Yes, Deer Hunters, You Need More Knives Than You Think You Do

If you're doing field dressing and aren't concerned about trim work or skinning, a good folding, locking knife with a sharp blade can help get the job done quickly. (Photo: Alan Clemons)

If you’re doing field dressing and aren’t concerned about trim work or skinning, a good folding, locking knife with a sharp blade can help get the job done quickly. (Photo: Alan Clemons)

Deer hunters I know usually have more than one knife and they carry one every day as long as they’re drawing a breath.

By Alan Clemons, Managing Editor

I’ve been that way probably since the third grade, back when a pocket knife in school wouldn’t get you branded as a terrorist or evil kid and a year’s expulsion. Heck, I whipped out pocket knives to help my teachers now and then, and no one batted an eye. That was back before violent video games, when America was stronger and had more common sense adults in charge with fewer idealistic namby-pambys running things.

After you put your deer on the ground, it's best to have a great knife for the rest of the job!

After you put your deer on the ground, it’s best to have a great knife for the rest of the job!

Whether it’s a folding or locking blade pocket knife, or a good fixed blade in a sheath on your belt, having a reliable, strong knife is a must for deer hunting. An absolute must. Why? Because you will need one, period. You will. Not just to cut up a deer but to do other things — remove splinters, trim paracord, get a stuck shell casing out of a gun (that likely needs to be cleaned), cut up an apple or pear, and myriad other tasks.

For several years I carried a Gerber Multi-Tool on my belt. From the needlenose pliers to the twin blades — serrated and regular — it served many purposes in different situations. And they will serve to gut, skin and cut just about everything from a deer to squirrel.

Our sister publication, BLADE Magazine, has great information on knives, blades and more. Here’s a great blog post from BLADE editor Steve Shackleford and it’s good info for hunters if you’re looking for a new knife:

By Steve Shackleford, BLADE Editor

One of the questions knife enthusiasts ask most is “What is the best steel for a knife?” Before you can answer such a question, you must first know exactly what it is you need in a knife.

1) Will you use the knife to cut meat, or paper, or rope, or plastic, or a little bit of everything? Much depends on what you will be using the knife for, and just about any knifemaker or knife manufacturer who knows his stuff will know which steel he has on hand will be best for your purposes.

2) The steel is just part of the equation. The blade’s geometry is also important. By blade geometry is meant how the blade is ground and tapered from the back (spine) to the edge. If too thick, it won’t slice or cut properly; if too thin, it may chip.

3) How is the steel heat treated? As BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member Wayne Goddard has written, “A knife of the very best steel may not perform any better than one made of an inferior type steel unless it is heat treated to bring out the full potential of the alloy content.” He also writes, “The reasons for a maker to turn out incorrectly heat-treated blades are too many to list. However, the most common is not having the correct heat-treating specifications from the steel maker.” If you find the maker does his own heat treating and does not go by the heat-treating specs provided by the steel maker, that’s an immediate red flag. In fact, many makers simply have professional heat treaters do their heat treating. Goddard is among them.

These are just three basic things to know about knife steels. There are many others.

For the latest knives, knife news and more, stay turned to

Two Knives in One!



If you’re looking for a great blade but one with a unique twist for your deer skinning and trimming, definitely check out this super SwingBlaze from Outdoor Edge. It has a rubberized handle for a sure grip, a locking system for the regular or skinning blade, and all you have to do to switch blades is press the locking button and flip the blade.

Unzip a deer in seconds, then get to trimming inside to remove the entrails. Skin, trim and cut, and before long you’ll have fresh venison in the cooler or on the table. Cleanup is a breeze, too. This is a super tool to have in camp or in your pack, if you gut your deer in the field before heading back to the truck or camp. Order It Here Now!

WATCH: DDH Editor Dan Schmidt Reviews the SwingBlazeClick For Video