If you want to start a controversy among hunters a sure fire way to do this is by asking which company makes the best, finish the sentence. Every hunter, fisher and outdoors man alive is sure that they know the best rod, the best gun, the best shells to use and the list goes on. So when I was asked recently what my preference was when it came to skinning knives I bit my tongue at first. I am not one to start an issue over my preferences in hunting tools because it is my belief that all tools have the ability to work given the right user. I think that every tool can perform the job it is set out to do but of course some will work better than others when paired with the correct user.
When it comes to skinning tools I do have preferences but I do agree that pretty much any animal can be skinned using most any knife or tool for that matter. Some tools will make the job easier but let’s be honest in a life and death situation the toe nail clippers on my Victorinox Swiss Army knife if I needed to. It is imperative to remember that there is not one perfect gun, knife, sleeping bag or any tool for that matter that will be considered the ultimate by everyone. Choosing the right skinning knife will depend on you the end user. There are some measurements that will help you want to take into consideration though when buying a knife to be used in skinning.
The first thing consumers should consider when purchasing a knife to be used for skinning is the blade. Blade qualities to consider are the hardness of the blade and the material used to create the blade. When it comes to the hardness of the blade remember the harder the blade the longer the edge will be held however, it also makes sharpening the blade more difficult. A softer blade is easily made razor sharp though is more easily dulled especially when skinning animals with thick fur. When it comes the blades metal stainless steel and carbon steel are both popular options. Stainless steel requires less maintenance however are on the harder side is carbon steel which needs proper maintenance to prevent rust and discoloration.
The point of the blade is also important. Some people prefer a drop point or a clip point. Basically the only thing to consider when it comes to the knife blade is the will it puncture the skin, slice the skin and slice the membranes between the muscle and skin cleanly. This may take some practice to determine the exact technique you will choose to perfect.
The size of the blade is something to consider as well. Bigger isn't always better when it comes to a skinning knife and really neither is smaller. Consider a mid-sized knife when looking for an all-purpose skinning knife. A large skinning knife on a small animal or a small skinning knife on a large animal just doesn't make sense. If you are only going to have one knife in your collection the choice is simple, a mid-sized knife blade.
The main thing any outdoors man needs to remember when purchasing any knife is how it works for them as an individual. Price, style, blade material and the works won’t matter if the knife isn't perfect for you. A skinning knife is so important is ensuring the quality of the meat in the end. Choose wisely.