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Have you used a folding knife for field dressing game?

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  • Have you used a folding knife for field dressing game?

    A couple of days ago, Tim MacWelch, the OL survival expert, posted a review of a folding lockback knife by Helle of Norway. http://www.outdoorlife.com/survival-gear-review-helles-new-folding-bushcraft-knife-bleja

    These days I use fixed blades in the field. However, that article made me think about the folding knives I've used for field dressing deer and pigs. In the early 90's, I learned hunting skills the hard way by reading and trying different things in the woods. I didn't know you were supposed to have an official hunting knife. So, just carried a small Damascus bladed lock-back folder made by Parker of Alabama. (Parker was purchased by Bear & Son a few years later). That Parker was gifted to me and is only 6-1/2 inches opened with the blade only 2-3/4 inches long. The Damascus steel is easy to sharpen to a fine point. I field dressed several deer and pigs with that knife before retiring it to the collection after Parker closed their doors.

    About that time I was given a more 'tactical' folder manufactured by Benchmade. It is the discontinued 800 series Advance Fighting Combat Knife (AFCK). The ATS-34 steel blade was much tougher than the Parker's Damascus. ATS-34 is a lot harder to sharpen but keeps an edge much longer too. The AFCK blade is almost 4 inches and the total deployed length is about 9 inches. The Spyderco type hole and liner lock makes the AFCK easy to open and close one-handed. Again, I used the knife to field dress many deer and pigs.

    Through the years I've read about the Buck 110 folder and saw that it's praised by many as a hunting knife. So I bought one last year and used it to field dress a nice 6-point buck. The 110 is still made in the USA and has a hollow ground 420 steel blade. The knife cut through everything like a hot knife through soft butter! It's slightly less in length compared to the Benchmade 800S but is wider and heavier.

    So, that's the three folders I've used on game. What's been your experiences? Have you or do you still use a folder? I'm curious to hear your stories.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    All I carried for years was a Case "Stockman" 2 blade pocket knife.
    I now carry an antique Case "Slim Line Trapper".
    I've had some fixed blade knives but I just never really liked them.
    I've even field dressed deer with a "multi-tool".
    I learned a lot about hunting from my dad and gramps.
    I learned a WHOLE LOT more through trial and error on my own.

    Comment


    • #3
      I used a Buck Spitfire to field dress the last two deer I bagged. The deer didn't seem to mind my using a folder, so I reckon I'll continue to do so.

      Comment


      • #4
        Living in Fl, I don't Gut my deer any more. It's a straight run to the meat processor do to the Hi-Heat we have in our hunting season.

        But when i lived in new york, i carried a Case Slim line trapper and a PUMA Pal belt knife. The Case Trapper did most of the work. I still carry it to this day;-))

        Comment


        • #5
          I have used folders over the years but now prefer a fixed blade. The problem with the folders is if you don't have hot water available it is hard to get the fat and other debris out of the mechanism. Straight blade with a handi wipe and it's clean enough to put back in sheath. My favorite now is the Schrade Pro Hunter II.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have two folding Buck knifes, that I always keep nice and sharp.

            Comment


            • #7
              Over my years of hunting I have used both, folders and fixed blades. I can not really say that I prefer one over the other as far as performance goes, but my preference goes to my fixed blades when it comes to cleaning after use. To me the size of the knife is also one of the important aspects. For elk I like a bit larger knife than for deer, elk blade 3 1/2 inches, handle 5 inches, and deer I find a 2 3/4 inch blade enough. One good thing about my folding blade knife is that it has a saw blade and a rounded tip gutting blade which I miss on the fixed blade. But both knives have been good friends over the years !

              Comment


              • #8
                I have cleaned a number of deer with a Buck 110, and even gutted one with a little Old Timer three blade when I somehow left the Buck at home. I prefer, by far, a fixed blade drop point with a 3.5 to 4" blade, but I don't usually carry one with me for similar reasons to the one TreeStand gave---I can get to a dead deer pretty quickly on my place and take it straight to the cleaning shed at the camp where it is processed, quartered and put on ice to wait for the final butchering. My carry knife is a Benchmade auto opener that I'd have no problem cleaning a deer with, but I have the same problem with cleaning the knife afterward. My favorite fixed blade is a Cold Steel Master Hunter.

                A word of caution: When you clean the deer fat off your knife, don't do it by running hot water over it and letting it go down the sink. That fat will quickly re-solidify in your pipes and turn into something resembling a concrete plug. It may take a while, but I can guarantee you plumbing problems over time from deer fat. Use hot water on a paper towel---works well and goes out with the trash.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by country road View Post
                  I have cleaned a number of deer with a Buck 110, and even gutted one with a little Old Timer three blade when I somehow left the Buck at home. I prefer, by far, a fixed blade drop point with a 3.5 to 4" blade, but I don't usually carry one with me for similar reasons to the one TreeStand gave---I can get to a dead deer pretty quickly on my place and take it straight to the cleaning shed at the camp where it is processed, quartered and put on ice to wait for the final butchering. My carry knife is a Benchmade auto opener that I'd have no problem cleaning a deer with, but I have the same problem with cleaning the knife afterward. My favorite fixed blade is a Cold Steel Master Hunter.

                  A word of caution: When you clean the deer fat off your knife, don't do it by running hot water over it and letting it go down the sink. That fat will quickly re-solidify in your pipes and turn into something resembling a concrete plug. It may take a while, but I can guarantee you plumbing problems over time from deer fat. Use hot water on a paper towel---works well and goes out with the trash.
                  CR, thanks for the advice about deer fat solidifying in drain pipes. I didn't realize that could happen. That Cold Steel Master Hunter looks great and many times I've almost purchased one.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bowhunter75richard View Post
                    Over my years of hunting I have used both, folders and fixed blades. I can not really say that I prefer one over the other as far as performance goes, but my preference goes to my fixed blades when it comes to cleaning after use. To me the size of the knife is also one of the important aspects. For elk I like a bit larger knife than for deer, elk blade 3 1/2 inches, handle 5 inches, and deer I find a 2 3/4 inch blade enough. One good thing about my folding blade knife is that it has a saw blade and a rounded tip gutting blade which I miss on the fixed blade. But both knives have been good friends over the years !
                    I'm like you and prefer a fixed blade because of the easier cleaning after use. I find it interesting that 3.5 inch blades are adequate for Elk. I've used the wife's Buck 119 to field dress a deer but found the 6-inch blade to be cumbersome for the task.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gary Devine View Post
                      I have two folding Buck knifes, that I always keep nice and sharp.
                      Buck knifes are a joy to use when sharp. Must be the hollow grind.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've never used a folder for field-dressing game because I always considered a fixed-blade knife to be part of my hunting equipment.
                        I once met an old-timer while hunting in the Catskill Mountains of New York who told me that he once shot a deer when he had no knife at all on his person.
                        He said he flattened the empty cartridge case by pounding in with a rock until it formed an edge along one side. He then honed the edge on a flat stone until it was quite sharp.
                        He said he used that as a blade to field dress the deer.
                        Believe it or not!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Red Angus View Post
                          I used a Buck Spitfire to field dress the last two deer I bagged. The deer didn't seem to mind my using a folder, so I reckon I'll continue to do so.
                          I like the look of those Buck Spitfires. The orange handled one would be great to carry in the woods.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post
                            All I carried for years was a Case "Stockman" 2 blade pocket knife.
                            I now carry an antique Case "Slim Line Trapper".
                            I've had some fixed blade knives but I just never really liked them.
                            I've even field dressed deer with a "multi-tool".
                            I learned a lot about hunting from my dad and gramps.
                            I learned a WHOLE LOT more through trial and error on my own.
                            That Case Slim Line Trapper is slightly smaller than the Sodbuster that I carry lately to work. I've been pleased with the blade steel in the Sodbuster and can see why you like the Slim Line Trapper.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 99explorer View Post
                              I've never used a folder for field-dressing game because I always considered a fixed-blade knife to be part of my hunting equipment.
                              I once met an old-timer while hunting in the Catskill Mountains of New York who told me that he once shot a deer when he had no knife at all on his person.
                              He said he flattened the empty cartridge case by pounding in with a rock until it formed an edge along one side. He then honed the edge on a flat stone until it was quite sharp.
                              He said he used that as a blade to field dress the deer.
                              Believe it or not!
                              Great story! Goes to show you don't really need a fancy knife at all!

                              Comment

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