Hunting

Best Hunting Knives for Cleaning Small Game

hunter cleaning a squirrel

Cleaning game comes with challenges. If you’re a big game hunter, you know just how important a good, sturdy, and sharp knife is to making the most of your kill—as well as how frustrating a dull or inappropriate knife can be to getting the job done.

Small game like squirrel and rabbits presents its own challenges, and the knives you need should possess a little more finesse than what you may need for larger game where the sheer amount of meat can be more forgiving.

Here are a few of the knives that I find to be the best for cleaning small game.

Rapala Fish ‘n Fillet Superflex Knife

Rapala Fish 'n Fillet Knife
Image from Gander Outdoors.

The beauty of a fillet knife is in its delicacy. And when you’re dealing with small game, with small bones, delicate flesh, and minimal meat, ever cut matters.

For that reason, a knife with a super sharp point that’s still extremely flexible to allow for small cuts is key to cleaning. So the Rapala Fish ‘n Fillet Superflex does the trick. It’s thin, allow for smooth slicing through a hide and other tough parts, while also being razor-sharp.

For extra toughness, the blade is coated in Teflon. This keeps game from sticking to the knife and lets it fall away easily. And while it might not be top of mind, it also comes with a leather sheath to keep you from jabbing yourself out in the woods with an extremely sharp knife.

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Old Timer Sharpfinger Knife

Old Timer Sharpfinger Knife
Image from Gander Outdoors.

For my money, there are few more important knives when cleaning any game, let alone small game, than a sharpfinger knife.

Its sleek curve and razor-sharp point make quick cuts into thick hide easy, while also allowing for delicate cuts with the tip of the blade. The Old Timer is made of 7CR17MoV high-carbon stainless steel for good strength and additional wear—important when you’re slicing against the bones of small game, which is almost inevitable.

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Wiebe Boss Dog Fixed-Blade Knife

Wiebe Boss Dog Fixed Blade Knife
Image from Gander Outdoors.

Looking for surgical-level precision in your cuts? With some small game, you may as well be. For that, the Wiebe Boss Dog is basically a surgeon’s scalpel in a hunter’s hands. It’s sturdy and dependable for cleaning after cleaning.

With a handle made of soft-touch material, your hands will continue to fit it no matter how wet or otherwise gross they may get. And best of all? It comes with 24 replacement blades. That’s a lot of squirrels you can clean.

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Outdoor Edge Field-Bone Folding Knife

Outdoor Edge Field-Bone Knife
Image from Gander Outdoors.

The Outdoor Edge Field-Bone knife is great for big game, but you shouldn’t overlook it for small game either. It’s a knife of doubles: double tempered to keep an edge, and a double molded handle with rubber grips for a better handle, even when your hands are gnarly.

Made from 440A stainless steel, it also features the lowest carbon so highest corrosion resistance while also being easily sharpened for plenty of cleaning.

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Benchmade 275BKSN Adamas Folding Knife

Benchmade Adamas Folding Knife
Image from Gander Outdoors.

Fixed blade knives are beautiful for cleaning game of any kind, but this list wouldn’t be complete without a multi-purpose folding knife. And Benchmade makes beautiful knives, such as this Adamas Folding Knife.

The blade is thick D2 steel, so it lasts against bone cuts. The drop point makes it ideal for cleaning, plus quick cuts and slices. Granted, it doesn’t come cheap, but when you’re buying a Benchmade you know you’re getting a quality knife.

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Ready to get cleaning? Check out our full selection.

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