexter knives. They are real good knives that won't break the bank. With that I also really enjoy my Kershaw's and Bucks. With those two I have never had to touch up a blade in the field. I think the degree of edge has a lot to do with staying sharp as much as the blade steel. I'm no expert though but just out of experience. Have wanted to try the Havalon for a while but can't justify the cost when my go to knives are working really well. I use a Work Sharp to keep them cutting good.
    Ignorance is not Bliss, it's insanity

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    I use the havalon. If you only use it to cut you won't break blades.


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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    I start out my skinning with an Outdoor Edge. Once legs and hide and tough work is done, I switch over to the Havalon. Works excellent!
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thebear_78 View Post
    I use the havalon. If you only use it to cut you won't break blades.


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    I'm sure that was pointed at me. I was skinning the neck. I've never had one and I never keep the cape so I'm not worried about holes in it. Obviously not a "skinning" knife but should I not use it to skin with? Just wondering. I want to like the knife.

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    You can't pry with it, only cut. It's not as tough as a traditional knife and can't be used the same. When used with its limitations it works great,


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    I agree that the havalon has its limits. Not a good feeling breaking down a moose after the sun dips below the horizon when you feel the blade snap and have to carefully look for it with headlamps. That being said, the havolon is crazy scary sharp, holds an edge reasonably well, and makes things quick and easy.

    I use Dexter knives on the boat. For weight and price they're great knives that take an edge easily. I've never thought of them as hunting knives, but may pick up another boning knife for the hunting box.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meridian View Post
    I've never thought of them as hunting knives, but may pick up another boning knife for the hunting box.
    Throw one in there, and you won't regret it. The thin blade slips under the skin easily, and works around the bone as well as anything. My grandpa used to own a locker plant and always swore by Dexter Russell. I was like you and never thought of them as a hunting knife, but started carrying them in the field several years ago, and am really happy with them. In addition to how they work I like the price point and the weight of these knives. I do not even bother with bring sharpening stones, steels, etc. into the field I just throw three 6 inch curved boning knives in plastic sheaths in my pack and call it good. Typically I use one, my hunting partner steals one part way through the hung and we have a spare.

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    I used to be a traditionalist when it came to skinning knives...maybe it was a nostalgic connection to my dad's era.

    However, for many reasons I have switched to a #70 Taxidermy blade with a plastic handle scalpel from Havalon. The #70 has a roll-tip and doesn't slice through hides (capes) like the normal havalon blades.

    For what it's worth...it works like a charm and is lighter than anything I have ever packed in for nostalgia...

  20. #20

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    Well, I think we all agree the most important thing for any knife is that it is very sharp! The shape and size are personal preference. I prefer a thin knife blade that is not over 4 inches for moose and caribou. For just peeling hide the Havalon disposable blades work well as you always have a razor sharp edge on the blade, or change it for a new one. I just picked up another one that is the longer fillet model and extra blades.

    They are not a replacement for my old Cold Steel Carbon V that I re contoured the blade on to more of a Scandi grind. I also love the old custom 3" knife my wife got me and it probably has the out dated 440C steel. But, I can sharpen both up at home or in the field. The Havalon is nothing I would pry with, but for cutting meat and hide they work since they are sharp!



    I have had a Dexter boning knife in my gear bag for yeas and they are good, as is the Victorinox. I like knives, big ones, small ones, etc. But, if I can't sharpen them to shave off my arm hairs I have no use for them for critter processing.

    I am fortunate to have an old 24" sandstone wheel with a water reservoir and a very low speed electric motor. It allows me to contour about any knife edge to my liking. For critter skinning I want razor sharp thin blades , saws for sawing and hatchets for chopping, etc.

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