Skinning any large animal, like a deer or especially a hog, can require a lot of down time for re-sharpening your knife or knives. While I have begun using the “box cutter” type of utility knife for major cuts through long sections of hide – and the hook type blade on the same knife for “gut hook” type applications, these lack a little of the finesse needed for careful skinning. Enter the Havalon Piranta skinning knife. This tiny folding knife pays big dividends in skinning, for a very reasonable price. The stainless steel body holds a replaceable blade that is actually a surgical scalpel that is great for removing skin from muscle tissue. If the blades does get dull, it is quick and easy to pop it off and replace with a new blade. You can get versions of this knife in a bright orange color that helps keep it from getting lost, which is one of the only two big problems with it. The other is the thing is so damn sharp that the user should be VERY careful to avoid cutting himself, maybe seriously.
As a cigar smoker, I also use the Havalon to “notch” the ends of my smokes. Today I used it to clean crud out of my computer keyboard which was causing my spacebar to stop functioning. That alone saved me more money from not needing a new keyboard that what I paid for the knife!
UPDATE EVALUATION – NEW STYLE HAVALON, NEW FEATURES!
Other than cutting oneself with it, the only other problem I can see with Havalon knives is that because of their small size, it could be easy to lose one. I did this recently, myself. Mine may have fallen through a hole in my pocket while I was walking the woods, or I may have just forgotten where I left it last, but I had been thinking of buying a “spare” for some time, in case this did ever happen. After having to skin two feral hogs with a box cutter last weekend, I ordered a new one and anxiously awaited its arrival. The new Havalon’s come with a canvas carrying case with a belt loop, which I would think will help me better keep track of it – plus the knife itself has a spring clip on it that could be used to keep it in a pocket – or even in the case, as Havalon recommended to me.
My new one also has a plastic handle with serration’s to help keep it from sliding in bloody finders, with a pseudo scrimshaw image of a bear on it that is a bit more attractive, maybe, than the plain black and stainless steel look of my original knife. My friend Frank in Florida says he buys the bright orange Pirantas so they are harder to miss when looking for them, and that is a good idea, also!
Still the best skinning knife I’ve ever used!