When you’re shopping for sporting knives, the sheer number of options can be confusing if you’re not an expert. One type of knife that often baffles inexperienced hunters is the skinning knife. Many people are unsure whether skinning knives are even necessary if you already have a larger hunting knife.
A skinning knife is a type of hunting knife that’s made for a specific purpose. Unlike most general sporting knives, a skinning blade is meant to do one thing well but isn’t necessarily the best choice for other tasks.
So what exactly is the difference between a skinning knife and a more general hunting knife? Here’s a rundown:
A hunting knife is made for general hunting and other outdoor activities. Hunting knives come in all shapes and sizes and, when made for quality, usually feature a strong handle and high-quality stainless steel blade. These knives are the rugged, heavy lifters in the world of sporting knives; a hunting knife is great for cutting up game to be packed or cooked. While the hunting knife has evolved much over the last few decades, these evolutions are not that helpful when trying to skin game.
While a quality hunting knife will work great for preparing game, a skinning knife is the best tool for removing its skin. Skinning knives are made for removing animal skin delicately so as not to damage the meat underneath. They work better than a regular hunting knife because the blade is thinner, more flexible and more bendable. This makes it easier to cut around bone, etc.
Also, the tip of a skinning knife blade is slightly curved to prevent you from accidentally piercing or ripping the meat or animal hide. Most hunters prefer to use skinning knives that can be easily sharpened out in the field. Thus, avoid expensive cutlery skinning knives such as the type that you might use in the kitchen, as this type of steel damages easily. You want to pack something that’s both easy to handle and durable.