Skinning and cleaning game can be an intensive process, especially with larger animals. The right tool can make the job much easier and safer. Skinning knives are specially designed to accomplish this and come in different designs to suit different aspects of the job.Skinning Knife Features
The common feature of skinning knives is a sharp and slightly curved blade. This curve allows the knife to slide between the skin and lower layers of fat or muscles, while also matching the motion of a human hand to maintain cutting contact as long as possible. The Bowie knife is a well-known example of this and is often used as a general-purpose knife, with skinning being one of its abilities. Some skinning knives have other features such as a sharp backwards notch behind the blade’s tip for gutting. The gutting hook can be used to slice open the abdominal cavity and can aid in working loose sinew and connective tissue. These hooks come in different shapes and sizes for different game and also to provide a wider range of options during use. Some skinning knife designs may feature a separate hook, either detachable or as part of a set, with a loop handle design for better grip. Handles of skinning knives also commonly feature a finger groove near the blade to ensure a better grip and control when performing the delicate but intensive task of skinning and cleaning. Skinning knives may have a small or nonexistent guard, as the need to protect the hand is tempered by the necessity of working the knife into tight spaces.Skinning Knife Designs
Skinning knives come in a wide range of designs beyond the merely functional. Some are made to be primarily kitchen tools for butchering and cleaning meat for cooking and feature simple blades and plain black handles. Others are made to be hunting knives, and feature sturdier blades and wooden inset handles. These may also serve as general-use blades, and as such may not have as pronounced a curve or any additions such as the gutting hook. Some skinning knives are available in folding or switchblade styles. Skinning knives vary in size, with small tool-set knives being only a few inches and larger knives having a blade up to nine inches long.