View Full Version : Hunting knife - fixed vs. folder

June 14, 2001, 07:16 PM
For dressing a mule deer, which type of blade do most prefer, fixed or a folder? I am trying to decide which style to buy. I like the feel of the Buck Folding hunter with a 4" blade. I have even heard of someone using a Leatherman Wave multitool! Except, it seems like you would get all the junk in the nooks and cranies of the knife. If I went with a fixed blade, does anyone have recommendations? Is a 4" blade about optimum?


Al Thompson
June 14, 2001, 07:31 PM
I have not needed a 4 inch blade. Two and a bit seems to work just fine for field dressing, 6 inch butchers knife for filleting the meat.

I'm playing with a A.G. Russel lightweight for this season. Looks good from behind this screen..


Art Eatman
June 14, 2001, 07:45 PM
I've used both; "need" is maybe two to three inches. The only problem with a mulie is splitting the pelvis. It's thick enough to be a bit difficult to just rip with a pocket knife.

Which is why I also carry a Swiss Army pocket knife with a sawblade. (The sawblade is third in importance behind #2, the scissors*; and, TaDa!, #1, the toothpick.)

:), Art

* For trimming my mustache.

June 14, 2001, 07:57 PM
Check out the Gerber folders as well. Great blades.

Arizona Fusilier
June 14, 2001, 09:24 PM
I recently aquired a couple of fixed-lblade knives for hunting, but don't have any experience with them yet.

Most "experts" say a small knife is best except for the largest of game (say, elk or moose). For a mulie, a 3" blade or so is more than adequate. I have extensive use with the Gerber exchange-blade, and highly recommend it.

June 16, 2001, 08:04 PM
I don't mind the larger blade so I use a 5" or smaller. I would definitely go with a fixed blade with a fairly grippy handle cuz its bad when it slips (ouch!)


Jay Baker
June 16, 2001, 08:06 PM
I prefer a fixed blade knife, with a blade between 3 1/2" to 4", in length. I've used them on elk, mule and whitetail deer, black bear, antelope, and small game and fish.

I suggest you go to www.dozierknives.com, and take a look at Bob Dozier's hunting knives. They are handmade, between 3" to 3 3/4" blades, and are outstanding. Also, Dozier makes the best knife on the market today, for such a reasonable price.

Take care of it, and it'll last you, your son, and your grandson, for cleaning game.

Jay Baker
June 16, 2001, 08:11 PM
Whoops! Sorry about the double post. J.B.

June 16, 2001, 09:31 PM
Multiple medium size folders.

One time managed to get a deer and guess what?

I forgot my knife at home! :mad:

Never again!

One in a breast pocket, one in the coat, one in my back pocket and 3-4 in my backpack if I have one too!

Having an extra lets you switch to a fresh blade if you dull up the first one too.


Ron L
June 16, 2001, 10:10 PM
I prefer fixed blades. I have two, a Dozier and a handmade by Terry Hearn. Both have blades just under 4 inches and seem to work well. I also carry a folder too, just in case.

June 17, 2001, 01:41 AM
Dressed both my elk and whitetail last year with a Schrade 4" folder and the saw on a Leatherman Supertool. I don't see the real need for a fixed blade, but the better grip might be nice, to avoid dressing your fingers. ;)

June 18, 2001, 02:21 AM
I am a little Jaded towards a fixed blade Drop Point knife, the problem with most folders is they don't have enough "belly" in the Blade to do the job easily........

I carry 2 or 3 swiss army knives in my pack and they all have saw blades on them and I am sure they could be used in a field situation to gut a deer.

It is best to use 2 to 3 knives when gutting most animals, only the most experienced hunters have an effortless time gutting and skinning and most of us (me included) take awhile to do it.

I like one of those Safety Gutters for unzipping the animal, youknow the one with the razor blade and the protected blade so you don't slice intestines. Then you need a good saw or a knife you can beat with a rock to get through the pelvic girdle and other spots.

And of course a GOOD knife that is sharp and perhaps a small sharpening steel to keep the edge tuned up..... even a second knife to switch too will usually be enough to get the job done, knives dull quickly on anything bigger then a deer.

Dave McC
June 18, 2001, 03:09 AM
I'm basically a whitetail hunter but....

Neither fixed nor folders have any great advantage over the other. My faves include a Bucklite,a Gerber EZ Out(Both folders), Pop's old Case Sheath knife that takes one wicked edge but needs a touchup before finishing dressing, and a Helle. The Helle is made from laminated steel, like the swords of the Vikings and the Samurai. It takes a wicked edge and keeps it. I dressed out two does last fall with mine and it still shaves hair. Cleans up easier than the folders, too.

John Y Cannuck
June 18, 2001, 05:40 AM
I am a whitetail, moose, bear hunter, I carry a buck light. Works just fine. You don't need to split the pelvis if you are carefull, and tie off the bladder and intestine. it can be pulled through after a little trimming.
I have used knives as small as 1.5" on whitetail, the only problem is slippage, two small handle. The buck lite has lots of grip, it does need more cleaning when done, as the grips have grooves that get plugged with venison tallow.

Zak Smith
June 18, 2001, 05:17 PM
Fallkniven (http://www.fallkniven.com) makes very high-quality knives. The F1 (http://www.fallkniven.com/a1f1/f1_en.htm), H1 (http://www.fallkniven.com/h1.htm), WM (http://www.fallkniven.com/wm.htm), and S1 (http://www.fallkniven.com/S1new.html) are appropriate for dressing game. (Though the S1 is a bit large at 5.1").

I have the F1, my brother the H1, and my father the S1.

I generally prefer these to folders for hunting purposes. More sturdy for going through the inevitable sinew, or to butcher a carcas that's been frozen for a few days. And easier to clean, too.


June 18, 2001, 06:28 PM
After having carried way too much weight in the elk woods for too many years, I now carry a single Victorinox (Swiss Army Knife - but specifically NOT a Wenger = choice of "stuff" & personal preference) lock-blade Huntsman. It has a ~3.5 main blade, "un-zipper-blade" + a saw blade (+ a coupla extras goodies - yes, Art, it comes with that toothpick ;) AND a corkscrew!)

Pretty much bare-bones & has done quite well for every elk. Plenty sturdy, lightweight, holds an edge (a small steel or ceramic sharpener weighs much less than another whole knife) & has always done the trick.

I will agree with (mumble/above) re is doesn't have a good belly for skinning. Still, it's a great compromise & does the trick.

Art Eatman
June 19, 2001, 10:28 AM
Regardless of type of knife or shape of the blade, there's an easy trick to keep from getting into gut or stomach when opening up Bambi.

Make an initial cut in the skin somewhere around the middle of the stomach. I use the hair as a "handle" to pull the skin up and away from the innards. Then, I guard the point of the knife with the end of my index finger while holding the handle by the back fingers. Just slice the skin forwards toward the throat and back to the pelvis. The point can't dig into anything, and the off hand is free to pull skin, help guide the knife, whatever.

A skinning knife is a bit more special-purpose than what's required for gutting.


June 20, 2001, 06:48 AM
The most handy blade set I have for hunting is an Outdoor edge "Kodi-Pac". This is three pieces saw, caper 3", guthook skinner 4". This will cover any game you bagfrom squirrel to Moose. I do not like cleaning folders after dressing game. It is too easy to miss getting blood out of the mechanism.

Good hunting,

"Vegitarian" - Indian name for poor hunter.