No Reason Not To Hunt With Knives and Replaceable Blades
By Jason Brooks
A sharp knife is hard to keep when you are skin- ning and quartering an elk or deer. Stopping to sharpen the blade means digging in your pack, pulling out the sharpener and honing the blade on a steep hillside. Plus, carrying the sharpening stone adds weight to your pack. For a few years now companies have come out with replaceable blade knives. The idea is that when one blade be- come dull simply put on a new blade and keep working on the animal. Some knives even have the ability to switch out blades to ones that are specific for a certain job.
Last fall I used a Havalon replaceable blade knife to skin and de-bone three elk and a mule deer. The knife made quick work. I did cut myself a few times without knowing as the blade are basically a razor blade that is attached to a metal post. If there is one problem it is that the blades are thin and prone to breaking when working around bone, such as trying to remove the cape from around the antlers or taking out the ivories from an elk jaw.
Outdoor Edge makes a replaceable blade knife that also uses razor sharp blades but they are inserted into a metal sheath that holds it in place much like a traditional blade. I have used this knife several times over the years and hav- en’t cut myself yet but I also noticed that if you are working on an animal with a lot of fat, such as a bear, it can be difficult to change blades as the metal sheath collects debris and the blade won’t lock in.
The multi-blade knife is a great way to light- en your pack when you need some specialty tools like a saw. I use the Kershaw Alaskan Blade Trader that comes with a standard blade, a curved skinning blade with gut hook and a fine- tooth saw that makes cutting antlers off much easier. This knife doesn’t use disposable razor blades but instead heavy-duty blades that hold an edge but still need to be sharpened after the hunt is over.
If you are looking for a way to lighten your pack and carry multiple sharp knives, take a look at the different options that have interchange- able blades. Just remember that they are razor sharp. I recommend carrying a few Bandaids® as well.