Getting the Most Out of Your Havalon Skinning Knife

By Pat Carrothers, President & CEO

Nice and Easy Does It Every Time


Now that we’re into the various hunting seasons (at last!), I know a lot of people will be skinning and deboning a deer, elk or other large animal with one of our knives for the first time.  Havalon knives are different from traditional skinning knives.   You may need to learn a slightly different style of cutting to get the most out of your Havalon.

First, the blade you are using is ground and honed exactly the same way we hone a delicate surgeon’s blade.  With a Havalon, you’re working with an exquisitely sharp blade, what many guys call “crazy sharp.”  You wouldn’t picture a surgeon twisting and gouging real hard with a surgical knife during a surgery, right?  So, you too should avoid twisting and gouging with your Havalon.

Let the “crazy sharp” edge do the work with easy slitting and slicing motions.  Start twisting the handle to force your way through a tough spot and (“oh @#%&) you won’t be happy with the result.  You’ll either break the blade or snap it off the handle.  Some guys twist and pry so hard they actually break the stop pin on their knife.  If that happens to you, call us and we’ll replace it for you.  But avoid this altogether by learning to go easy.

Even when busting joints you don’t need to use brute force with your knife.  Slow down and take the time to cut the ligaments.  Then break the joint apart using your hands.

When you find yourself applying a lot of pressure to cut with a Havalon, it’s time to change the blade.  At a cost of about .50 cents for a Piranta blade, do you really need to worry whether it takes two blades instead of one to skin an elk? This has to be the least expensive decision you will make during your hunt.  Not to mention the time you’ll save using our Quik-Change method instead of sharpening.

Thank you for the great support of Havalon Knives we are experiencing.  And please share the “easy-does-it” message about slitting and slicing motions for success with a Havalon.  Good luck with your hunts this year!

Any tips for guys using their first Havalon?

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50 Responses to Getting the Most Out of Your Havalon Skinning Knife

  1. william king says:

    how are these knives for pelting furbearers like thin skinned coyotes or fox ? is cutting through the hides a problem with your knives?

  2. havalon says:

    Thanks for your comment. Sorry for the delay in responding, but we get so much spam that our filters somehow blocked you. RE: “cutting through hides” is not a big problem with our knives, but that really depends on the user. Taxidermists have been using our blades and knives for 20 years. Many like the blade #22XT because it has a rounded point and a dull spot right at the point so it doesn’t easily poke thru a hide. We’ll go so far as to say that there are no better knives for furbearers like coyote or fox. Have had satisfied customers like this for really more than 20 years.

  3. Pingback: Do Baracuta blades fit the Havalon Piranta knives?

  4. rick seymour says:

    Archery shot a 400# Bear this year in Colorado and tracked it well into the darkness, recovery at 10:15 pm. Typing up an article for a Bow hunting Magazine as we speak. Guy that was with me after Pic’s of course said try my new blade. First cuts up the Bears belly to the jaw was easier than utilizing a zipper. Maybe Misses Santa will see which website I finally visited. 8^)

  5. Paul Kitzman says:

    Love the knive. Used it to skin a couple elk this year and it takes a lot of the work out of the job. I go through 2-3 blades per elk. I have snapped a few blades but it really is no big deal since it means you get to start off with a new razor sharp blade.

    I would like to see the blade get incorporated into a utility style knive like a Leatherman or similar. For me that would be the perfect tool.

    I did kill an elk in the winter last year where I only finished half of the skinning and boning before it got dark. The next morning it was semi frozen. A heavier bladed knife is really required for semi frozen hide.

  6. havalon says:

    Hi Paul. I am glad to hear you like your Piranta Knife. Can you clarify your idea of incorporating our blade into a utility style knife? We are always interested in getting feed back from our customers.

  7. Peter says:

    I think what the above poster means is a tool like a Leatherman or Gerber multi-pliers not a utility knife as such. If not I am suggesting just that because with a blade/knife system like yours on it. I actually envision this creating the ultimate pocket tool. The blade on my and my wife’s tools are the ones I have to sharpen the most as it is always in my pocket when sometimes even my knife is not. We have used them for everything from peeling apples and cutting up cheese as a picnic snack to cutting heavy rope (not often but it has happened) and simply replacing the blade versus sharpening would be awesome. In fact I see the tool and it’s pouch having a pocket for like 5 or so spare blades in it.

  8. Ian Simpson says:

    a tracer 22 in Blaze orange, seems to be the only model missing to complete the range, does Havalon expect to roll out this option? thanks in advance.


  9. havalon says:


    Thank you for your comment, that’s an excellent suggestion, and we’ll be sure to discuss that idea this week.

    Keep checking back to the website for new knives, that just might be one of them!

    Havalon Knives

  10. Denise Toews says:

    My husband is a big outdoorsman. He the kind that does hunting, guiding, trapping, taxidermy, and scoring. He got excited over being introducted to your knives. He operated off two models of actual surgical knives for over 10 years for most of his delicate work. To have someone built a design for hunting is great. Thank you.

  11. havalon says:

    Your welcome Denise. Thank you for the support. Feel free to drop us a line anytime with comments or suggestions, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter as well. Havalon Knives

  12. Richard says:

    In looking at these knives, had to wonder if they would work well for us guys skinning buffalo and if so; which system would you recommend.

  13. Carson Fisk says:

    Will a Baracuta skinning blade fit the Baracuta fillet knife?

  14. havalon says:

    Carson, yes the Baracuta blades are interchangeable for any Baracuta knife handle. So the 115XT blades do fit the Baracuta knife with the fillet style blades (127XT). Thanks for your question.

  15. havalon says:

    Richard, we don’t have anyone with personal experience skinning a buffalo here in the office, but we have never heard anyone tell us about a hide that the Piranta didn’t do a good job on. Hogs are probably the toughest hide I have used it on and it works great for that. Bear hunters rave about the Piranta knife for skinning. I recommend you try the Piranta knife for skinning and the Baracuta knife for boning out the meat. We’ve had a lot of good feedback on the fillet style blades being good for boning out. As always, you get a money-back satisfaction guarantee so if you are not satisfied with any Havalon knife, you tell us about it in a timely fashion and we will refund your money.

    Anybody have any good tips for using a Havalon on a buffalo?

  16. Aaron says:

    Would it be possible to re sharpen a dull blade if you had to.

  17. havalon says:

    Yes, you can re-sharpen if you have to. Hopefully though, you’ll have enough extra blades available so you don’t have to.

  18. Carson Fisk says:

    Is the Havalon piranta edge a good knife for filleting fish?

  19. havalon says:

    Carson, you can use any Piranta for any job when it comes to your “catch”, they will all perform excellently. However, if we’re going to be specific, the Baracuta-Edge and Baracuta-Z were specifically made for filleting fish. Check out the video by Capt. Dave Sipler, a charter boat captain in Florida, he uses our Baracuta knives soley in his business.

  20. Tony says:

    Have You ever considered a 8 or 9 inch filet knife. I would buy one for fileting salmon tuna and halibut. The small 5 inch filet knife really isn’t what I need for these larger fish. I have a Piranta Edge and love it for many different uses. I can hardly wait to try it out on game. I will probably buy the larger knife also, but the filet knife is probably to small for what I want.


  21. havalon says:

    Thanks for your question Tony. We have been trying to lengthen our fillet blades, but it is difficult to achieve our level of sharpness with the thickness that a longer blade requires. Otherwise they become too breakable. We are working on it!

  22. I realize the Baracuta blades can’t fit onto the Piranta frames because their too long. Can the Piranta blades fit onto the Baracuta frame. I guess what I’m asking is, is the cut out on your blades ( the hole where you attach the blades to the frames) the same size? I would love to get the Baracuta frame but with the extra cost, i would love to be able to use the blade that looks kinda like a hook bill.

  23. havalon says:

    Sorry Jeremy, the Piranta blades cannot fit the Baracuta handles. As you guessed, the fitments are different sizes and not interchangeable.

    Thank you for your inquiry.

  24. Ryan Fosse says:

    i was reading some of the Responses from people and how to use your knifes. why don’t use make a protection that where the blade locks in and comes out a little to give the knife more strangth. also if i where to buy one and it breaks like i read in your statement do i get a new one for free? plus if u do replace it and i dose it over and over again hgow many times do u keep giving me a new one? are your knife ganrenteed for life? i want to get one before this up coming season but i keep lookin g atg them they just look like it will break real easy and when im using it and it dose break i dont want to find little peases in my meat.

  25. havalon says:


    Havalon Knives will replace your knife for any reason from one year of purchase. If after one year it is lost, or damaged, the warranty is void.

    As far as the blade breaking, that has happened on occasion, when the user is applying too much pressure. It takes a little practice to allow the sharpness of the blade to do the work for you, they are surgically sharp blades like a scalpel, so you don’t have to apply pressure and torque. If the blade does break, it will break in half. You will not find “little pieces” of blade throughout your meat.

    I hope this answers your question. If you still would like to speak with someone, you may call our customer service at 1-888-836-3204.

  26. Vernon Lucas says:

    Hello, I have a similar question to Jeremy above. I understand that the Piranta and Baracuta frames are different and require different blades, but do the Piranta taxidermy blades (#22XT) fit in a standard #4 scalpel handel? I like to use the scalpel handle for the fit and feel in my hand, but appreciate the idea of the blunt tip for the #22 blade. Thanks

  27. havalon says:

    The 22XT will not fit in a #4 surgical handle because it is a thicker blade, however, it will fit a #8 pathology handle

  28. joe says:

    Hi, were are Havalon piranta knives made.

  29. havalon says:

    The knives are designed by Havalon in the US, but manufactured overseas.

  30. Joe OConnor says:


    I just purchased the Piranta Edge and it is awesome ( and I haven’t even cut anything yet!).

    You mentioned that it was possible to resharpen the blades, if one HAD to. If so, what is the recommended blade angle for sharpening? Something like 15-17 degrees? Not that I have any near-future plans to do so as I have 36 spare blades! Just wondering…

  31. havalon says:

    If I were to sharpen one, I’d probably go with the most acute angle possible with my sharpening tools. That might not match the angle, so I’d probably be giving it a new angle. I think the bottom line is that most people won’t get the blade as sharp as it originally was. However, 15-17 degrees is probably about right.

    Here’s a URL that gives lots of info on knife sharpening angles:

    Steve Sorensen
    Contributing Writer to the Havalon Blog

  32. Nick says:

    I haven’t officially purchased one of these knifes yet, was just turned on to them last night actually! But my question is what blade would you suggest for field dressing a deer or any medium to large game at that? There’s many to choose! The reviews from what i read are great and i’m planing on purchasing one….Just need a suggestions on blades cause i’m wanting to purchase a few boxes!


  33. Hi Nick,

    Sorry for the delay in responding. Many hunters find the Piranta-Edge to do very well, even on large animals, including bear, moose, etc. However, if you feel you may need a larger handle/blade, you might try the Baracuta-Blaze. Keep in mind that Havalon has a 100% satisfaction guarantee (from one year of purchase), so if it doesn’t live up to your expectations or suit your needs, you can return it for refund or exchange.

    Thank you for your interest,

  34. darren Policky says:

    I have both the piranta and baracuta edge.
    A multi tool with a piranta blade in it would be an ideal tool

  35. Thanks for the suggestion Darren, we’ll keep that in mind when looking at new designs.


  36. MikeR says:

    Any plans for a hooked blade similar to the carpet cutting or gut-hook style blades / knives? That your system is designed around interchangeable blades, it could give the hunter that likes to use a hooked blade for starting the process, to then switch over to the cutting blade – but sticking to a single system.

  37. The idea has been suggested by several hunters, and discussed by the Havalon team, but at this time there are no plans for a hooked blade. However, we do have several other new styles that will be coming out this year. Thank you for your suggestion.

  38. John says:

    I have the piranta and use it on rabbits, squirrels, and fish. EZ.

    But I’d like to see two blades. One side the current blade and the other side a more traditional heavier blade that can take some whittling, twisting, prying, poking, whacks with a stick to chop through joints if desired.

  39. Thank you for your comment John. In fact, we’re working on a double blade knife, but I can’t give you any more details at this time. Keep checking back with us, or subscribe to our email list, and you’ll hear about first-hand.

    The Havalon Team

  40. Gary says:

    I own both Piranta and Baracuta knives…both work well…as suggested before twice a multi-tool with a shank for a Piranta blade would be a great product…..breaking a blade in the field i have found blade replacement without a set of pliers to be difficult and risky since carrying a extra tool to change blades in the field is counter productive i would like to see a solution to resolve this issue……also would like to see the ability to carry extra blades in the handle

  41. Hi Gary,

    Thank you for your comments, and I will be sure to pass them along to the appropriate persons. We always appreciate suggestions, you never know where the next big idea will come from.

    Thanks again,

  42. Jim says:

    I have a Havalon Piranta – Edge and would like to know if i can use the following replacement blades in it.


    2) Havalon 60A Replacement Blades

    Thank you in advance

  43. Jeff Romano says:

    Just want to see new products when they come out!!

  44. Hi Jeff,

    Keep checking the Havalon website for new products. In fact we have recently added the Piranta Eagle limited edition hunting and skinning knife. If interested, there are only 500 available, so order soon.

    Havalon Knives

  45. Hi Jim,

    The Piranta Edge accepts the 60XT and 22XT blades only – not the 60A.

    Happy Hunting,
    Havalon Knives

  46. Katy says:

    Which knife fits the most blades?

    I am field dressing/ skinning deer this year and wanted to know in your opinion which one I should use. Also, I wanted to know if its just as handy on birds as it is larger game.

  47. Hi Katy,

    The Tracer-22 accepts the most blades – 60XT, 22XT, HS22 and most other blades, with the exception of the 60A, 115XT & 127XT. The other knife would be the Piranta Bolt, it accepts three blades – 60XT, 60A, & 22XT. Both knives have the surgically sharp blades, and while you can use both on large and small game, it’s really a matter of your preference.

    If you would still like to speak with someone, please call customer service at 888-836-3204, and they will be happy to help you.

    Havalon Knives

  48. Bryon says:

    Super sharp, don’t twist ans turn the blade, it’s made to slice and cut. I carry a small diamond FINE sharpener and hit the blade a few strokes as I’m working.
    The blade stays sharp and one elk or two deer are a breeze for one blade.
    Bears are a two to three blade deal including sharpening.
    The fillet knife lasts a long time when you hit it with the FINE diamond but a longer blade would be nice.
    I save my old blades and diamond sharpen them in my spare time. I use them first on any job and then go to new blades. These knives are the best of all worlds if used correctly.

  49. Clint says:

    I have the Piranta-EDGE with Blaze Orange Handle, I had never heard of Havalon Knifes before found it at my camp boat slip after a high water receded. I suspect someone dropped it out of a boat while fishing, The blade was fairly dull when I found it so I used a diamond sharpener and put a razor edge back on it and I love it. You said the Piranta-EDGE would not accept the 60A blades but your website states
    “The Piranta-EDGE with Blaze Orange Handle
    Features Include:
    ● 12 additional stainless steel #60A blades, 2-3/4″
    Item Code: XTI-60AEDGE”
    It also shows the Piranta-EDGE with a 60A blade on it in the photos? Please clarify blades that will fit the Piranta-EDGE. I love the idea of incorporating your blade system into a multi-tool, The Gerber Pro-Scout Multi-Plier 600 already has a changeable saw blade. I also would like to see in your current knifes a storage for extra blades in the handle. With all this being said I will be ordering new blades as soon as you clarify if I can for sure use 60A blades on my Piranta-EDGE. You guys really need to beef up your advertisement to get the word out about your knifes.

  50. Hi Clint,

    Lucky you finding one of our knives. It’s hard to know if the #60A blade will fit the Edge you found because, the earlier styles of the Piranta-Edge would not, but in the last six months we have changed the fitment on all Piranta knives (except the Tracer-22) to accept the #60A and #60XT blades. As far as storing the blades, I don’t believe we have any designs in the works to incorporate blade storage in the handle, however, if you have one of our holsters, there is a pocket in the holster to carry your extra blades. Sorry I couldn’t answer your question more clearly, but I hope you enjoy using your “new” Piranta-Edge.

    Havalon Knives

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