View Full Version : Knife for squirrels

Eli Jensen
04-16-2012, 11:55 AM
Anyone have any suggestions on a good knife design for cleaning squirrels? Hoping to take up squirrel bow hunting next winter.

04-16-2012, 12:06 PM
Now there's a hobby for someone who loves being accurate! I've hit a couple with a bow whilst deer hunting but never went out for that purpose lol.

Practically I would go with an almost parring knife type with the thickness of a filet knife. I would want something small, thin, and dexterous. As I'm sure you well know you don't need it for skinning and would want it thin as there is not much meat, anything over 3" I think would be overkill, no pun intended. Maybe some kind of loop of sorts at the bottom of the handle you could use for the skinning process so you could get good pulling leverage, with a guard to prevent your hand sliding downward into the blade (I don't know, maybe not such a great idea the more i think about it). Maybe a hole in the top of the blade for this purpose instead???

Eli Jensen
04-16-2012, 12:25 PM
make sense. anyone have picture examples?

Ray Rogers
04-16-2012, 03:35 PM
Squirrel bow hunting? Do you have any idea just how small a squirrel's bow would be? That hardly seems like a worth while past time for a full grown man.

Just sayin' ....

Doug Lester
04-16-2012, 04:55 PM
Ray, behave yourself.:lol


04-16-2012, 05:55 PM

I got my first Imperial Hunter with S&H Green Stamps as a gift from my mom and dad when I was 13, showing age now. It was made in Japan and had plastic handles and very light weight for its size. It would get to a razors edge and hold it very well. This knife was the best squirrel knife I could ever ask for. The key was the very sharp and pointed blade. It was easy to get under the skin without damage to the meat of the squirrel.

Works well on all small game, although you can't find this knife anymore the design works really well for me. My hands are just too big for a real small knife.

I hope this helps.


Eli Jensen
04-16-2012, 06:38 PM
" Do you have any idea just how small a squirrel's bow would be?"

I imagine a squirrel would use about an 8" bow. I've made one that small before as a toy maybe I could teach him how to use it.

But seriously, the smaller the target, the greater the skill, especially with a home made bow like mine. Anyone surprised that a chap that makes his own knives makes his own bows and arrows? Didn't think so.

If it makes you feel any better, I full intend on hunting larger animals but I've never been hunting before so need to start small, particularly with learning how to clean it.

Plus I've found its not that uncommon among traditional bowhunters (and compound archers too but seriously at that point use a rifle).

So perhaps a knife design like:

How would you change it to make it a better squirrel knife?

04-16-2012, 06:49 PM
Sooo what does squirl taste like? Do you shoot them out of the tree? Might need a few extra arrows.


04-16-2012, 07:50 PM

I should have posted this when I posted about the Imperial Hunter type design. But if you are going to go small game hunting with a bow and especially squirrel hunting in trees I would suggest you get a set of Flu Flu Arrows with blunt tips and Day Glow Knocks. The impact is enough to knock the squirrel out of the tree. A clean head shot will kill the squirrel.

A Flu Flu fletched arrow is a SPIRAL WRAPED FLETCHED ARROW, it will allow the arrow to fly flat and straight for 30 to 40 yards then drop off dramatically, and the blunt tip will not get stuck in trees as easily and the Day Glow Knocks helps you see the arrow in dimmer light.

I will post this link to give you some ideas.

I hope it helps.


Eli Jensen
04-16-2012, 08:28 PM
Yes you are correct about the flu flu fletching, its like a badmitten birdie. I haven't decided how I want to do those yet if I want to go with a plume type or another. One though is I have these 2-3" left overs from cutting regular fletching, cutting them to uniform length and not trimming the feather. The extra height of the feather will help create that effect. Possible doing a second row, or six together.

And a squirrel is small enough, but a squirrels head? That's a small target. But squirrels are tough critters, if you pierce them they can pull themselves off the arrow and escape. Enter, broadheads. I've got a bunch of cheap drawn steel practice tips I'm going to convert into small broadheads. Probably about 60 grains total, I hope. Also, using self nocks.

I'm cutting my own shafts and my own fletchings, so that brings down the arrow cost significantly. Probably from $80-120 to buy a dozen, to $60 to assemble a dozen (premade shafts etc), to $25 per dozen to do it all, and then the highest cost is feathers.

04-16-2012, 08:30 PM
I was still trying to figure out how the little beast would carry a knife and still we got him toting a bow?
You think about it, the woods would be a right scary place if them buggars knew just how deadly they could be......your skull cap or neck bone isn't near as tough as that old hickory nut.
Here are a couple of pics of knives that some of my customers have bought for squirrel skinning (or trout slitting).
The blacksmith knives have flat pouch sheaths with dangler clips, that also ride easily in the pocket. The neck knives are pretty convenient, but might get a bit interesting if left outside the clothing when shooting a bow.

Eli Jensen
04-16-2012, 08:43 PM
Oh good. My design (the link) looks spot on. Maybe a half inch or so longer.

04-16-2012, 08:59 PM
I always got along skinning squirrels with a stockman style pocketknife and they make better dumplings than a chicken ever thought about.


04-16-2012, 09:31 PM
You guys must have different squirrels then where I'm from, the only ones worth eating (grey squirrel) can be easily skinned by pulling it right off. Now if you WANT to get fox squirrels... thats a different story, may need a knife for them but the taste isn't worth it. It tastes much like dark chicken for those wondering (atleast all that I've had). I guess I never considered using a knife to skin them.

Also, I will preface this with, I'm not an expert squirrel bow hunter, but I would have to agree with xspook, I would go with the blunt tips if I were going specifically for squirrel. I've shot them with a broad head, and while it does the job (he even ran about 20 yards after), the broad head does quite a bit of damage to such a small creature. Without the perfectly placed shot you would ruin alot of the meat I feel. And if your going to do a perfectly placed shot, might as well use the blunt heads and save the mess.

They make delicious "pulled squirrel" sandwhiches... never had dumplings but I imagine would be equally as good.

Eli Jensen
04-16-2012, 09:37 PM
Emphasis on small broadheads. The design I was favoring was a practice tip or field point with a nail wedged under it when putting it on. Definitely not the sort of broad head for large game that are specifically designed to destroy flesh. More the of barbed part than the broad. But I don't know. We'll see.

Rick McGee
04-16-2012, 10:44 PM
That sounds alot like a bowfishing tip. Might work good for you, but if you hit a tree reasonable square you'll probably have to just unscrew the shaft and put another head on (if the shaft survives).
I heard of one guy that used valve stems from car rims. Just remove the threaded insert at the head end and jam the valve stem in. I'm sure this is dependent on shaft size. Judo tips are another option.
As a squirrel hunting addict, I think your design should work well. It don't take much knife to clean a squirrel. I use a small old timer folder with 3 blades from 3/4 inch to 1 1/4 inch. Matter of fact I've used that very same knife to field dress a whitetail ( my buck 112 proved too dull). Indian says "White man carry too much knife".
The knife you showed could work well for field dressing most anything up thru deer sized game, maybe bigger. Keep in mind that's field dressing, not quartering. It might even do that job, but it would be much easier going with a bit larger blade. I'm not, however, a fan of guardless knives for field work. Handles can get real slippery with bloody hands.
As for skinning, I never noticed much difference between fox and gray squirrels. As long as the carcass is still warm they skin pretty easy. If you wait till it cools, then it gets to be more of a challenge.There are lots of tutorials on line on how to skin a squirrel. At least one method can be done in 30-45 secs with just a little practice. Not much knifework required.

Eli Jensen
04-17-2012, 11:23 AM
I think I will be adding a small U-guard

04-17-2012, 02:54 PM
WynnKnives is right, I always just pinched up the skin on the back and cut it enough to get my pointer finger of each hand into it and the hide pulls off...thus the saying "looks like a skint squirrell".

Eli Jensen
04-17-2012, 04:22 PM
Well if I don't need a knife for it, there goes half the fun . . . lol

04-18-2012, 09:02 AM
Well you will still need a knife to begin skinning and to field dress it... which in itself for me would be a good enough reason to make a knife. :P

Eli Jensen
04-18-2012, 09:05 AM
Sounds good to me! Now . . . what class should I forgo homework so that I will have time . . . ?

Rick McGee
04-18-2012, 09:31 AM
None !! You're gonna need that education to support your knife hobby.

Gary Mulkey
04-18-2012, 10:21 AM

Though it has been many years ago, I used to do a lot of small game bow hunting (including squirrel) and found that broadheads didn't work that well. The best combination that I found was a strong wooden shaft (I preferred white ash) and the large slip on rubber blunts. The reason that I used the white ash is that they are almost indestructable while still light weight enough. The rubber blunts will shock the squirrel sufficiently for you to retrieve then. I had many run off with a small broadhead or metal blunt running through them (or get pinned to the tree) as well as having many arrows getting stuck in a tree and unretrievable.

As far as a knife design goes, any small clip point blade will be all that you need.

Good luck & happy hunting.