But my real preference is a fixed or folding blade. Right now my favorite is a Gerber Gator folding knife. It holds a great edge and I can use it to work through either a deer or elk without having to touch up the blade.
But I will give a thumbs up to a Outdoor Edge Razor knife which I also use.
One thing is you will never see me using a Havalon for anything. I had a blade come off of one when I was cleaning a animal. The blade had been replaced the night before by it's owner so I am not sure if it was installed right or wrong. All I know is that it came off of the handle and I quite working on that animal until we got it back to camp to hang up and I could see where I was placing my hands. When I mention this to others they suggest that I was prying with it but I wasn't, it just came off.
I closed a "Sharp" brand knife on my fingers when I was a kid. A month later I did the same thing with a Swiss army knife. Bot requires stitches. My dad was less than impressed the second time....The beating I took hurt more than the knife cut to be honest.
So I was forced to swith to an old fixed blade. Then I got a knives of Alaska knife for my birthday. I really like that knife but I have a heck of a time keeping an edge on it. I really like my locking blade havelon for caping but its a folding knife and I cringe every time I pull it out of the holster.
My daily knife is a leatherman titanium and It hasn't failed me but I broke the gut hook portion off of it and I noticed the blade is getting a bit loose....and the blade goes dull pretty quickly. I scrape lawnmower blades with it so I'm not surprised...
So ya, I'm all over the place with a final decision. Either way, I stopped using folding non-locking knives when I was a kid because I wasn't responsible enough to use them apparently....
The outdoor edge knives I won on here last year are pretty dang nice and they hold a great edge as well.
For hunting, if I had to choose, it would be a sharp fixed blade about 4" long with a "finger" bolster on it and a pair of chain mail gloves...lol
Over the years i've used everything from a 1.5" blade to a box cutter to knives with gut hooks. This is what I've been using for the last few years.
1. Outdoor Edge swingblaze to gut.
2. Outdoor Edge knife with gut hook to open chest cavity. I like to do this to make it easier to gut and when I hang deer I like to spread the ribs for cooling.
3. Hatchet and hammer to bust open the pelvic bone.
4. Outdoor edge caper to skin. Bone saw to cut off legs and cut through pelvic area to separate rear legs.
5. Mora filet knife for deboning. I grind everything but the backstraps so I like using a knife long enough to go down each rear leg bone in one pass.
I really wanted to like the havalon knives when they came out but after a few seasons I was less than impressed and do not recommend them. They are great for capping but you must be very careful. The blades are tough to change and they also break easy. My go to the past few years has been the outdoor edge folding replaceable blade.
Squirrels to elk without a problem. You can even touch up the blades a time or too as well. We’ll see how it fairs on a caribou in 1 week! HOPEFULLY!
I've been a knife junkie, and used the folding Buck, fixed blade Case, and other mass produced American made knives. Both were lost along the way, and replaced by similar models. Shortly before my first elk hunt out west, I broke down and ordered a 3 3/8" drop point, stag handled knife from AG Russell. I use that for game in the field, with some use of the Outdoor Edge or Havalon replaceable blade for capeing. If I am able to hang a deer, I will do much of the skinning with a Gransfors Bruk Hunter's Axe.
I have several of the removable blade knives, along with a bunch of regular ones. I do like the folders better, especially in the field for deer or smaller animals. Gutting and butchering are totally different and I do use different knives for that. I have a custom skinner with a gut hook I love and have used for 40 years. I really does a great job.
I am with with you guys! I do carry my outdoor edge knife with me. I have been searching for a good fixed blade. Finally pulled the trigger on the Montana Knife company "THE STONEWALL - BLACKFOOT SKINNER" yesterday. I really look forward to using it on my elk hunts this fall.
My wife bought me an Outdoor Edge a few years ago. At the time I was a little unsure of it as I always used the knife my Grandfather made. I tried the Outdoor Edge on an elk and now that is all I use. I have done several elk and no issues other than a couple cuts as they are wicked sharp. I use it to cut the tendons and remove the feet below the knee so I don't carry a saw anymore. I have done a whole elk and a mule deer with the same blade. My wife bought me an extra package of blades with it but I am still on the ones that came with it.
Grandpa's knife still rides in my pack for sentimental reasons but seldom gets used.
I've used them all. Lately I favor practicality over style. I have a Morakniv Companion that is incredibly light but still strong, razor sharp, and has a no-contact plastic sheath that makes it super easy to clean. I use this for anything rough or dirty. I carry it in my bino harness, actually, and mostly use it for non-game work but will grab it for stuff I always dull other knives on, like cutting around the knees.
For field dressing elk or other high-value, precision work I now have a Havalon Talon, which solved all my earlier complains about replaceable blade knives. The blades are incredibly stout and resharpenable, the handle is strong and easily cleanable, and the accessories are good especially now that they've come out with a saw blade. I don't use that as a bone saw but it's super handy for things like cutting poles for hanging or carrying heads, making tripods, that kind of thing.
I never minded sharpening knives, I've gotten decent at it over the years. For me it's not about "I don't have to" as much as "I don't have to right now" (at night when it's dark and cold and I'm 3/4 through a messy job I just want to be done with). Being 5 seconds from a surgically-sharp blade is a big win for me.
In my pants pocket (hunting or EDC) I carry a Gerber Dime. It's tiny, so light you barely know it's there, and yet it has everything I want in a multitool: tweezers, bottle opener, box opener, pliers, scissors, and screwdriver.
removable blades are nice but I will NEVER go in the backcountry without my oldtimer 50t . been my companion since childhood. couldn't even begin to guess how many animals I have field dressed with it over the years