Brad Herndon Reviews Havalon Knives for Field Dressing Deer

Outdoor Writer Brad Herndon Reviews Havalon Knives

Outdoor writer and pro hunter Brad Herndon

This is my first year using Havalon knives and as the 2010 season has progressed I have been able to use them quite a bit — for field-dressing, caping out a buck, and for butchering. Therefore I want to update you on my thoughts about them.

Havalon for Field Dressing a Deer

For field-dressing a mature 5 ½ year old buck I used the Piranta Whitetail skinning knife. It has a 2 ¾ inch blade, with the knife being 7 ¼ inches long overall. I use the shortest knife possible for a job since short knives enable me to have more accurate control over the blade and thereby I can increase my speed without sacrificing safety.

This knife was razor sharp and enabled me to quickly open up the deer. Also, due to its sharpness and adequate length I was safely able to cut around the buck’s anus cavity. Once I reached up inside the deer and cut its windpipe and esophagus, and made the other necessary cuts, I was able to roll the innards out, along with the anus related tissue  through the anus cavity and bring out the deer’s entrails cleanly without tainting any meat.

Havalon for Caping a Buck

After letting the deer hang for three days I caped out the buck. The Piranta Whitetail was up to this task as well. I’m an experienced caper and take my time so I used the standard blade for this task. However, if you’re inexperienced in the caping process Havalon does make a blunt tip blade for the Piranta that helps prevent poking holes in the cape.

Havalon for Quartering and Butchering a Deer

After the caping process was completed it was down to quartering and butchering the buck. Again I used the Piranta for this, being careful to use the knife for cutting only muscle, fat, ligaments and tendons. Keep in mind saws are made for cutting through bone, not sharp knife blades which will be quickly dulled. Once the meat was deboned, we cut out all parts that would make delicious steaks, saving the rest for roasts and stew meat.

For cutting those big buck steaks I used the Baracuta, which carries a 5 inch blade and an overall length of 11 inches. It worked perfectly for this job, but I didn’t use it for anything else since you sacrifice accuracy and speed when using longer blades and knives for detailed work. Use each knife for the job it is best suited for.

Be Careful, They Are Surgically Sharp

In summation, if you are one of those hunters used to using a near-dull knife, be very careful using Havalon knives at first. They are surgically sharp, and if you make a miscue you’re going to cut yourself quicker than you can believe. Go slow at first, being very careful, and make the adjustment to working with some of the world’s sharpest knives. You will soon find yourself enjoying field-dressing, caping and butchering whitetails, rather than dreading these jobs because of inadequate equipment. And remember, if you do dull a blade, simply clip in a new blade and carry on.


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