Finding the best skinning knife for small game isn’t an easy task largely due to the size and type of game that needs skinned. We have always advocated that there isn’t one specific knife that can do the job for everything. We look at knives as tools that each have their own specified use.
There are tactical knives that are used by military or police personnel, field knives, knives used as survival tools, and EDC folders. All of these knives have their own uses and any proficient survivalist, hunter or outdoorsman usually has at least a couple different knives in their arsenal.
Small game is tricky. You need a blade that is smaller so that you have the ability to control it very precisely, while being extremely sharp and effective at cutting away the skin from from the animal.
What To Look For in a Small Game Skinning Knife:
The biggest thing you need to consider for small game skinning knives is how you intend to use the knife. We suggest our top 3 choices below but whether you go fixed blade or folding blade will entirely depend on how you intend to use the knife. If you are sticking to a base camp and plan to skin your game back at the camp, go with a fixed blade that will last a little longer and can be sharpened.
If you need a good knife that you can carry along with you in your pocket and can skin small game immediately in a pinch, a folder is probably the right choice for you. Let’s look at our top 3 picks. There are a number of different types of knives to choose from, but top choices below will get you skinning small game in no time on your next hunting trip.
1. Havalon Piranta Z Folding Blade Skinning Knife:
The Havalon Piranta Z Folding blade is a top selection for almost any type of small game and is the only folding knife on our list. We traditionally advocate the use of fixed blade options for skinning, but small game knives give you a little bit more flexibility in this respect. The Piranta has a smaller blade at 2.75 inches in blade length with a full length of 7.25 inches when completely open.
The blade is extremely sharp and makes for a perfect pocket companion when you are out hunting rabbits or squirrels in the wilderness. The blade has been known to run as sharp as a surgical knife making it extremely effective in prying away the skin from a recent kill. The blades swap out easily which means you don’t need to sharpen the blade, ever. You just swap them out as they get dull and keep on moving.
This knife is a popular pick by taxidermists due to the sharpness of the blade and ease of use. The Piranta Z is a great selection that will make skinning your next rabbit a piece of cake.
2. Buck Knives Open Season Fixed Blade Knife:
Going back to the fixed blade, Buck is one of our favorite knife makers due to their quality. This is a 4.25 inch drop point blade, giving you a little more leverage when you are skinning. This makes the Open Season a good selection if you want a nice “in between” knife that will skin a rabbit effectively but can also handle a Coyote or even smaller deer.
The knife stands 7.625 inches in full length making it less easy to carry inside your pocket. If you are looking for a pocket carry skinning knife, we’d stick with the Havalon Piranta. The top of the blade drops down toward the tip which aids in effective skinning of small game and makes it easy to handle.
The open season is a good all around knife that can be used for skinning and other basic tasks. If you traditionally hunt smaller game and just need a good all around knife to take along camping, this knife is a good choice.
3. Old Timer Sharpfinger Full Tang Fixed Blade by Schrade:
The Old Timer Sharpfinger is no longer the American made version that old school hunters have come to grow and love. That doesn’t make it any less of an effective blade. Even though this knife is produced overseas, it’s still holds up the Schrade name very well.
The blade is 3.3 inches long and the knife total length is 7.1 inches. Again, if you are looking for something that’s a pocket carry knife while out in the field, the Havalon Piranta is probably a better choice due to convenience.
The Old Timer is a great choice if you are looking for a cheap fixed blade knife that’s made of 7Cr17 high carbon stainless steel. It comes equipped with a brown leather sheath and is extremely sharp right out of the packaging. If you are looking for a good knife for skinning small game while on a budget, you could do far worse than the Old timer by Schrade.
Adding a knife that’s specifically engineered to skin small game is a wise choice for any hunter. It’s a little difficult to get out and start skinning a rabbit or a squirrel when the blade is just as long as the animal you intend to skin.
While there are a number of different directions you can go to accomplish the task, any of the top 3 we’ve discussed in detail above are sure to set you on the right path in your next outdoor adventure.