Tag Your Deer, Turn into a Doctor

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Pick one. Havalon offers a variety of folding knives featuring their #60A autopsy blade – it’s thicker, stronger and does a better job than any other surgical scalpel. Photo by Steve Sorensen.
Pick one. Havalon offers a variety of folding knives featuring their #60A autopsy blade – it’s thicker, stronger and does a better job than any other surgical scalpel.  Photo by Steve Sorensen.
Pick one. Havalon offers a variety of folding knives featuring their #60A autopsy blade – it’s thicker, stronger and does a better job than any other surgical scalpel. Photo by Steve Sorensen.

Contributing Writer
Steve Sorensen

When it’s time for the post-mortem work…

You’ve tied your tag on a deer and it’s time for field dressing. What will you use? If you’re a newby, you might pull out a heavy, oversized survival knife. If you’re a doctor or a taxidermist, you’ll probably wield a surgical scalpel with skill and dexterity. If you’re neither, you should follow the lead of the knife pros, and use a scalpel.

That makes sense for a number of reasons. First, a scalpel is probably the sharpest knife you’ll ever use because the medical profession can’t settle for inferior sharpness. Second, field dressing is post-mortem work, just like an autopsy (and taxidermy, too). Third, a surgical scalpel is inexpensive, readily available, and the right tool for gutting. It’s the lightest, sharpest field dressing knife anywhere.

Several years ago, when I discovered the surgical scalpel as a field dressing knife, I thought I’d be smart and clue in a couple of my doctor friends about what I had found. It didn’t occur to me that doctors who are hunters would already be a step ahead of me, and of most other hunters. They were already using a scalpel as a hunting knife. Same with the taxidermists I know.

When I was a kid, I saw a hunter with a giant Marine Corps fighting knife on his belt and the bottom of it was strapped, gunslinger style, to his thigh. I must have thought big game needed a big knife, or maybe I thought it looked cool, because I remember taking my uncle’s World War 2 U.S. Navy K-Bar knife and strapping it to my thigh. I guess I thought I was prepared for whatever cutting job (or fighting job) I’d face.

My dad quickly set me straight and explained that I didn’t need an oversized knife for processing a deer in the field. All I needed was a small, lightweight knife with a razor sharp blade, and Dad’s mission was to teach his young hunter to put a wicked-sharp edge on a knife. As the years have gone by I’ve noticed hunting knives becoming smaller. A scalpel blade is the logical outcome of that downsizing trend.

Scalpels come in many sizes, but the perfect size is the one the medical industry calls the autopsy blade. (If you’ve ever had surgery, and you’re reading this, that’s probably NOT the blade the doctor used on you.)

The scalpel blade my knife is built around is made by Havel’s, a leading company in medical cutting tools. They call their hunting knife the Havalon knife, and it’s the most serious field dressing knife I’ve ever seen. It holds an edge (remember – surgeons depend on it).

When it gets dull you just unwrap a new blade with a fresh, razor-sharp edge and swap it out. No stopping to sharpen. No rooting around in your pack for your second-string knife. No messing with inferior sharpness. And you’ll never need to spend the night before the deer season opener putting a last-minute edge on a knife you’ve neglected since last season.

Because these blades are made by the hundreds of thousands for the medical world they cost very little. Hunters are beneficiaries of this volume manufacturing. So, when you’ve shot your deer and you find yourself doing the post-mortem work, I recommend the Havalon knife, an innovative folding knife with a super-sharp surgical scalpel. You’ll do your fastest, cleanest field dressing job ever, and you’ll see why professional guides and outfitters all over the world love it.

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When “The Everyday Hunter” isn’t hunting, he’s thinking about hunting, writing about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, or wishing he were hunting. Contact him at EverydayHunter@gmail.com, and read more of his thoughts about hunting at www.jamestowngazette.com.

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Steve Sorensen
Steve Sorensen of Russell, PA is an award-winning outdoor writer whose column, The Everyday Hunter®, offers hunting tips, strategies, and insights on how to think about hunting. His byline has appeared in the nation’s top hunting magazines including Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, Deer & Deer Hunting, Pennsylvania Game News, Fur-Fish-Game, North American Whitetail, Bear Hunting Magazine and more. He contributes regular website content to Legendary Whitetails and Havalon Knives and is a field editor for Deer Hunters Online. Steve is also in demand as an event speaker, presenting programs on do-it-yourself Alaska moose hunting, whitetail deer, wild turkeys, and eastern coyotes, with new programs coming. E-mail him at EverydayHunter@gmail.com to invite him to speak at your next sportsmen’s dinner (or to tell him where your best hunting spot is).