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During the summer of '08, I first ran across these Havalon knives at my local gunshop. Had never seen one, or even heard of one before. Hmmm. Light. Bright orange. And that blade... Now I can sharpen a blade pretty well, but I seldom get a knife as seriously sharp as I'd like. This thing though, has replaceable scalpel blades! They just had to be sharp. Price wasn't bad, about $35 including a dozen replacement blades. Additional extra blades are also available. I bought one for me, and one for my son, figuring we might use them to augment the Buck hunting knives we normally use.

Here's a photo and description from Havalon:

"The Piranta-Edge features surgically-sharp replaceable blades and an easy-to-find blaze orange handle. It's always sharp - just replace the blades and go! Each knife includes 12 additional stainless steel #60XT blades. The overall length of the knife open is 7-1/4". You'll like the easy-grip black rubber inlay, liner-lock construction and pocket clip.

You'll appreciate the light weight of this skinning and caping knife: less than three ounces. And no need to carry extra knives, heavy files, stones or other sharpeners.

It's "The Sharpest Knife You'll Never Lose!"

Here's a link to the manufacturer's web site:

So, my son and I headed out on our 2009 deer hunt, and I ended up taking a young 3x3 mule deer here in Washington's Cascade mountains.

This buck had the nerve to fall in a rocky area, well down into a steep, deep canyon. There was no way I could drag it up to the road & truck, over a mile from us, all uphill. So, I decided to quarter it, and we could pack out the quarters in our hunting packs. On a whim, I decided to see how far I could get with the little Havalon. There's no need to actually gut a deer when quartering it out, so I started skinning.

Very Sharp! My first thought when I started in was "wow." The small, thin, flexible and amazingly sharp blade slid through the hair and hide very easily and I soon had the buck skinned. As I got to the front shoulders, I simply kept the little knife in hand and very easily cut out the front shoulders. The first hind quarter took a lot more work, there on the rocks, but I got that done pretty quickly too - a bit amazed that the tiny blade was holding up so well to heavier work, around the ball & socket joint there. Finally on the second hind-quarter the little blade broke. At that point I didn't want to change a blade in the field, so I grabbed my trusty Buck and finished quartering the buck, then removed his head with the bigger blade. Also used my Gerber folding saw to shorten up the legs for the pack out. The little Havalon had done it's job of skinning very well, and surprised me with how well it handled the heavier chore of quartering the deer.

We got a second opportunity to use the Havalon knives a couple of weeks later when my son took a nice fat young doe. Using only the Havalon knife we gutted her, then dragged her downhill a quarter mile to the truck. Back at the barn, we strung up the doe and used our Havalon knives exclusively for skinning. My son was delighted at how easily the blade slid between the skin and muscle. I'd replaced the blade on my knife at home, taking all of a couple of minutes, and was pleased with it again.

Later a buddy and I went to Wyoming for more mule deer. Keith took a tall 3x3 Wyoming buck, and I helped him bone it out with my little Havalon. Then I took a doe there, and boned out that deer as well. We boned them out completely because we had about a three mile hike back to the trailhead with our deer. Boned out, they pack much easier. The little knife worked very well on those deer.

I gave one to a friend and he used it to cape out the head of his Washington bull moose - and proclaimed it to be the finest caping knife he'd ever used. The guy is an ardent hunter, and an experienced guide, so I value his opinion.

That's my field experience with the Havalon, four mule deer, and word of mouth from my friend that it's a very good caping knife. The blade changes out easily, but use care, those things are sharp! It's so light that it can be carried in pocket and almost be forgotten. The bright orange color helps me remember to pick it up when it's time to hike out after dealing with a kill. They're offered in other colors if you don't like bright orange. I wouldn't replace my Buck knife with the Havalon for a general-purpose knife, but for skinning and cleaning deer, it's a peach.

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