Gone Outdoors

How to Use a Bird Hook Knife

by Dave P. Fisher

The bird hook knife is designed for upland game bird and waterfowl hunters. Unlike most folding hunting knives that have one or two blades, the bird hook knife has a single blade and a steel rod with a U-shaped hook on the end. Both are 4 inches long, fold into the knife handle and open in opposite directions. Field-dress game birds as soon as possible to keep the meat from spoiling. The hook is used to pull the entrails out of the bird, making for a quick job of cleaning.

1. Turn the bird on its back. Locate the soft area on the bird’s underside between the tail and the lower point of the breastbone.

2. Pluck the feathers from the soft area, exposing the thin layer of skin covering the intestines.

3. Pull up the knife blade and cut a vertical incision from the breastbone to the tail. Do not plunge the knife in; slit the membrane with the knife tip. Cut a second incision horizontally and midway across the vertical cut. Fold the blade back into the handle.

4. Pull up the hook from the base of the knife. Stick the hook into the body cavity, pull out the entrails and put them off to the side. Work the hook in and out of the body cavity all the way to the neck until all the entrails are cleaned out.

5. Wipe off the hook and fold it back into the handle.


  • Push the hook into the body cavity and twist the hook around to catch and drag out everything in the cavity. This cleans faster than a straight pull.
  • Clean all of your birds at the same time for speed and efficiency.
  • Familiarize yourself with the hunting laws in your particular state; some regions require entrails to be buried or carried out of the hunting area. If no laws regulate this, leave them for the scavengers, who will finish them in quick order.