What’s A Skinning Knife?
By Adelia Ladson
Basically, a skinning knife is just what its name says. It’s a knife designed to separate an animal’s skin from its flesh. It is razor-sharp and strong so that it will easily cut through the tough hide of an animal. The blade is typically wide and curved to reduce the risk of puncturing the hide in the skinning process and the handle sits comfortably in your hand and won’t slip while you’re using it.
Why Do I Need A Skinner?
Once you bring down your game, it’s important that you know how to field dress it because this will reduce the rate of decay and maintain the quality of the meat. Field dressing is removing the internal organs of the game, which starts cooling the meat down. The faster the meat is cooled down, the better it will taste. You can also go ahead and quarter the game out in the field, making it easier to haul out, especially, if your game is large. So, having a skinning knife is a must to give you the right tool for the job.
Although skinning knives can be both fixed and folding blade knives, I prefer the fixed blade because I find them sturdier. Here are some popular skinners from a few different brands of outdoors knives.
Hibben Legacy Skinning Knife
I want to start off with the Cadillac of skinning knives, which was designed by the father and son team of Gil and Wesley Hibben. They have decades of experience between them in designing knives made for hard, everyday use, and Gil brings his experience as an Alaskan hunting guide. The Hibben Legacy Skinning Knife has a full-tang, 5Cr15 stainless steel blade that features a finger-ring and thumb-jimping, giving you supreme control even in wet conditions. The smooth, black pakkawood handle scales are comfortable and secured to the tang with heavy-duty steel pins. A premium leather belt sheath comes with the 8” overall skinning knife for easy carry.
Schrade Uncle Henry Elk Hunter
The Schrade Uncle Henry Elk Hunter is a classic-looking skinner with its Staglon handle and solid brass half-guard. The full-tang, full-bellied blade is crafted of 7Cr17MoV stainless steel, and the finger-grooved scales are secured to the tang with brass pins. Whether you’re on the hunting lease or hiking trail, this 9” overall skinning knife will be one of your most used tools. It also comes with a premium leather belt sheath.
Timber Rattler Terra Branca
The Damascus steel blade of the Timber Rattle Terra Branca makes it an excellent skinning knife. The drop point blade has a perfect combination of strength and flexibility so that the spine gives just enough on hard-use that it won’t break. The genuine buffalo horn handle scales are secured to the full-tang blade with brass pins, and the cream-colored scales are smooth and contoured. This compact skinning knife has impeccable balance, and it won’t take up much space or weight in your gear or at your side in its leather belt sheath.
Timber Wolf Whitetail Ridge
The Timber Wolf Whitetail Ridge is both a handsome showpiece and a highly capable skinning knife. It also has a Damascus steel blade like the Terra Branca, and it offers a Damascus steel half-guard and flat pommel, too. The handle is a masterpiece of genuine stag bone, accented with heartwood and brass. The natural texture of the stag bone handle makes it grippy. The skinner is 8 1/2” overall, which is a nice compact size to carry on your belt.
Ridge Runner Wichita
The last skinning knife that I’ve included has a thinner blade than the full-bellied knives above. The thinner profile makes the Ridge Runner Wichita better for skinning small game. The stainless steel blade extends from a brass half-guard that matches the flat, brass pommel. It has a burnt bone handle that’s finger-grooved for an ergonomic grip. The sleek skinning knife can be carried and stored in its tough nylon belt sheath. The Wichita Skinner is for the hunting enthusiast who appreciates superb quality craftsmanship.
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