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Old October 4, 2017, 12:49 PM   #1
Brian Pfleuger
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Knife for elk, mule deer, bear

Hey gang,

Heretofore, my knife needs have been simple and I was content with “disposable” $10-$20 offerings from Walmart.

Being as my current hunting expositions will be in the wild of CO and on critters much larger and/or tougher than the 120lb whitetail deer I’m so used to, I am now in the market for a (hopefully much) better blade.

I’d like to keep it ~$100 or less.

I have considered several options but let’s here those pontifications!
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Old October 4, 2017, 01:05 PM   #2
huntinaz
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Ugly as they are, Havalon knives are pretty great. Yeah you have to change blades but it's pretty easy and faster than re-sharpening and you always have a very sharp knife. I have the Piranta and it works great from fox to elk.

My only complaint (other than I think they are butt ugly compared to a real knife) is the rivets in mine (handle) got loose and one fell out before I could tighten it. In their defense, I carried it in my pocket and was hard on it. I also haven't contacted them about a warranty. Electrical tape is doing the job and it's still kicking.

I know quite a few other guys that have not had this problem.

They go on sale for like $35 with 12 blades, I'd buy another if this brakes completely. The functionality is excellent.

I do have a very nice skinner but it cost a LOT more than $100.

I'm also a lousy knife sharpener, there are probably $100 knives that hold an edge if you can put a good one on it but I'm not that guy
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Last edited by huntinaz; October 4, 2017 at 01:14 PM.
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Old October 4, 2017, 01:50 PM   #3
Kwik2010
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I have a Gerber Gator that has been on my pack for several years now. I wanna say they go for between 40 and 50 dollars. It's always been easy enough to sharpen and holds and edge fairly well. All around good knife IMO.
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Old October 4, 2017, 02:06 PM   #4
jmr40
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I have more expensive knives, but it is still hard to go wrong with any of the Mora's.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_s...=3EG9W7R01H87M

The basic knives are about $15, the heavy duty ones with slightly thicker blades and slightly larger handles are $20ish. One of these is always in my pack, truck, or closeby. I have accumulated several of them. To me it is worth $5 more for the heavy duty version.

I think this is a "best buy" in a quality folder. You get G-10 handles, a decent blade length and S30V steel. Most knives with these features are over $150. This compares very closely to the Benchmade Griptilian with G-10 handles Don't confuse the "Pro" model with the standard model with cheaper steel and plastic handles.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I0MAH6W...507142796&sr=1

The Benchmade with G10 and better steel. You can find the standard Griptilian with plastic handles and CM154 steel for right at $100. It is a very good knife. But I'm not sure it is any better than the Buck Vantage Pro. Especially since the Buck has better steel and handles.

https://www.amazon.com/Benchmade-Gri...ade+griptilian

The Ka-Bar Beckers are good knives, but more survival and bushcraft than hunting. But the BK-16 will do nicely as a dual purpose knife.

https://www.amazon.com/Ka-Bar-Becker...s=kabar+becker

I dressed mine up with better grips and sheath. With the sheath and handles it is over your budget, but not too much. This is a nice knife.

https://www.amazon.com/Ka-Bar-BK16HN...K3MDQY2R8JC80Q
https://www.amazon.com/Sharpshooter-...r+knife+sheath
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Old October 4, 2017, 02:37 PM   #5
T. O'Heir
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"...much larger and/or tougher..." Larger, yes. Tougher, no. Any 4" or so, drop point or one of your “disposable” $10-$20 offerings(from Wally World or Cabela's or anywhere else) will do as well as any $100 big brand name knife.
"...rivets in mine (handle) got loose and..." Lee Valley Tools sells replacement knife handle rivets for not too stupid a price. http://www.leevalley.com/en/hardware...=3,41306,41327
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Old October 4, 2017, 04:51 PM   #6
AllenJ
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I own a lot of knives but I seem to always have a Gerber in my pack. I've had very good luck with them.
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Old October 4, 2017, 05:30 PM   #7
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I have been using lock blade Swiss Army knives for all my field dressing now for 30 years. I get the one with the saw and it goes through the pelvis quickly on game up to Moose size. On Buffalo I use a pruning saw for the pelvis the ribs.
Here are the ones I get.
https://www.swissknifeshop.com/shop/...s-army-trekker
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002YLXQGI...a-310917170291

With my Swiss Army knives I have gutted, skinned and field Quartered everything from doe Antelope to bull buffalo. I have an E-Z Lap sharpener in my pack too, so if I need to touch up the edge on a big animal I can in about 30 seconds.
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Old October 4, 2017, 05:41 PM   #8
Mr. Hill
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That kabar bk16 will be an excellent hunting knife, I'm seriously considering one myself. And it's made in the USA.
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Old October 4, 2017, 05:53 PM   #9
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I have always had a Puma strapped to my side. The last one i purchased was a Stag Horn Bowie and I paid $97 NIB. German made and tough and holds an edge well. The first one Ipurchased was 1963 and was a White Hunter. Paid $15.

The White Hunter sells for $300-$350 now, so they do appreciate in value.
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Old October 4, 2017, 05:56 PM   #10
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I bought a havalon last year, the the small interchangable blade model, did really like it, too small. I looked further and found that they make a lock blade conventional "extremely sharp" with a fold out interchangable blade I would call surgical sharp so I bought it. I used it for gutting and skinning last year and was very satisfied..I believe 50 bucks..
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Old October 4, 2017, 06:13 PM   #11
Mobuck
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Look for a "Pendleton Lite" on ebay. Best $20 knife money can buy. They hold an edge well w/o being difficult to sharpen and the shape is quite amenable to average sized hands.
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Old October 4, 2017, 06:59 PM   #12
Brian Pfleuger
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The larger of the Havalon knives and some of their competitors were on top of my list. I’m a little concerned about going through $50 in blades trying to get through all that hair on a bear. I guess that’s pretty much the definition of putting the cart before the horse since I might not even lay eyes on one.
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Old October 4, 2017, 07:01 PM   #13
VoodooMountain
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Mora companion, marttiini big game, buck vanguard, buck 103, and there are many many others.

You could about purchase all these knives for around $100 total and then choose your favorite.
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Old October 4, 2017, 07:22 PM   #14
Slamfire
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The Grohmann Canadian belt knife is on the top, a Grohmann skinner middle, and if you have to have a pry bar knife, the #4 Survival has a 5.5" blade. Grohmann has the skinner on sale: http://www.gknives.com/index.php/pro...1-34/clearance



I gave a Bud a copy of the Canadian belt knife and a Grohmann #4 in high carbon steel. He much preferred the smaller knife in disassembling deer. Cavemen used stone flakes to reduce Mammoths to packable sizes, the cutting tool does not have to be very long.

I think a hatchet, maybe a folding saw, and one of these knives and you have everything you could need.
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Old October 4, 2017, 08:09 PM   #15
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I agree with the poster who mentioned any 4" drop point; for mulies and elk, you'll want two knives and a steel or stone for touching it up. A good bone saw cam be very handy as well.
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Old October 4, 2017, 08:57 PM   #16
Panfisher
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I change knives more often than I change my underwear. However a few get a lot of the work. I cheap Cold Steel Canadian Belt Knife, less than $20, also an Outdoor edge swing blade. If you want to save on edge dulling the gutting blade on the swing blade works well with a little practice. Or oddly enough I use a folding utility knife with a hook blade a lot when ringing around a hoof, or splitting hide down a leg. Stays sharp and a pack of 5 blades is maybe $5. I also love my Puma and some others, because who doesn't like a quality blade.
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Old October 4, 2017, 09:36 PM   #17
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Bigger game doesn't need a "bigger" or "tougher" knife. Skinning is skinning - regardless of whether it is a buffalo or a deer. Get a knife the fits comfortably in your hand that you can hold and use for a long time without getting fatigued. Also, don't think that you need one knife to do all jobs. It is perfectly OK to use a small knife in the field and then use a bigger knife back at camp or at home to break down the carcass.
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Old October 4, 2017, 10:41 PM   #18
huntinaz
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Quote:
The larger of the Havalon knives and some of their competitors were on top of my list. I’m a little concerned about going through $50 in blades trying to get through all that hair on a bear. I guess that’s pretty much the definition of putting the cart before the horse since I might not even lay eyes on one.
Actually I'm impressed at the blades. Cut that bear hide from the inside anyway, that blade will last.

I ordered my Piranta Edge with a total of 24 of the 60a standard blades and 12 of the 22xt blades. So 36 blades total and that was $45 shipped knife included from Midway. It's been a couple years but for sure I have done 2 coyotes and 2 fox, 3 goats, 1 sheep, maybe 10 chickens, 2 geese, 2 turkeys, at least 4 deer, at least 4 elk, 2 domestic hogs (325lb and 500lb) and a bunch of squirrels. I also carried it as my pocket knife for awhile until the rivet worked loose. I have plenty of blades left. Probably maybe have to order more next year but I'm set this year. I use my knife and I kill and help kill a lot of critters. I doubt that total I listed is all inclusive and by "doing" I mean gutting and skinning, or quartering and field butchering.

Point is blades last awhile and buying more doesn't break the bank. I honestly have rarely wished for a larger knife when doing elk. I've thought about it and would like to try a bigger one sometime but that little Piranta gets in there and cuts up elk like nobody's business. In fact there are times when I'm elbow deep in a bull elk carcass trying to cut the windpipe and pull the heart/lungs out and I'm glad I only have that little blade because they are sharp as hell and it gets hard keeping track of the knife from your fingers with all the heavy elk organs in the way.


Here's an elk heart extracted with the Piranta:


Skinning with the Piranta:


Quartering and field butchering with a Piranta (That's a Buck folder on the carcass, also a fine knife, the Piranta is in my hand):



I feel like Havalon knives are the least classy way to go and if I was to have a choice of knives to lose it'd be that one because it's the cheapest to replace. But 2 ish years ago after pricing good knives and good sharpening equipment after years of carrying two knives and a steel with me and sharpening as I go... in my opinion the Havalon wins in sharpness and handiness. I'm happy with my decision. I tried to dislike Havalon. Every time I'd guide an elk down and someone would say "here, use my Havalon" I'd accept only to be polite. But once I got to cutting I didn't mind that ugly scalpel blade so much. Nothing cuts like a scalpel blade. Havalon knives are the bees knees. There, I said it. Took me a long time to work up to that admission


P.S.
Congrats on your relocation. I'll be visiting your old stomping grounds, headed to Upstate NY this year to hunt deer
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Last edited by huntinaz; October 4, 2017 at 10:57 PM.
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Old October 5, 2017, 07:15 AM   #19
hooligan1
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Buck 110 is all me and my family have ever needed, but we hunt whitetails and havent taken anything larger yet.
These can hold an edge for a couple seasons provided they were sharpened correctly from the start.
35 or so bucks from about everywhere you find em....
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Old October 5, 2017, 08:49 AM   #20
Panfisher
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I will admit the Havalons have been intriguing me. Ugly oh my yes they are but they work. While working a special hunt a friend had some havalon blades he had reolaced. Being kind of a knife goober I had to sharpen them, instead of tossing them he put them right back into his kit, they sharpened up just fine. I use a wheel system to sharpen with.
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Old October 5, 2017, 08:59 AM   #21
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Holding an edge is important, but being able to re-sharpen as necessary is more important.
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Old October 5, 2017, 09:04 AM   #22
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My deer hunting friend carries cutco knives. Both straight edged and serrated.
Lifetime warranty and free resharpening, but you gotta pay s&h. He's used their resharpening service, after carving up deer with just the knives, it is a lot of blade work.
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Old October 5, 2017, 09:41 AM   #23
huntinaz
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^^ I use Cutco knives for butchering at home, Very happy with those too.
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Old October 5, 2017, 10:49 AM   #24
FITASC
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Quote:
Holding an edge is important, but being able to re-sharpen as necessary is more important.
Yep, slightly softer steel than can be resharpened very quickly as opposed to super hardened that takes a day to resharpen can be a better alternative at times.
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Old October 5, 2017, 11:07 AM   #25
Brian Pfleuger
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Great post Huntinaz. I think I’ll go with a Havalon. Nice to hear from someone who’s used them a lot. Makes me more confident.

Now, which one?

Good luck on your NY hunting expedition. Let me know if I can be of any assistance. NY is a big place so you’re probably not hunting any place I know well but I’ll do what I can.
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