Tag Archives: knife

5 Perfect Deer Knives

A deer knife should be between three and four inches, comfortable in the hand, and capable of holding its edge for the duration of the task. Not all knives will hold an edge, so it’s important to consider the kind of steel being used (just because you can get a knife razor sharp doesn’t mean it will hold an edge). In general, thinner blades will sharpen better than thicker ones, but keep in mind a deer knife is not a shaving razor. You want to be able to cut through muscle, tendon, cartilage, skin, and even bone if need be. Does your knife need a gut hook? No. Why? Because on a good knife, a gut hook is redundant, ugly, and tends to get in the way. Cutting open your deer without puncturing the stomach or intestines is easy assuming you don’t have a Rambo knife. Here are what I consider five perfect deer knives.

EnZo Trapper

EnZo with curly birch handle [Image: www.casstrom.se]

EnZo with curly birch handle. [Image: www.casstrom.se]

The EnZo trapper combines Scandinavian looks and blade geometry with the strength of a full tang bushcrafting knife. It is widely thought to be one of the best hunting/outdoor knives on the market today. The 3-3/4 inch blade is ideal for dressing deer and serves as a general purpose field knife. If you find a new one for $100 (as you sometimes can), don’t hesitate to pick it up. EnZo Trappers are also available in kit form for those of you looking to build your own.

Buck 110

Buck 110 [Image: www.youtube.com]

Buck 110 [Image: www.youtube.com]

The popular Buck 110 folder has dressed more deer than all the knives on this page combined. But what led to its rise as an icon for American outdoorsmen? The answer is versatility. Because of its robust handle and safe locking mechanism, it is stout enough to use with a baton or even as a hammer (I’ve done it, and I’m not proud). Yet the blade is thin and nimble enough for precision tasks like skinning, deboning, and slicing. The Buck 110’s combination of finesse and power had never been available in a folding knife before, and it changed the knife-making landscape forever.

Bark River Gunny Hunter

Gunny Hunter [Image: www.knivesshipfree.com]

Gunny Hunter [Image: www.knivesshipfree.com]

What I love about Bark River’s Gunny Hunter is the design’s fine synthesis of robustness and ergonomic comfort. It feels like an extension of your fingers when you hold it. One of the important differences between the Gunny and the Gunny Hunter is that the latter’s tip has been slightly lowered to give it more belly. At 3.7″ it is perfectly capable of dressing anything from rabbit to elk. The version in A2 steel offers both ease of sharpening and excellent edge retention. This is your knife if you’re looking for something to take into the big woods that will also perform basic bushcrafting tasks.

Morakniv Clipper

Mora Clipper [image: www.ebay.com]

Mora Clipper [image: www.ebay.com]

The Clipper is that knife you buy thinking it will be your beater but you end up liking it more than your “preferred” knife. Mora knives offer pure utilitarian value at the lowest possible price—it almost doesn’t make sense to buy any knife other than a Mora. At only $15, the Mora Clipper or Companion will perform as well as a knife that costs ten times as much. I personally don’t like the rubber handles or plastic sheaths, though.

Helle Symfoni

Helle Symfoni [Image: www.workwearcanada.com]

Helle Symfoni [Image: www.workwearcanada.com]

Maybe you can tell by now I’m a bit partial to Scandi knives. I like the Scandi grind for two reasons: They’re incredibly easy to sharpen because the bevel acts an angle guide, and two, Helle knives are proof that you don’t need a big, heavy knife to dress large game. The Sami people of Scandinavia have been dressing reindeer and moose with traditional three and four inch puukko knives (what Helle knives are based on) for millennia. Helle knives are incredibly lightweight and easy to carry. The Symfoni is a sleek, triple laminated, stainless knife with a razor sharp 3-1/2 inch blade. The blade’s medium length and thinness make it ideal for dressing deer and other medium to large game.

There is simply no reason for your deer knife to be longer than four and a half inches. Don’t be the guy who shows up to deer camp with a Rambo knife—show up with something sensible and efficient.

Top 5 YouTube Hunting and Outdoor Channels

Imagine if hunting was like the shows on Outdoor Channel: You get up at 8:00 a.m. (dang, that’s early!) and drive your camouflaged ATV 100 yards to a small condominium overlooking a soybean field where you can see in every direction for seven miles. After ten long minutes, the bucks start coming in, each bigger than the last and with names like Heart Attack and Linebacker because you’ve already ranked and catalogued them all on your trail camera. You pick the one you like because it has nice G4’s and a drop tine (it’s just like shopping), and then it magically appears in the back of a new Dodge Ram. Throw in some commercial breaks for Michael Waddell’s irresistible food coloring and corn syrup mineral licks, and that’s hunting. Fortunately there’s an alternative called YouTube, a democratized space where amateur videographers and outdoorsmen present alternative and more realistic depictions of hunting.

DIY Sportsman

The above video is probably the single best tutorial on public land scouting available on the web, and it’s yours for free thanks to Garrett Prahl aka DIY Sportsman. For the last three years, Garrett has built a small library of self-shot hunting and fishing videos set in Minnesota and Wisconsin that reflect his self-reliant philosophy of hunting. Garret is an extremely good hunter, but what I admire most his work is that he’s not afraid to make a video that reflects our most common experience as hunters: going home empty handed. There’s an elk hunting video on his channel where the high point is him waking up in the middle of the night to discover that his pants have frozen solid. How many of us screw things up while hunting? Yet every hunting show only depicts hunters getting it right. Garrett is able to pull this off because he knows you can learn as much from an unsuccessful hunt as a successful one. With each video, success or not, DIY Sportsman delivers an honest and informative take on hunting.

Virtuovice

I discovered Virtuovice’s channel a few years ago while looking for a tutorial on Japanese water stones. Virtuovice, also known as Wako, has since earned himself a cult following on YouTube for his expert knife reviews. Because Wako takes about 70 deer a year (the area where he lives is overrun), he’s personally field tested almost every quality hunting knife you can think of. This is real knowledge that can be useful for making your next purchase. Despite specializing in knife reviews, his self-shot sika deer hunts in the snowy mountains of Hokkaido are simply beautiful. I recommend this channel to anybody looking to buy their first hunting knife or learn the finer points of blade geometry.

Stuck N The Rut

Travis Schneider started Stuck N The Rut in 2010 to showcase his family’s free DIY hunting videos. The team’s excellent camera work, beautiful featured locales, and dedication to the concept of earning your hunt make Stuck N The Rut essential YouTube viewing. Although they’re young, these guys are absolute pros at what they do, and even the most experienced hunters can learn something new by watching them. Their Alaskan moose hunting videos are simply breathtaking.

Leatherwood Outdoors

Leatherwood Outdoors is a loose collective of truly dedicated and down-to-earth PA boys who document everything from hunting rattlesnakes and snapping turtles to using a flintlock shotgun for grouse. They’re rowdy, fun, and have no product to sell you. They simply love to hunt, and the videos capture their enthusiasm perfectly. If you’re just learning to hunt in the Northeast, this is great place to get some practical advice.

Primitive Pathways

Forget Bear Grylls: Billy Berger of Primitive Pathways is the guy you want on your side for the Apocalypse. In one video, he literally saws a branch off a tree, magically turns it into a longbow before your eyes, then proceeds to hunt with it. He’s as skilled a woodworker as he is a hunter. His videos on the use and effectiveness of stone and primitive weapons are both edifying and entertaining. This guy is the absolute real deal.

We just recently launched our Pocket Ranger® video channel where you can see even more hunting and fishing videos from contributors Bubba Rountree, Darcizzle Offshore, Fishing with Flair, Mr. Bluegill, Captain Ben Chancey from Chew on This, and more. Check it out, and make sure you download our Trophy Case mobile app before hunting season goes into full swing.