There are only a few things that are more thrilling than heading out into the woods on the perfect day and hunting deer.
As a skilled hunter, you’re likely all too familiar with stalking your prey into the woods, lining up the perfect shot and making a good, clean kill.
However, as a skilled hunter, you should also be well aware of the implications of not having the best deer skinning knife.
With a blunt or simply ill-fitted knife for skinning deer, you’re likely to be more frustrated by the post-hunt experience than to enjoy it. That’s why it’s incredibly important to invest in the best deer skinning knife on the market.
In this article, we’ve taken our time to compile a proper list of knives produced by leading manufacturers. Before rounding up, we’ll also provide some valuable advice on how to select the best of all the available options.
The 5 Best Deer Skinning Knife
- Gerber Gear 31-001159N – Editor’s Choice
- Mossberg Fixed Blade Knife – Excellent Ergonomics
- Outdoor Edge 3.0″ RazorLite EDC – Replaceable Blades
- Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter Lock-back Knife – Incredibly Durable
- Elk Ridge – Outdoors 2-PC Fixed Blade Hunting Knife Set – High-quality Construction Material
1. Gerber Gear 31-001159N Hunting Knife Myth Field Dress
Gerber is one of the most well-known brands in the gear world. This particular kit contains a sheath that houses two spectacular knives – the Myth Compact Fixed Blade and the Myth Fixed Blade Pro.
As the dressing knife is a small utility knife, we would be better off focusing on the larger utility knife in this review.
Despite its budget price tag, this knife set performs well. First of all, both blades are made from 440 stainless steel, and it is impressive to see such high-quality steel used in such a modestly priced set.
Aside from the steel, there is a noticeable attention to detail. This one has excellent ergonomics and is among the best full-tang knives we’ve ever tested. There is some difference in size between this knife and most competing models.
Nevertheless, the weight of this knife feels very balanced and secure in your hands. What’s more, the handle is tan and black, making it particularly easy to spot and use in the woods.
The sheath seems to be the only weak point of the knife. Most makers use fabric sheaths, but Gerber uses a hard-molded plastic one.
It can be a little bulky, but it provides excellent blade protection. Putting aside this minor detail, this is a perfect mid-range knife.
- Ergonomics that are excellent
- Incredibly balanced
- 440 Stainless
- A little large
- Bulky sheath
2. Mossberg Fixed Blade Knife
Mossberg skinning knives are an excellent example of knives that don’t have to be fancy to be good. Despite its price tag, this isn’t a high-end knife.
As a result, it has several features that are ideal for a first-time buyer, a spare knife, or a tool you won’t need to worry about too much.
In addition to its size, this knife also has many good features. The blade measures 3.5 inches, which makes it slightly smaller than most of the competition, and it is incredibly maneuverable and precise.
Slightly poorer quality steel is used to make the blade. Despite this, one cannot find fault with the price. Apart from the quality of the steel, this knife has nothing negative to complain about.
It has a gut hook with very functional strength with a small and comfortable handle. It even comes with a simple but functional sheath from Mossberg. All in all, while it might not be the fanciest, it is incredibly functional.
- The price is extremely reasonable
- An appropriate size
- It has a nice handle
- The steel of lower grade
- Camouflage handles are useless
3. Outdoor Edge 3.0″ RazorLite EDC
This knife is elegant and it offers a unique angle to getting sharp blades when one dulls.
You see, when you’re out in the wilderness, you don’t always have the luxury of time to begin sharpening a dull blade before skinning your deer.
Different factors contribute to this including the time of day or the weather. After all, you don’t want to be alone in the woods in the middle of the night or in a thunderstorm.
Alongside the lack of time, you might also just not have the appropriate tools to properly sharpen a dull blade. That’s why Mossberg offers replacement blades. All you need to do is pull out the old one and pop in a new and sharper blade.
Once you’re done skinning your game and you’re safely home, you can conveniently sharpen the knife or simply replace it.
To add icing to the cake, the blade design itself is a work of art, especially if you’re passionate about high-quality gear.
- An ingenious idea
- Includes five replacement blades
- There is no gut hook
4. Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter Lock-back Knife
The Buck 110 Folding Hunter is one of our top picks for the best deer skinning knife. The sheer durability and quality of this knife make it possible to use it for a lifetime and even pass it on to the next generation.
Approximately 4-7/8 inches long, the 110 weighs 7.2 ounces. It has an incredibly sharp blade and is able to resist corrosion while maintaining its edge even after several cutting sessions.
This deer hunting knife is highly versatile and can act as field dressing, skinning, and even processing knives. All in all, we love the Buck 110 knife because it is sturdy, durable and reasonably priced.
- Durable and corrosion-resistant
- Impressively sharp blade
- Take time after every use to wash it.
5. Elk Ridge – Outdoors 2-PC Fixed Blade Hunting Knife Set
When you consider the blade’s features and quality, it is a perfect knife. Stainless steel 440 is used to make this knife. It is a full-tang knife and has a comfortable handle that is very easy to clean. Moreover, the prices are very competitive.
It is undeniable that this knife would perform well if it were in the right hands. However, it is a taste that needs to develop gradually.
- 440 stainless steel
- Construction of very high quality
- Excellent value for money
- Blade curvature can be odd
- It has a slightly small handle
How to Choose the Best Deer Skinning Knife
When choosing a skinning knife, there are numerous factors to consider. In terms of your selection, it will largely depend on the type of animal you are skinning. But, ultimately, when shopping for a new skinner, consider the following.
If you intend to skin a particular animal, you should determine the length of the blade. Depending on the size of the game, small, elegant knives can reach 2-3/4 inches in measurements, such as the Havalon or Buck Squire 501.
A bit more size is recommended when skinning big game. Anything less than 3.5″ will take longer and may not reach certain parts of the hide.
Our favorite styles are skinning knives with folding blades, replaceable blades, and fixed handles. Skinning knives with replaceable blades are preferred since they are easier to sharpen in the field.
If you have trouble getting through even the most challenging skin jobs, bring a few extras along so you can complete them on your own without any difficulty.
It is best to use fixed blade skinners for all-purpose hunting knives that can perform several tasks. In addition to cutting muscles and tendons, they will enable you to cape your animal.
Foldable skinners that do not have replaceable blades are on this list. You can use them for various tasks, from skinning to capping to carrying them around as an everyday item. Your expectations should determine the blade style for your skinning knife.
Skinners’ razor-sharp edges come from a specific grinder used by the manufacturer when sharpening their blades.
The hollow grind is the best choice because it is the sharpest and most effective way to cut meat. In addition, it makes skinning an animal easier by allowing a nice slicing motion.
A handle style matching your blade design is also an individual preference. Make sure your knife has a solid, non-slip grip, whether you choose a fixed blade or a foldable. Please take note of how the handle feels before you use it in the field by holding it firmly at home.
Poorly designed handles can make your knife dangerous since it must always be highly sharp. We choose knives with this attribute for this list due to the possibility of slipping in the backcountry, resulting in a trip to the ER.
We have only included the best and most reliable steel for this list since almost all knife manufacturers use different types of steel. As a knife expert, you must know the Rockwell scale regarding hardness.
The Rockwell scale is an international scale measuring the hardness of materials between 1 and 99. It often appears as “RC.”
No matter how much you sharpen cheap knock-offs from the corner store, they will lose their edge if their RC scale is low. There is no need to use one, and it’s better not to take second-class products into the field.
In the case of blade skinners that are replaceable, disregard this section. RC isn’t relevant because you won’t be resharpening them.
With skinning knives, you’ll encounter the following blade materials:
CruWear Steel: The steel in this product is undoubtedly among the best available. It is a high-quality material used by high-end knife companies like Benchmade to make knives with excellent performance. RC = 60 – 65
CPM-S30V: Even though stainless steel bends, it never breaks and can be used repeatedly without losing its sharp edge. It is awesome and highly recommended. RC = 59 – 60
XHP: Suitable for top-end knives, this material is tough and competent. XHP steel frequently appears in SOG knives. The blade material is among the best in its class. RC = 65
420 HC: Buck Knives signature steel is made from this material. You can sharpen it easily, and it’s still very durable and hard despite its low price. RC = 56 – 58
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. When skinning deer, what is the best knife to use?
A buck skinning knife can be an excellent choice for hunters looking for a versatile and durable knife to use for their hunting activities.
Heavy use is no problem for the drop-point blade. With the wide, flat tip, it is easy to cut through an animal’s skin with this knife.
Q2. Is there a best blade shape for skinning?
The blade’s spine should curve upward, making it slightly higher than the handle and easier to use.
Q3. What is the ideal sharpness of a skinning knife?
When skinning an animal, you use a knife with swept edges to separate the flesh from the skin. For these, a general guideline is 20 to 25 degrees.
Q4. Does Buck 110 work well for skinning deer?
Yes, it does. The buck 110 has a small enough size to field dress deer easily. In addition to skinning, quartering, and deboning big game, it is strong enough to do it.
Q5. How should you choose a skinning knife?
Skinning knives often have blades that drop to the tip, whether folding or fixed-blade designs. A drop-point knife’s thicker tip makes it easier to handle and less likely to pierce the skin.
Additionally, the handle should fit your hand comfortably while not being too large and cumbersome or too small. You can choose from hundreds of models within those constraints.
When you take a closer look at the world of skinning knives, you’ll discover they’re more subtle than you might expect.
There are several great fixed blade skinning knives, and many features can determine a knife’s success or failure in this market.
Despite this, when every aspect of the knives has taken into consideration, the best knife for skinning deer is the Gerber Gear 31-001159N.
It offers incredible ergonomics for an unbelievably affordable price. In our experience, this knife is the one we would most likely buy again in the future.