Skinning Knives

By 
Devin
   ·   
Published Aug 24, 2021
   ·   
Affiliate Disclaimer

After you've shot a deer or other game animal, you need a good skinning knife to scrape away all that meat. You'll never get it all if you use a hunting knife because the blade is too thick and won't fit in tight areas. A regular kitchen butcher knife will do the job, but only after you spend some time practicing with it.

Skinning knives are much thinner, have a curved blade to fit the contours of your game animal, and are designed for skinning only. They're used exactly as you would a kitchen paring knife - hold it like you would an ice pick! A good skinning knife will cut through layers from hiding to muscle tissues easily.

Our Top Picks For Skinning Knives

Reviews Of The Best Skinning Knives From Our Research

1. SZCO Supplies 5Pc Skinning Knife Set

Sale
SZCO Supplies 5Pc Skinning Knife Set
  • 6,6.25,5.5,5.5,5.0 inches in overall length
  • Stainless steel blades
  • Pakkawood handles
  • Full tang knife
  • Black Nylon sheath

This is a great five-piece skinning knife set offered by SZCO Supplies which includes a gut hook, caping and gutting knife, two small knives for detail work, and an attractive case to store them when not in use. The blades are made of steel that has been heat-treated for optimal edge retention.

Each blade is sharp right out of the box and ready to use. The handles are made of a soft, comfortable engineered wood material that allows for hours of detailed work without hand fatigue.

The blades on each knife measure approximately 5˝ inches long which are plenty long enough to handle almost any size animal.

Features

  • Engineered wood handle material.
  • 5 inches blade length.
  • Stainless steel blade.
  • Narrow tip.
  • Comes with a black Nylon sheath material.

Pros

  • Comes with a convenient storage case to store the knives when not in use.
  • Set includes all the knives you'll need for detail work and skinning your game animal.
  • Constructed from high-quality steel that's been heat-treated for maximum edge retention.
  • Comfortable grip with soft, engineered wood material.

Cons

  • The handle design will not allow for a balanced grip when skinning.

2. Bear & Son 753 Stag Delrin Upswept Skinner Knife

The Bear & Son 753 Stag Delrin Upswept Skinner Knife is perfect for skinning and caping deer, elk, moose, wild hogs, and other large game animals. The blade is made of high-carbon stainless steel that's durable and holds an edge well. At 7 1/4 inches long, this knife will handle almost any sized game animal.

The ergonomic, black Delrin handle is comfortable to use and provides a good grip on the knife. Another big plus of this skinning knife is that it's lightweight which means you'll have no problems carrying it around all day.

Features

  • Stag Delrin handle.
  • High carbon stainless steel blade.
  • The handle comes with a contour for gripping.
  • Carbon steel blade.
  • Fixed blade knife.
  • Leather sheath

Pros

  • Lightweight design for less fatigue.
  • The blade is sharp and holds an edge well.
  • Handle contour allows for a natural grip.
  • The handle is made of stag which makes it susceptible to damage and/or breaking.
  • Blade length is perfect for skinning small to medium animals.

Cons

  • The tip of the blade is very flexible which makes it more difficult to use.

3. Havalon Piranta-Edge - Outdoor Knife

Havalon Piranta-Edge - Outdoor Knife + 12 Replacement Blades, Sharp Skinning Knives for Hunting, Fishing, Deer & Survival, Orange
  • Our best selling knife is the perfect hunting companion for faster, easier skinning and field dressing of any kind of wild game
  • Blaze orange handle is stain resistant with an easy-grip black rubber inlay, liner-lock construction and a pocket clip
  • Includes 12 additional surgically-sharp replaceable #60A blades at 2.75" in length, ensuring you always have a superior blade in hand
  • Open knife measures 7.25" in length; fits 60A and 60XT blades; heavy duty stainless steel blade & military grade polymer handle
  • Features ambidextrous thumb studs and an open back for easy cleaning & care; nylon holster included

The Havalon Piranta-Edge is a classic skinning knife featuring replaceable blades and an orange handle. The blade is made of surgical steel that's ultra-sharp so it easily cuts through meat, fat, hide, etc., with minimal effort.

It comes with 12 extra blades (60 total) which allows you to replace the blades when needed. The handle is extremely lightweight which will allow you to use this knife all day without getting hand fatigue.

It also comes with a hard protective sheath that protects the blade from damage and accidental injury.

Features

  • Lightweight contoured design for less fatigue.
  • Made from carbon stainless steel.
  • Folding blade skinning knife
  • 9 x 6.4 x 2.3 inches.
  • Includes a protective sheath to keep sharp blades secure and out of harm's way.
  • Comes with 12 replacement blades so you can replace the blade when it becomes dull or breaks.

Pros

  • The handle is made of orange plastic which makes it easy to spot.
  • Features a protective sheath for safe storage and transport.
  • Sharp blades that are easily replaceable.
  • Can be used as an all-purpose knife in your home or on the go.
  • Cleaning and changing out the blades is very easy to do.

Cons

  • The blade is not sharp right out of the box, but it does get sharp fast.

4. Buck Knives 113 Ranger Skinner

Buck Knives 113 Ranger Skinner Hunting Knife
  • CORROSION RESISTANT - 3-1/8" 420HC Drop Point Skinner Blade has great edge retention, corrosion resistance and excellent strength for long lasting durability. Overall Length 7-1/4" Weight 5. 2 oz.
  • SKIN LIKE A PRO- The skinner blade is optimized for skinning game. The narrow tip and wide curved belly provide a smooth skinning sweep that aids getting through thick layers. The downward angled point helps prevent an accidental slice through the hide
  • CLASSIC AND FUNCTIONAL - The 113 Ranger Skinner is a stylish and performance oriented combination of Buck's famous Ranger and Vanguard knives, yet more compact with a versatile skinning blade
  • ERGONOMIC DESIGN - Now with Genuine Ebony! Ebony Handle with Brass Bolster fits comfortably in your hand. The Genuine Leather Sheath with integrated belt loop allows you to carry on your belt for easy access
  • MADE IN THE USA - FOREVER - Since 1902 Buck Knives has offered a lifetime on our knives because we believe in the integrity of our products. This knife is proudly made in the USA.

The Buck Knives 113 Ranger Skinner Hunting Knife is perfect for skinning your next trophy. This knife will handle any size animal, and it comes with a leather sheath so you can safeguard the blade when not in use.

The blade on this knife is made of surgical steel which means it's sharp, easy to clean, and holds an edge well. At almost 8 inches long, this knife is large enough to handle your next hunting adventure, but still not too big for detail work.

Features

  • Stainless steel blade.
  • Wood handle with finger grooves for a secure grip.
  • Corrosion-resistant.
  • Razor-sharp edge
  • Quality skinning knife
  • Classic style
  • Ergonomic design.
  • 3.13 Inches blade length.

Pros

  • The wooden handle provides a great grip even with gloves on.
  • The blade is easy to clean, sharpen, and holds an edge well.
  • The blade is not too small nor too big--the perfect size for details.
  • Lanyard holes for attaching a lanyard.

Cons

  • No sheath for safe storage of the blade.
  • The steel is not as durable and holds an edge well like high carbon steel.

5. Mossy Oak Pro Hunter Gut Hook Knife

Mossy Oak Pro Hunter Gut Hook Knife, Break-Up Country
  • Package length: 3.6 cm
  • Package width: 17.2 cm
  • Package height: 32.4 cm
  • Product Type: SPORTING GOODS

The Mossy Oak Pro Hunter Gut Hook Knife is excellent skinning and gutting knife. The blade is made of carbon steel, but the tip is made from high carbon steel which allows you to cut deep into hides without the blade chipping or breaking.

The gut hook feature helps perform clean incisions when you're cutting through guts and flesh without tearing the skin. This knife comes with a leather sheath for safe storage and transport of the blade.

Features

  • Dimension of 13 x 7 x 1 inches.
  • Stainless steel blade material.
  • Rubber handle material.
  • Pro hunter gut hook knife.

Pros

  • The blade is made of different types of steel which makes it durable enough to use in the field.
  • The gut hook feature helps with clean incisions when you're cutting through skin, flesh, and guts.
  • The rubber handle provides a comfortable grip that won't slip even when wet.
  • Includes a sheath for safe storage and transport of the blade.

Cons

  • The gut hook feature is a little small making it difficult to use on larger animals.
  • Steel isn't as durable as high carbon steel, causing the tip to chip more easily.

Buyer's Guide For Skinning Knives

When it comes to skinning knives, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when buying one for your next hunting trip. They include the following:

Blade Material

You want to make sure the blade is made of a durable material that will hold an edge. If you're going to be skinning large animals, you'll need something with high carbon steel that can cut through many layers of thick hide at once without dulling or breaking.

The best blades are those that have both high-carbon steel and stainless steel because they provide the best of both worlds.

Blade Length

The blade length is important depending on what you're skinning. If it's something small or delicate, you probably don't want a big, bulky knife that gets in the way.

A smaller blade will work better for those jobs. The bigger the animal, the bigger the blade needs to be. Try to find a knife that has the right balance of size and power depending on what you're skinning.

Gut Hook Feature

The gut hook is another important feature of a skinning knife. If you prefer not to use your fingers, the gut hook will allow you to create incisions as quickly as possible without cutting your fingers.

You want the gut hook to be at least 1 inch long, but 2 inches is the ideal size for making those deep cuts through hiding and bone. This will help you get things done quickly without hurting yourself or even worse--tearing the skin.

Handle Material

The handle material should feel comfortable in your hand even after hours of use. If you're skinning a deer, you don't want the knife handle to slip due to blood and moisture getting on it. You need something that will absorb sweat and keep your hand from slipping off if it gets wet. Rubber handles are perfect for this purpose, but wood is another good option as long as it's treated properly.

Sheath Material

You want a sheath that's made from durable material that can keep the blade sharp and safe when not in use. Leather is a good option because it provides excellent protection for your blade while also looking classic and stylish. If leather isn't your thing, look for something like nylon or polyester which will work just as well.

Hunting Animal

Like most things, the type of skinning knife you will use depends on what animal you're hunting. If it's something small like a coyote or fox, you can get away with using something smaller and more flexible to get around bones and tight spaces.

When it comes to deer, elk, moose, bear, and other large game, you'll need a bigger blade and gut hook to get the job done.

State Hunting Rules

Different states have different rules when it comes to using a knife for hunting. Some states require hunters to use certain types of knives or implement minimum size requirements to make sure things are done properly. Make sure you know what the state laws are before you go out and buy any one type of skinning knife because they can vary drastically state by state.

Hunter's Review

Overall, skinning knives are a must for hunters who plan on getting the most out of their game once it's been brought back to camp. It can be difficult choosing the right knife when there are so many options available, but if you follow our buying guide you should find a blade that works perfectly for your needs.

Cost

The price of skinning knives ranges from under $25 up to over $100. Like most other hunting items, you get what you pay for when it comes to a good skinner.

If you're planning on using it a lot, go with something in the middle, and don't skimp on quality just because it's cheaper than the others.

Frequently Asked Questions For Skinning Knives

What is a skinning knife?

A skinning knife is a large, sharp blade that makes it easier to remove the skin from an animal. It is typically used for larger games like deer, bear, or elk.


How do skinning knives work?

Skinning knives have a round tip that can be inserted in between the skin and muscle of a large game without damaging the fur or meat. The curved blade is perfect for getting around tight spaces with ease while also creating smooth incisions so you can get the skin off without getting anything dirty.


What should I look for when choosing a skinning knife?

When choosing a skinning knife, you want to make sure that it's made from quality materials that are balanced and comfortable to hold. You also need to consider the size of the blade and gut hook as well as how easy it is to sheath and remove when needed. You can also consider a fixed blade skinning knife.


How do you sharpen skinning knives?

Skinning knives can become dull over time, but you can always bring them back to life with a good sharpening stone. Start by laying the knife flat on the surface of the stone with the blade facing away from you.

With both hands on either side of the blade, carefully push the knife away from you so that it passes along the entire length of the sharpening stone. Turn your hand over and repeat on the other side until you've sharpened both sides equally.


When do I use a gut hook skinning knife?

You would use a gut hook skinning knife when you need to make a single long incision where the skin meets the muscle. This is typically done when preparing a large game for cooking and can significantly decrease your preparation time because you'll be able to get through it quickly.


What are some benefits of using a skinning knife?

Skinning knives have many benefits, including making the final process of cleaning your game much easier. With the right knife, you can easily remove any remaining pieces of bone or fur and get your prize ready to take home and eat.


Why should I use a skinning knife when hunting?

If you plan on using every part of the animal that you kill during hunting season, then it makes sense to go with a larger, more durable skinning knife. This will make it easier to slice through the hide and remove the fur without damaging the meat underneath.


What is the best blade material for a skinning knife?

The best blade material for a skinning knife is high carbon steel because it's easy to sharpen and can retain its edge even after repeated use. The high carbon steel also stays sharp longer than stainless steel, which means you're less likely to need to take the time to sharpen it throughout the hunting season.


What kind of handle should I look for in a skinning knife?

You need to look for an ergonomically designed handle in your skinning knife features. An ergonomic design will make it easier to use and hold the blade without worrying about where you placed your hand or fingers. This is important when you're taking the time to clean a large animal because there's no room for error or accidents.


What kind of sheath should I look for in a skinning knife?

The best kind of sheath to use with your skinning knife is one that attaches to your belt or leg so that you can quickly and easily remove it when needed. This means that you'll be less likely to injure yourself by dropping the knife if you don't have to worry about where it's attached.


Are skinning knives legal?

Skinning hunting knives are legal to own as long as you're an adult with no criminal record. In some states, you may need a permit if your knife has a blade over three inches in length, and in other states, there may be restrictions on the size of the blade or the type of knife that can legally be sold to minors. Fixed blade knives are illegal in some states too.


Final Thoughts

When it comes to the best skinning knives, the most important thing to look for is balance and comfort. The knife needs to feel sturdy in your hand while also being lightweight and easy to maneuver so that you can remove the hide without having to fight with your tool.

Quality high carbon steel is also a must if you don't want the blade to get dull quickly.

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