Here are the knives that celebrated western hunter Randy Newberg uses in the field when breaking down big game, along with why they’re his favorites.
Randy Newberg has cut up a lot of big game animals and used a lot of knives in the process. In this video, he narrows the selection of knives down to two or three that he favors and shares a trick or two he’s learned for keeping his knives sharp.
“I don’t go anywhere without a scalpel blade knife,” says Newberg.
He favors the Gerber Vital replacement blade knife. If weight is an issue, he says, this small scalpel blade knife might be the only one he’ll carry.
But weight is seldom an issue, and Newberg also favors fixed-blade knives. Again, he goes with Gerber, using their Gator Premium line. These knives, which come in drop point, clip point and gut hook models, are available in a fixed-blade form factor (for around $140-$150) and as folders (around $120).
He prefers a fixed-blade knife or folder whenever bone is involved, reserving his scalpel blade knife for hide removal and meat-only use.
As for keeping your knives sharp and in good working order, Newberg has a couple of tips.
- When you cut hide, make sure you’re cutting in the direction that the hair is laying. You’ll end up with less hair on your meat, and it will not dull your blade as quickly as cutting in the other direction.
- When stripping hide, make your cutting strokes parallel to the hide and perpendicular to the meat, not the other way around.
- When cutting around bone, Newberg tries to use the back third to back half of his blade, preserving the sharpness of the front half of the knife.
It’s all pretty simple and common-sense stuff. I’d also suggest, if you carry a fixed blade or folder in your pack, that you carry a small sharpening stone as well.
You know the old parable about the man who spent most of his time sharpening his knife before cutting, rather than trying to do the job with a dull blade. His working time was greatly decreased, and the ease and expertness with which he did the job was greatly increased.
Use a sharp knife, and keep it sharp.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.