Something I was always searching for and trying different brands out were skinning knives. A good knife goes a long way and can save you a lot of time while in the field. Most knives always start out razor sharp, but after skinning out a few animals you can easily tell the quality of the knife. I have finally found 2 "go to" knives that I can take in the field and know they will be sharp every time even if we are on our 2nd moose or 4th caribou.
The first knife I go to is the Cutco Drop Point Double D. This Cutco has a 4-1/2" blade and a 4-3/4" grip that comes in black or orange. I prefer the orange grip because it stands out while in the field. It's very easy to set it down while cleaning and forget or not be able to locate it. I also chose the 'Double D Edge' over the straight profiled edge. The Cutco version of serrations provide smooth, clean cuts where other traditional serrations might not. This edge actually has three recessed flat cutting edges which, in my opinion, help the knife stay sharper for longer than a typical straight edged blade.
This knife allows me to saw though tough hides or pick my way through bones and joints. It comes with a black leather sheath that has a belt loop for carrying and a wrap around snap for holding the knife in. The grip is made of Kraton that works great dry or wet. Last year this knife went through 4 caribou and 1 moose and this year 2 black bears without ever being sharpened. I am just now starting to think I should send it in for a sharpening before we head back out for the coming season. This knife is perfectly balanced and will fly right though the thickest of hides with ease. Cutting through joints is no problem and has allowed me to not have to carry a bone saw in a few cases.
Two things that come to mind about Cutco Knives is that they make extremely sharp and durable products and Cutcos customer service is first class. If you have a sales rep that is in your area you can schedule for them to come by and sharpen your knife or knives free of charge. Your other option is you can send it in to Cutco for a sharpening free of charge as well minus a small shipping fee. Recently Kyle's dad had his knife of 20 years sent in for a sharpening and not only did Kyle's knife come back razor sharp as usual, but they also sent his dad a brand new knife identical to his old one free of charge because it had been sharpened so many times that the blade was deemed too short to re-sharpen. If that's not customer service I don't know what is! For me this knife will always have a home in my pack.
Contact local Alaska Cutco sales rep Josh Wood at (907) 632-1165 or email him at www.AlaskaKnifeGuy.com
The second knife I recently bought after hearing great reviews is the Havalon Piranta.
This is a small folding blade knife that when open is 7-1/4" long and comes with 12 sealed razor sharp stainless steel #60XT replaceable blades. The handle has a rubber inlay giving it a grip even when wet. It also comes with a carrying case and an extra pocket for taking the extra blades along. The blades are extremely sharp and when dull you can pop on a new one in seconds. This knife is extremely light weight and compact weighing in at less than 3 oz. With the replaceable blades it doesn't require you to carry sharpening stones or files. It comes in a variety of colors. Again, I stuck with blaze orange so it is easy to find while in the field. On a couple hunts this past year we had taken off from our wheelers or left our group with just a rifle in hand. After the shot we learned to always carry a knife in your pocket so at least one person can begin skinning while the other goes back for the wheeler or while you wait for the group to arrive.
We wasted valuable time waiting while most of the work could have already been done waiting on a knife! This Havalon also makes cape work a breeze. Turning lips, eyes, ears, etc. with these extremely sharp smaller blades can give you a bit more confidence in doing these chores while in the backcountry, as the knife does all the work for you. From now on, this knife will always be in my pocket while hunting.