By Mark Hampton
You’ve been practicing with your favorite handgun all summer long. After testing a lot of different loads you found the right one shooting bug-hole groups. You’ve scouted before season and mapped out a strategy. Opening morning finds you in your stand long before daylight. As the sun slowly graces the eastern sky you catch movement. It’s the big 10-pointer you’ve seen in trail camera photos. He strolls along in search of love and stops momentarily to check his surroundings. You drop the hammer on him. Now you’ve just become the happiest hunter in the woods. After a few hero shots and tag punched, you’re ready to show all of your buddies. But what about the tasty venison lying on the ground?
What happens next will determine the fate of your table fare. Regardless of whether your hard work has yielded a deer, antelope, elk, moose, small game or turkey, properly caring for your game is essential if you want to dine on the fruits of your labor. Processing can be expensive. You can eliminate some or all of this expense by doing the work yourself. There are several factors to consider. Is heat going to be an issue? What about flies and insects? Do you have the means to skin the animal quickly and hang the carcass in a cooler? What about game bags? I have seen game ruined in the past from a hunter not taking care of business in a timely manner.
The Game Processor is a large 12-pieceset packaged in a hard carry case.
This season I have been using knives from Outdoor Edge and I must confess it is some well-made, practical cutlery for hunters. In the past, I have field-dressed, skinned, quartered and deboned game with one knife. Normally this is not ideal because one blade may be right for one of those chores but it probably won’t be the best choice for all of them. Think about it — when a carpenter builds a house he uses the right tool for the task. He doesn’t use a hammer for everything. Same with a surgeon — he doesn’t use the same instrument for the entire procedure. So, it isn’t a terrible idea to have the right blade design for different tasks. After all, caping around the antlers, eyes and nose requires a different blade than deboning or skinning.
The Razor-Blaze allows you to “quick-change” blades when one gets dull.
Mark uses this model to skin deer every season.
The Right Tools
Outdoor Edge provides hunters with some nifty combo sets capable of handling a multitude of game processing steps. The Wild-Lite for example comes with a knife set stashed inside a light, compact carry case. The six-piece set includes a caping knife, gut-hook skinner, boning/fillet knife, game cleaning gloves and a two-stage sharpener. You can throw this in your backpack and never know it’s there — until you need it.
The Game Processor is a larger, 12-piece set with a hard-side carrying case. It’s loaded with everything you will need to take care of your game. Four different knives are included: caper, skinner, boning/fillet knife and a butcher knife. The knives feature a rubberized TPR handle, providing a comfortable, non-slip grip. There is even a saw, game shears, carving fork, gloves, tungsten carbide sharpener and a full-size cutting board. This is a nice set to take along on any hunting trip. Mine is kept in deer camp and is ready when family or friends tag their whitetail.
Outdoor Edge offers both folding- and fixed-blade knifes. I have been using their Razor-Lite with 3.5″ blade. This folding knife has a rubberized handle with stainless liners. The neat thing about this knife is the blades are interchangeable. When one blade gets dull, simply remove and replace with another. This can be done safely and easily with the push of a button. The Razor-Lite comes with six replacement blades with a blaze orange handle. Now there’s a bright idea — you can find it when you lay it down in the leaves. I’ve lost more than one knife that way! Replacement packs of six blades are also sold separately should you need several.
The six-piece Wild-Lite Combo set includes a caping knife, gut-hook skinner, boning/
fillet knife, game cleaning gloves and a two-stage sharpener.
Learning From The Pros
If you don’t know how to process your game, Outdoor Edge offers instructional DVD’s to help you out. I worked my way through college in a processing plant — and hated every minute of it. When you’re 19 or 20 years old and going to college for social activities, having to be at work at 6:00 A.M. doesn’t go over too well. However, the experience has been beneficial to me ever since. Processing game is not difficult, and if I can do it anyone can.
Outdoor Edge has set out to combine a very practical, functional design with the sharpest, best edge holding steel — and by golly they did it. The products are backed by a lifetime warranty. If you’re looking for fixed blade, folding knives, combo sets, saws, sharpeners, game processing DVD’s or other accessories, Outdoor Edge probably offers it. After I worked up the first deer with Outdoor Edge knives, it became apparent the quality is there. This is an American company offering hunters fine cutlery, and they stand behind their products. Not a bad deal.