Table of Contents
- Why Do We Need A Specialized Skinning Knife?
- What Is The Best Deer Skinning Knife 2019?
- Some Additional Advice For New Deer Hunters
Why Do We Need A Specialized Skinning Knife?
This question always accompanies curious minds and fledglings new to the butchering world. To answer a question as complex, or rather simple like “why do we need the best skinning knife?” we need to reassess what we know about skinning knives and what they were used for.
Well, skinning knives are for well harvesting your gains when the hunt is over. They are for peeling the skin off a carcass slowly and meticulously by skinner-shape blades that best suited for skinning game.
Some skinning knives are better suited for smaller prey, but the blades we are about to talk about are suited or meant for larger targets like deer, antelopes or elks.
Aside from the primary function that skinning knives were created for; they also have other useful applications such as:
- Skinning knives can use as all-purpose knives: When these boys are not peeling the skin off deer, we can use the knife as a decent all-purpose knife that can perform other tasks like cutting strings, starting fires.
- Skinning knives also serve as a sort of weapon: Yes, the skinner is a sharp and powerful hand tool. So this knife would make the perfect self-defense weapon should the need arise.
What Is The Best Deer Skinning Knife 2019?
In the myriad of knives on the market, choosing the best skinning knife for our hunting seasons can be quite tricky for new hunters.
Over the years of successful deer hunting seasons, with dozens of skinned prey, I could see bright stars emerging among the forest.
Here are the 5 best skinning knives for deer hunters:
The 5 knives in the short list above are all high quality with many attributes of a top skinning knife that our hunters need such as:
- Made of high-quality steel
- Full tang blade construction
- Skinner-shape blade for high performance
- Featured with a specialized gut hook
- Well balanced design and ergonomic handle
- Ensure safety for users
- Convenient to carry
- Easy to clean after use
These sharp blades can help you clean a deer within a dozen minutes with the least amount of effort. Some of them deserve an indispensable tool for hunters to field dressing deer quickly and accurately.
Skinning knife comparison chart
|Dalstrong Gladiator Skinning Knife|
|Buck Knives 103 Skinner Knife Blade|
|Buck Knives 393 Gut Hook Skinner|
|Benchmade Compact Skinning Knife|
|Mossberg Skinning Knife with Gut Hook|
As you can see, each skinning knife above has its own advantages and disadvantages. Better knives often have more top attributes and more meticulously finished.
Let’s dive down to find yourself a skinning knife that best suits your interests and budget…
1. DALSTRONG Gladiator Skinning Knife [BEST]
- This amazing skinning knife from Dalstrong is a tool fit for a legend. The Gladiator Series blade is precision forged from premium high-carbon German steel with a razor-sharp edge.
- The Dalstrong blade length comes in at a whopping 5.5” which provides the user with sufficient range to glide through vast areas of deer carcass with a single slice.
- The classic skinner shape of the blade also helps it to have excellent performance for skinning deer without cutting through the hide.
- The blade retains its edge marvelously as time passes by because of the precautions that Dalstrong has put in place. It has been hand-polished at 14-16 degrees per side, and this ensures that the blade retains its edge long after repeated use.
- Also, the edge of Dalstrong is staining resistant so it will be so easy to clean, and it is relatively easy to sharpen if it is needed.
- The Dalstrong skinning knife is full tang and comes with the signature Pakkawood handle. This handle has been known to be quite resilient when stacked against the elements, but it produces a less than desirable grip.
- Besides, the skinner comes with a full sheath so you’ll have a safe place to store it when not in use.
- Another big plus is that Dalstrong provides phenomenal after purchase services, and they offer a warranty that’ll knock your socks off.
- Unique curved blade design
- Full tang blade
- Luxury Pakkawood handle
- Hand polished edge
- Comes with a metal heel and bolster
- It retains its edges quite well
- Stain finish is easy to clean
- Available with protective sheath
- Exceptional after sale services
- Pay attention to rust resistance
- The handle lacks anti-slip properties
- The sheath is not suitable to carry with you
This Dalstrong product comes with everything you could ever want from an excellent skinning knife. It comes with a full-tang “skinner” blade, a razor-sharp edge, ergonomic design, and most importantly, a long-lasting edge.
Of course, all these great features don’t come without a drawback. The knife’s handle can be a problem sometimes. It just messes with the dynamic of the blade.
Dalstrong Gladiator is my favorite series. Besides the skinning knife, this cutlery manufacturer also makes other professional knives with very high handcrafted skills such as boning knife, butcher knife, fillet knife, etc.
Next is an influential and sharp skinner blade from Buck Knives
(Best For Avid Hunters)
- This retro looking blade form Buck Knives looks like something out from an Indiana Jones movie. The Buck knife is a little bit on the short side with its overall blade length at 4 inches. That may be a rare limitation of this skinning knife when cleaning a large deer like elk, moose.
- The skinner blade is made of high-quality 420HC steel with extended lasting edge rendition and corrosion resistance.
- The 103 Buck Skinner comes full tang construction and super sharp blade for heavy-duty tasks. You can go through a deer as a breeze.
- It is also equipped with a handle that is the very definition of the perfect grip with an integrated finger guard, grooves and steel pummel for stability.
- The blade style is skinner shape optimized for skinning game. Its tip is narrow, and its wide curved belly gives a gentle skinning sweep that aids in getting through the thick hide.
- Its handle is made from a unique blend of plastic and aluminum. The grooves and rubber like grip grooves ensure stability and control no matter how sticky and slippery things get. This is probably the most significant advantage of this skinning knife from Buck Knives.
- Besides, the Buck skinner knife comes with a lifetime warranty, and it weighs only about 4.03 ounces so its super light. It also comes with a useful leather sheath and a belt loop to help you keep it close.
- The Buck skinner comes with sharp out of the box and its edge rendition is phenomenal
- It has a great handle and incredible grip
- Skinner-shape blade made by 420HC steel
- Comes with an Aluminum finger guard/pommel
- The leather sheath is very convenient to carry when hunting
- Easy to clean
- Made in the USA with a lifetime warranty
- It’s a bit hard to sharpen
The Buck knife is an absolute marvel in every sense of the word. Its skinner blade is not only great for skinning deer, elks, or hogs but also great for smaller animals like squirrels, rabbits.
It comes with a blade that is made of high-grade steel with excellent edge rendition. Plus the handle is designed to be safe and comfortable for users with exceptional grip makes this Buck knife one of the best deer skinning knives at its price point.
The 103 Buck Skinner is strongly recommended for avid hunters!
Third place on our list continues to be a great product of Buck. This knife is ideal for field dressing deer with a specialized gut hook.
- This Buck Skinner with a great gut hook is the ideal tool for any hunter who needs to feel dressing deer quickly and easily.
- We appreciate the hook of Buck knife; it has a sharp cutting edge, its shape and size of the entry opening are especially suitable for field dressing deer or other wild game. Just make a 1″ cut, and the gut hook does the rest for you.
- The skinning blade is made from standard 420HC steel, which makes it corrosion resistant and robust enough to handle any game.
- The overall length of the blade is a little above 9 inches, and it weighs about 7.8 ounces. The blade is particularly suited to the skinning of deer in the field. Although it can perform anywhere, this guy is my preferred companion when I am in the field.
- The ergonomically curved handle is ideally suited to integrate with the natural curves of our hands. The 393 Buck handle is made of a particularly rare material that is uncommon in the knife handle lineup.
- Its handle is made of Dynaflex rubber, and it helps you maintain a steady grip in any weather condition.
- The gut hook skinning knife comes with a heavy-duty polyester sheath that securely houses the razor-sharp blade of the knife. Its sheath comes with a snap closure and a belt loop for transportation without risk.
- The blade comes with a lifetime warranty, and its edge rendition is fantastic and long lasting.
- Buck’s blade is very sharp
- Blade length is suitable for deer hunters
- Comes with a specialized gut hook is ideal for field dressing deer
- The handle of the knife has excellent grip, convenient and safe for users
- Its handle is also made of Dynaflex rubber, a durable material
- The Buck knife is equipped with a Polyester sheath with no complaints
- Easy to clean
- Lifetime warranty
- The Buck is not full tang but still stable and robust
- The gut hook is quite difficult to re-sharpen
If you are looking for the best deer skinning knife with a gut hook to field dress quickly and efficiently, I encourage this Buck knife for you.
- The great gut hook helps hunters unzip the game like a breeze without worrying about things under the hide.
- The skinner blade is sharp and keen to help us stripped the entire skin of a deer without re-sharpening.
- Its ergonomic handles bring trust and comfort to users.
Next is a compact but extremely sturdy hunting knife.
(Best To Carry)
- The Benchmade knife is full tang, and it’s a little bit stubby with an overall blade of 2.67 inches. Its blade seems a bit short to handle big games like deer and elk.
- But in fact, its blade is specially made with a large radius and has a vast body to optimize for skinning and eliminating game meat.
- The Benchmade hunting knife is made of American by CPM-S30V steel that is corrosion resistant with excellent edge rendition.
- Also, the knife comes with a stabilized wood handle that is made from a unique process to strengthen it and prevent breakage.
- Its handle comes finger groove that is well suited for the index finger and carved teeth at the opposite edge of the blade to break down game faster and easier.
- The handle of Benchmade knife has an above average grip, and it’s bound to outlast any cheap plastic handle.
- Our small knife comes with a carryon leather sheath to house its razor-sharp blade, and it has a handle thickness of about 14.73mm.
- The Benchmade knife comes with a service that promises regular servicing for life. Although there is some cost involved with its regular upkeep, a factory grade blade will be shipped back to you every time you opt for the service.
- Benchmade blade is full tang and drop point
- The blade is made of premium S30V steel – the best steel in edge retention, tensile strength
- It is compact and lightweight
- Its handle and sheath are handy to carry
- The knife has a groove suited to accommodate the index finger
- Lifetime warranty
- It’s a little short for the intended purpose
- Its price is quite high because it is crafted from premium steel
- It is also more difficult to re-sharpen
First of all, let’s say that this little guy is one of best hunting knives from Benchmade with a drop point blade. Its drop point blade is sharp, durable and very versatile for multi purposes.
It is also a top skinning knife with a specially designed blade to minimize accidental puncture when skinning the game.
The compact size of Benchmade knife is its most significant difference compared to the remaining blades here. Plus other great portable features such as a lanyard hole handle and belt loop sheath has made it a top choice for field hunters.
Don’t be fooled by its blade size; this skinning knife is still working very well on deer, elks, hogs.
Finally, we have a good skinning knife with a unique design and an unbelievable price.
(Best For Money)
- Despite the Mossberg’s blade length, a lot of hunters, including myself, will recommend this blade in a heartbeat. Its muted antiglare finish definitely gives the edge a more aesthetic and aggressive look and honestly, that is one of the things that I love about the skinning knife.
- The gut hook on blade works well. Its design is very suitable for field dressing deer, elks, antelopes.
- The Mossberg’s blade is made from stainless steel that is corrosion resistant and comes with above average edge retention.
- The blade itself is around 3.5 inches, and its overall length is about 6.75 inches. The blade is incredibly lightweight with a curved clip-point hooked shape.
- The finger hole on the blade fits my index finger. It helps me to firmly hold the knife and enhance my work efficiency.
- The skinner knife is unusual with a large blade and small handle. The Mossberg comes with a durable carryon sheath to house this dangerous blade.
- Although numerous features make this blade stand out, its most noticeable yet outstanding feature that you can associate with this knife is its price tag. It’s the perfect skinning knife with a gut hook for anyone that loves hunting but is on a budget.
- Extremely affordable price
- Stubby skinner blade eliminates skin quite easily
- Gut hook also works well
- Its blade features an anti-glare finish
- Finger hole on the blade for better grip
- Included good carrying sheath
- Made of cheap stainless steel
- Poor edge retention
- Rivets can be loose after a period of use
- Overly light
Although this Mossberg skinning knife has some faults, it still one of my favorites on this list because it was able to provide the bare essentials with a price could not be better.
If you want to hunt but the budget is limited, or you want to find a second gut hook skinner, the Mossberg knife is a great choice!
Hundreds of knives can skin just as well as some of the blades on this my list. These quality knives, however, were shortlisted because they could not only do their jobs properly.
The 5 skinners all go the extra mile with absolutely astounding features. They were all built to provide a solid grip while cutting through hiding and meat. They are all exceptional and make deer skinning really easy.
Easy, however, comes in levels. Certain products promise more comfort and speed than others, and they are what we always need to watch out for. Our top picks make the entire process significantly more comfortable than others.
Some Additional Advice For New Deer Hunters
Here are some additional guidelines for picking the right skinning knife for newbies:
This is one of the most important aspects to cover when we are talking about knives regardless of what they are used for.
- A great handle can improve overall grip, increase maneuverability and minimize potential accidents.
- Designing grooves on the handle also feel and work better on the right handle material, and they deal with the eventual mess better.
- Most skinning knives come with a short blade. This means that there isn’t nearly enough real estate to keep the whole skinning process dry and mess-free.
- Things will get messy, and in the thick of it, you’ll need a handle that won’t begin to slip as you tear through flesh so that your handle should have grooves, some anti-slip capabilities, and a reasonable finger guard.
There are three main types of handles that I have seen on a skinning knife, and the plastic is just better for skinning deer. It’s better because plastic is more ergonomically crafted to suit your hands, and it’s always slip-resistant.
We all want to own a sturdy, reliable, and sharp knife for skinning game. So aim for fixed and full tang blades. This type of blade gives you great balance and performance.
I think it’s no secret that all knives don’t come with a singular design. They differ wildly and their shapes can often translate to an advantage or disadvantage depending on the game you are skinning.
We have several blade shapes but the best shape for the skinning game are skinner and drop point. Also, a gut hook blade is ideal for processing deer in the field.
In my experience, most people almost always go for the short blade because its easier to maneuver, but you need to remember that a long blade is also an option.
Obviously, it’s meant for bigger game, and the size can be quite imposing but, in the end, you need to always go for a format that is appropriate for the kind of prey you are after.
In this case, we are going after a deer so we need to stick with the long knives if we can.
Short blades usually range from 2-3 inches mark; the medium blades often vary from the 3-5 inches mark. While the long blades typically range from 5-5.5 inches.
Blade material and sharpness
One of the reasons why people buy skinning knives is because of their sharpness. There are a lot of other reasons but none come to mind at the moment. When the skinning game, you need a sharp blade to make the lengthy process considerably shorter and less stressful.
So, when you pick a blade make sure that it’s the sharpest blade that you can get for that price and make sure that the edge is long lasting too. That is also equally important.
Another feature you need to pay a great deal of attention to is the material blades are made up of. If they aren’t made from stainless steel then to do some further research. The material the blade is made of determines its longevity and effectiveness. This is the one part of the list you must never overlook.
Skinning is by no means the fun part of hunting. It’s one of the most tiring and tedious parts of stripping meat. It could get pretty old pretty fast if you went with a heavy blade.
When choosing the skinning knife of your choice, you need to factor in a lot of the minute details; they sometimes seem to matter the most.