As I demonstrate in Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound, almost any steel knife that has a sharp edge may be used to process deer and similar-sized game animals. Larger game such as moose and elk
require bigger tools, but for deer anything with from 2-4 inches of blade length will serve.
If you want to save the hide it pays to use a knife with not too much “prick” on the point. Spear pointed blades such as the one on the old Kamp King knife shown in the lead photo will do very well for skinning without jabbing through the hide with nearly every cut.
Milti-bladed knives have a place in that they offer a variety of blades that can be used to open the hide, take off the skin and sometimes even saw blades. Such knives may have interchangeable blades, like the Case XX Changer, or only two with different point styles.
A little “hunt magic” is incorporated into knives that use part of the animal to make the knife. The extreme is in the Germanic knives which actually use a hoof for the handle and many knives which incorporate stag handles. An
American company, Silver Stag, (www.silverstag.com) will take your antler section and make a specialized knife from it with an appropriate-sized blade with, or without, a schrimshawed picture. I can’t think of a better way to commemorate a young hunter’s first kill that was just too small to mount.
Yet other types of hunting knives are specialized in that they are mostly designed for either killing game or skinning. These are often large fixed-blade with Bowie blades with a sharp point or even cleaver shaped with rounded edges. Killing knives can have blades that are over a foot long and are very nearly short swords.
There is much variety and interest in hunting knives. I often write about this subject in Knife World and in the Krause knife annuals such as “Knives 2010” which are now on the stands.