When it comes to skinning a deer, or any game for that matter... everyone seems to have their preferred way of doing things. There's many a man who stubbornly swear by the blade they carry on the hunt, and there's some futility to convincing them to try something different. Back in the pioneer days, men did most of their gutting and dressing with the blade of a hatchet, and smaller specialized tools for skinning the hide. Fast forward to nowadays, there's a plethora of choices from folding knives, fixed blade knives, gut hooks, and ungodly oversized daggers that really only belong under the glass counter at a medieval convention.
What myself and those I typically hunt deer and elk with carry is the Havalon Piranta knife. It's a small folding knife that uses replaceable blades. The blade's themselves are pre-sharpened and extremely, ridiculously sharp! Imagine using a scalpel. Now many hunters may scoff at such a minuscule blade, but I have seen it put to expert use. I've witnessed entire elk and deer gutted, dressed, skinned, and boned out using only a Piranta. I've even seen it used to sever limbs and the joint, and remove heads. The flexibility of the blade is its shining quality, as you can get closer to the bone and make cleaner cuts without repeated strokes like a standard buck knife.
There is a learning curve to using this knife well and not replacing the blade every 10 minutes. Its a very thin blade (at least my older ones are, Havalon has switched to a thicker blade to enhance longevity) and if bent or manipulated in any kind of prying motion the blade will snap. And of course with any other knife, if you cut through the hair you will drastically dull the blade. That being said, its a spectacular knife and used correctly will speed up the process of dressing an animal while doing it neatly. When we get an animal, we are pretty obsessive about how clean the meat stays... no hair, no dirt, and no sloppy cuts on those future steaks. You NEED to have a steady hand, as the Piranta is not forgiving and any poke or knick while you are rooting around the chest cavity by sense of touch alone will be a painful lesson. Based on my experience with the Havalon Piranta, the best way to dress an animal with the skills of a surgeon is with this knife.
Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points
Claim to Fame: Reduces the need to carry extra skinning knives, gut hook blades or whetstones. When the blade gets dull, just pop it off and replace it with a new one. You'll never lose your edge with Havalon.
Target Market: Hunters & Outdoorsman
FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):
- 12 additional stainless steel #60A blades, 2-3/4"
- Rugged ABS blaze orange handle
- Ambidextrous thumb studs
- Open back for easy cleaning
- Frame-lock construction
- Removable holster clip
- Overall length 6-3/4"
- Weighs only 3 ounces
- Includes nylon holster
- Fits #60A and #60XT blades
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Green, Lime Green, Blaze Orange, Brick Red, Zytel Black, Camo, and Engraved / Scrimshaw Models
What others are saying?: “I have owned it for more than 5 years and have used it on Brown bears, Dall sheep, Roosevelt Elk, Sitka Blacktail Deer, Caribou, Reindeer, Moose, Mountain Goat, Musk Ox, and fur bearers all in Alaska and a whole slew of different skulls to European mount. Each whole animal generally takes one occasionally two blades based on task. I have used 150+ blades and is my go-to hunting knife. The down side is it cannot be used in a pry type motion, the blades are too weak.If you know this then you generally don't have a problem. I have also had it close on me because the lock is wearing out. The other problem is the blades are so sharp there is no margin for error! I have sliced off several knuckle tips on my left hand cutting too fast with my right hand. I also poke my self several times every animal trying to reach into tight spaces or holding back meat/hides. There still is no better product out there period. As a previous biology student i always used to carry scalpel blades with me, this is just the evolution of a better product all around." - Review by Slammerdude on Havalon Website
Our Rating: +_Comes with replacement blades and holster/sheath +_Blades are extremely sharp right out of each individual wrapper
-_No locking bar to prevent accidental opening (you don't want this little guy opening up in your ruck sack!) -_The plastic frame on my Piranta has already cracked where the pocket clip is, clearly a weakpoint
Score: 8.5 Great