How to Get the Edge on Big Game

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Tired of old-school game processing tools? For the quickest, safest, and most hassle-free way to take care of your game, you need this…

by Yok Re

You’ve probably heard that the most dangerous knife is a dull knife. Well, it’s a fact, and I’ve got at least one scar to prove it. A dull blade causes you to apply unnecessary effort and pressure to accomplish the task at hand. For hunters, that can lead to slips that can seriously hurt you, ruin a cape, or cause a real mess during the field dressing process.

A sharp blade is essential for safe and efficient game processing. Unfortunately, knife sharpening is almost a lost art, and even if you know how to do it properly, it takes several tools to do it right—multiple-grade stones, hone oil, a leather strop, and a good sharpening steel or ceramic stick to keep the edge up. That’s more than most of us are willing to carry into the field.

The good news is that there is an alternative to carrying a proper knife sharpening kit into the backcountry. We’re talking about replaceable-blade hunting knives, and it’s no stretch to say that these tools have revolutionized game processing both for wilderness hunters and for those hunting closer to home.

Our go-to hunting knife these days is the Razor-Pro from Outdoor Edge. The Razor-Pro has the size and weight associated with conventional hunting-style lockback folding knives, and comes with an integrated gutting blade that not only makes gutting a breeze, it also simplifies the skinning process.

The advantages of replaceable-blade knives are self-evident to any hunter who has field dressed or caped big game animals. Game hide can be extremely thick and tough, depending on the species, so a surgical-grade cutting edge greatly reduces the effort and time it takes to field dress, quarter, and cape an animal. Then there is the aforementioned safety factor of using a sharp blade versus an “almost sharp” blade. Finally, when blades go dull before the job is complete (as they often do), a replaceable-blade knife offers speedy convenience since you don’t have to stop what you’re doing to clean the blade and sharpen it on a stone or stick before getting back to work.

There are a few brands of replaceable-blade hunting knives on the market today—all of which ensure you have a wicked-sharp blade to take care of your game. That is not to say that all of these knives are created equal. Some are best suited for the fine detail work of caping because they use thinner blades that can be maneuvered more like a surgeon’s scalpel around the eyes, lips, and ears.

Outdoor Edge’s replaceable blade design allows you to swap a dull blade for a sharp one without the need for pliers. Simply push the locking button on the handle and the old blade pulls out easily and safely.

Our favorite replaceable-blade knives, however, are the Razor series by Outdoor Edge. There are several reasons why we like the Razors. First, they have a wider and thicker blade profile than their competitors. The former is just a matter of personal choice for us. The Razor has a 3.5-inch blade, which is comparable in size to the folding lockbacks we’ve used for years. That size and “heft” is just more comfortable for us when we’re gutting, quartering, and skinning large game. Second, the Razor uses 420J2 Japanese stainless steel replacement blades, which offer better strength and overall performance than other replaceable blades on the market. That provides a lot more confidence when we’re cutting joints and working between bone. Third, the replacement blades are robust enough that we can sharpen them just as we would a fixed-blade knife if we so choose (and to save a couple bucks, we so choose whenever we’re butchering in camp or at home and have access to our stones and steel). Finally, we can replace the Razor blades quickly and safely in the field without any tools. The replacement blade tang locks solidly in the handle and is easily removed by simply depressing the locking button and pulling out the old blade.

Inserting the new blade is as simple as removing the old one. Just align the blade in the blade holder channel and insert until it locks into place. That’s it.

We process several whitetails each season, and have almost become addicted to not having to stop-and-sharpen during the butchering process. But what impact does replaceable blade knives have on a larger-scale operation? We asked one of our industry friends, Fred Eichler, this very question. In addition to hunting across North America for his Predator Nation, Easton Bowhunting TV, and The Ford Outfitters television shows, Fred runs Fulldraw Outfitters in southern Colorado.

“Here at Full Draw Outfitters, sharp knives are not a luxury,” Fred explained, “they are a necessity! With the number of animals that my crew and I routinely process in the field, we used to spend almost as much time sharpening knives as we did skinning. Not anymore. Outdoor Edge Razor-series replacement blade knives have permanently changed how efficiently we process game animals. Outdoor Edge replacement blades are both reasonably priced and scary-sharp! Each blade can easily cape, skin, and quarter one deer-sized animal before it has to be replaced, and because each blade is as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, the job goes much, much quicker. While other replacement blade knives are available to hunters, Outdoor Edge Razor-series replacement blades are by far the safest and simplest to replace. You never have to worry about using a pair of pliers to avoid cutting your fingers like you have to with knives from other brands.

The ultimate field processing kit is the Razor-Pro Combo we used on our elk hunt this year. It comes with the Razor-Pro knife, as well as a slim yet sturdy folding saw (featuring anodized aluminum handles), six replaceable blades, and a Mossy Oak camo sheath.

“Take it from someone who breaks down enough critters to know,” Fred said, “Outdoor Edge replaceable blade knives make field processing animals quicker and easier than ever before!”

Check out this video of how quickly Fred quarters out a moose with his Razor…

Replaceable-blade hunting knives aren’t new, having been around since Havalon introduced the concept around a decade ago. Still, many hunters have yet to pick up on the technology. We’re here to tell you that you no longer need to “fight for the edge.” One try and you may never pick up a whet stone again!



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