My favorite deer hunting knife is actually two knives, a Westmark 702 and a Browning Bird and Trout.

The Westmark is used for gutting, splitting the pelvis, and skinning. The Browning is used for just about everything else involved in processing a deer for the freezer. Both knives are razor sharp, very well balanced, and have a blade design and heft appropriate for their intended purpose.

In my opinion, safety is one of the most critical concerns in selecting a knife for gutting. When I'm up to my elbows in slimy gore, working by flashlight, in the cold, with a little extra adrenaline pumping, I want something to keep my grip hand away from the business end of the knife. The large bolster (finger guard) and the grip shape of the Westmark are perfect for my hand, even when everything is saturated with blood and goo. I also like the flat heel which I pound on with my hand to drive the tip through the pelvic bone while splitting it.

See below for an example of what can happen when fingers and sharp blade meet while field dressing a deer. I think it took seven stitches to repair my son's finger.

The Browning is used for everything after skinning, e.g., quartering, pulling backstrips and tenderloins, boning, separating muscle groups, and final trimming, silverskin and fat removal (I do use a fillet knife to remove the thick layer of silverskin on the backstrips - just like filleting the skin off a bass). The blade is basically a cross between a fillet knife and a boning knife. The handle is well balanced and very comfortable, even after several hours of continuous use. It is also a perfect blade for small game and ducks.

Just wondering what others prefer, and why. Post up some pics.

Edited by Pursuit Hunter (01/22/13 06:25 PM)
One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted - Jose Ortega y Gasset