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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys at a whim because I didn't draw out for a deer tag this year I decided to put in for a antlerless tag this year so I applied for a Cow Elk tag. Well low & behold I drew out this year! Now the last time I got a elk was 1994, a few years ago then my hunting knife got dull real quick while gutting out this elk. A fellow hunter saved the day with his very very sharp hunting knife that he had made himself from a metal file! Now here is my question about three weeks ago while at Cabela's I was looking at getting a new hunting knife. The sales guy started to show me a folding blade hunting knife with snap in replaceable surgical steel type of blades. If I remember correctly the brand name of this knife might be Havelon or something similar?? I liked the size if this knife the price was around $46.00 have any of you guys had a hunting knife like this. Also this knife has different style/type of blades available for it. I am tempted to buy it mostly because of the size & the options or it. Your comments & thoughts welcomed & thanks in advanced!
 

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I'm too traditional for a tool/knife like that. I carry "good knives" and a spydeco sharpening kit. I carry Rlandall MAde knives, but have found Buck, Case knives capable of processing animals. I use my knife for many jobs during my hunting trips.
 

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That Havelon is the knife that the Meateater endorses and uses. I haven't tried it myself so I can't give feedback on it.

I will say though that if you go with a regular hunting knife, buy a good handheld sharpener and hone to go with it. It is inevitable that your knife will go dull part way through cleaning an animal that big and you want to be able to bring the edge back easily in the field.

Make sure the sharpener is quality. Cheap ones will tear up the blade more than sharpen it. Look for one that uses a tungsten or daimond abrasive (daimond being the best).
 

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I use a buck fixed blade that has served me well over the years and has served up many deer to the table. A key component to that has been a smiths pocket pal sharpener that freshens up the edge as needed. Being dirt cheap it wasnt a big loss when dropped and broken, or lost in the field. I typically only used the ceramic to refresh a good edge up but have restored many older beaten up field blades over the years with the carbide. When you get a good bit of fat built up on your edge it feels dull but the ceramic cleans it quick and when covered in fat seems to sharpen even smoother!

Ps. Ive noticed knives dull very quickly from hair, sharpening immediately after opening makes the rest of dressing easier.
 

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With a deer you gut it and drag out the animal whole. With an Elk I suspect you take it out in quarters or bone out the meat completely? If I were going to do that I would consider a small saw for cutting bone. As to the knife I have dressed a lot of deer with a Buck Vanguard (4" Blade) with a rubber covered grip. I suspect that would do the job well for larger animals like elk. Now I have a knife made by a south Texas knifemaker name Jack Sarnik:



After I'm thru gutting the animal the knife is as sharp as when I started.
 

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I've seen those Havelon knives in stores and have never used them. I don't think I ever will either. The blade replacement sort of reminds me of box cutters and I would think the reattachment area would cause a weak point on the knife. And after buying several blade replacements, you'd probably be spending what a high-end quality fixed blade costs.

For the money you could get something a little nicer. Have you looked at any Puma SGB? They are Steel German Blades (SGB) that the Puma company forge and shape in Germany and send to assemble scales in China in order to reduce retail cost from their all German line. They have some really nice hunting models. Bought myself the Puma Frontier for under $40 and have been really impressed. Might want to check them out and give them a try. http://pumaknifecompanyusa.com/

 

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Last one I carved up was with a Buck Gentleman's knife with a 3" folding blade and a set of gardening limb loppers for the boney parts.
And 4 beers of course.
Didn't do the branch loppers any good, I can tell you that.
Only later did I watch a you tube video of a guy stripping the hide off his deer with a rock, a rope, and his Polaris quad.
In about 2.35 seconds.
Never seen anything quite like that. Funny stuff right there.
Didn't see any beer in the video though, so I'll stick to the slower, edged weapon and hydraulic dinner route. :D
 

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If you want good edge retention it is mostly in the steel used for the blade. Look for D2 or a CPM variant. The higher end steel will cost more but it will hold a edge better.
 

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Personally I like Kershaw knives for skinning . Never skinned an elk but have help skin a lot of deer and my fixed blade Kershaw did great and is still sharp . But below is a list of knives that have been tested by a person that has skinned just about everything and he gives good knife suggestions and info . The Picture is my knife collection with the Kershaw I use for skinning. I don't think Kershaw makes it any more tho .

Best Hunting Knives: 7 New Fixed-Blade Sheath Knives Tested and Reviewed | Outdoor Life
 

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For the money, (I don't know what they cost now since I've had mine for 20 years), my opinion is that you can't beat a Buck fixed blade knife. I have a model 105 (the Pathfinder?), and a model 119. The steel on both of these knives is good, they hold an edge, and the model 119 has a big enough handle that I can grip it well when wearing gloves. I use the model 105 to open the gut cavity and to cut out the tenderloins, liver and heart, and I use the bigger model 119 to split the rib cage and to skin with. I also have a little Gerber T-Saw to cut bones and the pelvis with.

The only downside to these knives is that the phenolic? handles can get a little hard to hang on to if they get coated with blood or fat. I make sure I have a clean rag and a water bottle to wash the blood and fat off the knife handles if I start to lose my grip on them.

As I said, I've had both of these for awhile but even today I doubt if your would have to pay much over $50 for either of the Buck's, and they are available in almost any hardware or sporting goods store. The other tool I would recommend is a small T-saw for cutting bone. I bought mine out of a bargain bin for about $10. I like it because it has a rounded end and won't puncture the urethra or poop shoot when splitting the pelvis. Helps to keep that fecal matter from getting onto the meat.

The other caveat I have is that I never have gutted, skinned, or quartered an elk cow or bull but I have had a lot of experience with these knives on deer. Elk are bigger and physically more of a challenge to gut and skin, but I can't see where the Buck knives would be any less effective on an elk as they would on a deer.
 
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go with a small pen knife, it greatly increases your chances of getting an elk.
aside from that i have an old marble knife i use, holds a great edge. i don't think there in business now maybe find one on ebay. and bring a bone saw or axe if not accessible by vehicle.
good luck
 

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Forget that Havalon knife with the replaceable blades, the blades break easily and they take a pliers to remove replace and you can get hurt replacing them if you're not careful.
Gerber knives makes a similar blade trading knife, but with the Gerber the blades are easily changed even with cold wet hands. The blades are thicker and less prone to breakage. Go with the Gerber. Meateater's sponsored by Havalon, so of course you'd get a biased evaluation from him.
 

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back in '65 when I graduated from high school, I bought a Buck 110 Folding Hunter .... about 30 years later I'd used/sharpened it so many times that blade was a good bit smaller .... I sent it back to Buck and they installed a new blade (no cost, under warranty) .... I fully anticipate sending it back sometime down the line for them to install another blade .... it is a working knife .... while I have no clue how many whitetail deer, it has put in the cooler, I do know it has taken care of 3 black bears, 2 elk, and 3 mule deer .... for 20 some years I catered pig pick'ns where is was used to process literally hundreds of hogs .... back in July 2014 I purchased a Wrenwane 2 Stage Knife Sharpener and now use it exclusively .... the Buck holds it edge and when it does need to be resharpened, the Wrenwane quickly restores it to a shaving edge .... this combo works really well for me
 

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I have used a Gerber Gator folding knife for 30 years. It has a rubber handle that doesn't slip even if you have bloody hands. Mine has a half serrated blade, that zips through sternum cartilage like it was butter. They are available without the serrated portion of the blade, if you prefer. For fixed blades, I have two Colt knives, one is a skinner with a gut hook and the other is a clip point, both have 4" stainless blades and rubber handles, similar to the Gator........robin
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I forgot about the Havalon ought me a made in USA Kershaw folder all stainless steel, cost a tad more about $80.00 but well worth it.
 

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Here are some of my thoughts on knives.

Buck knives: Buck uses their own steel and they take a good edge but they are a bit soft and need to be resharpened fairly often.

ESEE knives: From my experience, the 1095 steel they use is very durable and takes a razor edge. I have an ESEE 5 that I use to cut down palmettos and smilax in my yard. Now the ESEE 5 is a bit heavy for a hunting knife (1/4" thick!) but my point is after a year's yard trimming use, it was still sharp enough to shave with. These are good knives and an ESEE 3 or 4 would go a long way in dressing out game.

Puma knives: Puma makes some incredible steel. Their White Hunter model for example can go for years without sharpening but when it needs sharpening it will take a day or two to get it back. Their Hunter's Pal and Skinner knives are made of a very durable steel that holds its edge very well. Some of Puma's SGB models use a softer steel than their German models as well. With Puma, the steel they use (in their German line) are usually well designed to accommodate the intended use of the knife.

My choice would be either an ESEE 4 or a Puma Skinner. Regardless, take a sharpening kit along for that long tough job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
My Kershaw has 1840 stainless steel blade. I looked on the Puma Knife web sight they have a few knives in the $35.00-$45.00 range. They claim their blades are made in Germany then assembled in China.....?? Well as long as their quality is up the China made Kershaws are not nearly as nice as the USA made Kershaws in my opinion. My favorite is my Kabar 2 bladed folder with s stag type of handle.
 
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