Skinning is not an art exactly, but it does take practice, a certain amount of skill, and most importantly the right knife, but without the right skinning knives you may have a challenge ahead of you, so here’s where we can help.
A hunter needs skinning knives
What are the right skinning knives? The right knife is one designed specifically for skinning, appropriately called skinning knives, as that is their entire purpose. The blade of the skinning knives is thinner, allowing for slight bending, for working the hide. The skinning knives also have a curved tip, as opposed to a pointed tip, to keep them from accidentally puncturing the hide, or damaging the meat.
Over the years, knife makers have tried to meet the desires of hunters by producing tougher skinning knives. They have created super tough skinning knives of stainless steel and surgical steel.
Sharpen your skinning knives
According to Doug Holcomb of Northside Fishing in Hillyard, Washington, skinning knives are great when you have them first sharpened, but once the edge starts to dull, it is very difficult to re-sharpen them. Doug has professionally skinned both large and small game. He prefers a “good carbon steel blade” that he can sharpen himself in the field, if necessary. Of course, in the end, it is a hunter’s preference.
For the hunter that desires both the hide and the meat, it is best to have a good field knife as well as skinning knives. The skinning knives are not meant to get in between the bones.
A hunter should also have access to what is called a sharpening steel. Working on certain types of hides can dull even the best of skinning ,knives and being able to sharpen your skinning knives in the field saves a lot of time. Are you unfamiliar with how to properly use steels? Make a trip to your local butcher and tell them that you want, to be able to sharpen your knives in the field. Ask them if they would show you how to properly sharpen your blades against the steel.
It sounds like a lot of stuff to be carrying around with you, especially when you are also carrying your rifle or bow. Just think about how much time and money that you can save yourself by being able to field dress that big buck you just brought down, by doing everything yourself. Not to mention all the weight you do not have to pack out.
As we mentioned before, skinning well takes practice. Try your hand at skinning smaller game until you are more proficient, and feel comfortable with the process. The last thing that you want to do is mess up in the field. Make sure you get the right skinning knives and good luck hunting.