Is a ‘Small Game Cleaning Kit’ Really Necessary?

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…This thought just sort of popped into my mind earlier, while reminiscing about how I used to get out in nature more while hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and so on. I still take part in some things that relate to outdoors, but gardening, taking short walks in the woods, target practicing, and building fires in a fire pit doesn’t cover the same ground as the things I mentioned prior.

Anyway, I was looking around the house and checking out some old gear, knives, guns, etc., only to realize that I no longer have any of my fishing equipment. Hmm, I must have lost it? Threw it away? Dang, has it been that long?

Well, I also stumbled across a plastic briefcase-looking thingy, that was a small game cleaning kit. Ahh, yes, it was something I bought from a sporting goods magazine a few years back. My oh my, this thing looks like it has never been used! Oh, wait a minute, it hasn’t… Ha!

Then, I got to thinking how I used to clean all kinds of small game (rabbits, squirrels, dove, etc.) and fish, without any kits. Are these small game kits really necessary or is it just some sales gimmick that makes for better gift ideas than practical use? I know that the answer to this question is rather simple, but it is sort of funny how everything has become monetized & merchandised to the point of madness, when you think about it.
Back when I used to fillet fish and clean small game, all I needed was a sharp, medium-sized knife, a saw blade knife (now they call it a bone saw), and preferably a pair of rubber or plastic gloves – but even they weren’t necessary as long as you had water nearby. I’d quickly clean my fish, rabbits, whatever, and rinse them off and soak them in salt water for a couple days before I fried or baked ’em. Well, the fish would usually either get cooked that day or froze for later use, but everything else would soak for a couple days in a brine solution while setting at the bottom of the fridge.

…Okay, originally, I was going to write a comical parody about this subject and type about how no hunter or fisherman can make it without these kits, but I changed my mind. With that being said, lets check out some of these “Game Cleaning Kits” (I suppose they can be used for big & small game) and see what all the fuss is about:


Actually, this is the set I bought a few years back. Why I bought this, I’m yet to figure out, but it only cost me $30-35+ dollars (right now they are on sale for $20 bucks @ Amazon), so at least I didn’t get too ripped off. I think I was already ordering from the place and seen that kit and evidently thought it was cute or something, and ordered it as well. …This set includes a 5 1/2″ boning knife, 4″ skinning knife, 5″ game shears, 8″ utility knife, 6 1/2″ metal cleaver, 7 1/2″ sharpening bar, and 17″ bone saw all packed securely in an impact resistant carrying case.


This next kit’s (the one depicted above) product description is: The most complete and portable butchering kit for dressing big game, small game, waterfowl, wild turkey, and fish. Includes 4 of the most useful knives for butchering, featuring high carbon 420 stainless steel and full tang construction. Kit also includes: tungsten carbide V-sharpener, 10″ double ground wood/bone saw, 5-1/4″ carving fork, game shears, brisket spreader, 10″ x 14″ cutting board, set of 6 surgical game cleaning gloves, and a hard-sided carrying case. The most complete and portable… Well, it better be, for $75 dollars!

I could provide more examples, but I think you get the idea. It is obvious that these kits are not necessary in my opinion, but outside of making great gift ideas, it sure makes you look like a professional hunter/gatherer, eh? So, after further review, maybe you need to buy your Big or Small Game Cleaning Kit, today!

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