Once, I found myself doing some knife work on an animal that had been harvested. I keep several good knives around, each with an intended use. But, in this particular scenario they were all still packed up in boxes somewhere, so I made the decision to “use what I had”, which was a survival knife not at all intended on carving out meat to be put in the freezer. In the end, the meat was wasted as I laid in the emergency room waiting for a doctor to come finish up my stitches and discharge me. Lesson learned.
We all know that it’s easier to drive a nail with a hammer than with a screwdriver. The same goes for nearly every scenario, and as deer season is full swing in many areas and about to be in others, now is a good time to remember that skinning and butchering out your kill is not only easier with the right tools, but safer as well.
With proper skinning knives, gutting knives, saws, and the like; the first thing you will notice is efficiency. The job is going to be much easier to get done. The cuts are going to be much cleaner. And, ultimately, you will be able to be much more precise in what cuts of meat you end up with without “butchering” it all to pieces. If there’s a job to be done, getting it right is about more than pride, it’s about getting the most out of your wild game so that it can better provide for you and your family.
And to my second point; using the proper knife for a given situation greatly reduces your chance of injury. And I know many of us know this, but especially for those of us who tend to think we can “make do”—don’t. Take the time to prepare and, not only have the correct tools ready, but have them sharpened and at their best. If I were to have a proper skinning knife, with a gut hook per se, then I would’ve never taken a 6” blade to my inner thigh. The chance of injury is always going to be there, but we can greatly diminish those chances by using the right equipment.
Don’t learn these lessons the way I did. Make sure you have the right tools, make sure they’re ready to go when the time calls, and make sure you’ve taken the time to properly prepare before you set out to hunt this year. It will save A LOT of aggravation in the long run.