Everything You Should Know About Hunting Knives

Why You Need A Hunting Knife: An Educational Guide

Hunting knives are important tools that are crucial to one’s survival when out in the wild. In this short post, we’ll educate you everything you need to know about hunting knives. By the end of this article, you’ll have enough knowledge and confidence to buy your first hunting knife to help you in your future hunting endeavors.

A good hunting knife is versatile enough to complete primary hunting tasks. For instance, your hunting knife should be able to help you skin the animal and split through its bone and rib cage. Hunting knives make it easier to clean your animals and turn them into a source of food more quickly than any other type of knife.

What Is A Hunting Knife

When deciding on a hunting knife, figure out what type of game you'll be hunting.
A big game hunter (deer, elk, etc.) needs to use a larger knife than a someone who hunts birds and rabbits. Don't fall into the misconception that bigger knives are always better.
A large knife makes cleaning smaller animals harder and increases the chances you accidentally cutting yourself.

Once you find the knife size you want, think about how often you hunt. Get a small folding knife if you hunt periodically and you want an all-purpose knife. But if you're a serious hunting aficionado then a sturdy fixed-blade knife is perfect for you.

Harnds Folding Hunting Knife 4.2" Blade Military-Grade Double Safety Lock Tactical Gear with Sheath

Then, you have to decide if you want to hide your knife in a pocket or sheath. We don't recommend carrying a large knife in your pocket – you'll increase the chances of you slicing open your leg. Since price is an important factor to consider, you'll need to find the best knife within your price range.

No matter what knife you choose, your hunting knife is capable of handling a multitude of hunting duties. The only reason you'll need a secondary knife is for having a trophy mount.

Why Do You Need One

Here's two good reasons why do you need a hunting knife:

Creating A Fire

When outdoors, learning how to make fire is an important skill. All you need is some string, dry wood, and a quality hunting knife. While you should have a lighter or some matches to help start the fire, a small foldable knife aids you in starting a fire. A good hunting knife helps in kindling, finding dry wood inside of the wet wood, and spark fires with the addition of flint.

Survival

Let's face it, hunting can be a dangerous activity. Certain emergencies occur where you'll need to defend yourself and others from getting harmed. While you can go without a hunting knife, you'll increase the chances of getting injured or killed.

Buck Knives 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife

Having a hunting knife in your possession gives you an additional tool to help you clean fish and fight off against wolves and other threats. That's why it's important to invest in a hunting knife. Your hunting knife is a functional tool that needs to be around you at all times during your next hunting trip.

Difference Between Hunting Knives And Regular Knives

While similar, hunting knives and regular knives are designed for different purposes. The main difference is that hunting knives are made to be used as tools and not utensils. This means that durability, versatility, and utility are factors that must be considered when getting your first hunting knife.

And, you have a lot more options with a hunting knife than a regular kitchen knife. Some kitchen knives can work as substitutes for hunting knives, but only for a short period. Regular knives become dull faster and require constant sharpening to maintain their appearance.

Another difference is that hunting knives come with a folding mechanism for safe and easy transport when the knife isn't used. Hunting knives without this mechanism are called fixed blade knives. Most regular knives are fixed blade knives because they don't leave their intended location (i.e. kitchen knives).

Types Of Hunting Knives

We have few types of hunting knives for you, you only need to choose which one is right for you:

Fixed Knives

As its name suggests, fixed knives have stationary blades attached to the handle. For those who need a sturdy blade for jobs such as, setting up camping grounds and field dressing, a fixed-blade knife is your best bet.

MTech USA MT-086 Series Fixed Blade Hunting Knife

Pros

  • Stays locked in place, so it's more reliable and durable
  • Easier to clean
  • Blade material goes through the handle. This makes Fixed Knives better for heavy duty purposes

Cons

  • Bulkier
  • Harder to conceal than Foldable Knives
  • Often gets caught when sitting or climbing

Foldable Knives

Foldable knives don't have the same level of durability as fixed blade knives. However, they are safer to carry and use due to their lightweight size. Folding knives come with various mechanisms and configurations, some help the knife lock into place. These locking mechanisms give you the same stability as a fixed blade but also letting you close the blade after using it.

Folding Hunter

Pros

  • Compact size making it easy to carry
  • Safe throughout transport
  • Mechanisms allow the knife to be opened by one hand
  • Great for everyday use

Cons

  • Difficult to clean since blade channel captures tissue, skin, and blood
  • Not as sturdy as fixed knives

Lock Back – Most knife users like the convenience of lock back knives. These knives provide some lock-open safety. Your Lockback knife requires a two-handed closing through a mechanism that's found on the top of the hand.

Alternatively, there are a number of the one-handed lock back knives that are available.

Liner Lock – "liner lock" knives allow users to open and close it with one hand. Also, liner locks allow lock-open safety. Some of the liner locks are made for both left and right-hand use.

If your outdoor activities leave you with one free hand, then liner lock knives are a perfect choice.

Buck Knives 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife with Genuine Leather Sheath

Clip Point Knife

Clip point knives are the most popular blade shapes in today's market. The unsharpened edge of the knife goes through the handle and stops through the knife's midpoint. Then, the blade continues and turns to the point of the knife.

The cutout area can be either curved or straight, and is known as the "clip." Clip point knives come in many fixed blade knives, bowie knives, and pocket knives.

Clip Point Knife

Pros

  • Great for piercing
  • Controllable and sharp point
  • A lot of cutting edge (belly) for slicing

Cons

  • Point is weak and narrow

Drop Point Knife

Drop point knives are another all-purpose blade used for camping and hunting. The unsharpened part of the blade comes from the handle to the knife's tip in a curved manner. Hunters like drop point knives because of its large slicing area and its controllable point.

Drop Point Knife

Pros

  • Controllable and sharp knife point
  • Suitable for slicing

Cons

  • Not as sharp as a clip point knife
  • Weak for piercing

Skinning Knife

Skinning knives are known for their trailing point blade. These knives are lightweight, and its unsharpened edge curves upward. Make sure to buy a skinning knife to assist you in cleaning your game in an organized manner.

Skinning Knife with red wood handle.

Pros

  • High point is moving out the way
  • Large belly for skinning and slicing

Cons

  • Unstable and weak point
  • Blade materials

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel blades consist of 12% chromium which serves two purposes. These blades are more rust and corrosion resistant than high carbon blades. But, stainless steel blades are less durable and softer than carbon blades. Get a stainless steel blade if you want something that's easy to sharpen and use for your next hunting trip.

Stainless Steel blades consist of 12% chromium

Pros

  • Durable
  • Rust resistant
  • Maintain its appearance

Cons

  • Softer blade than Carbon Blades

High Carbon Steel

Carbon is a powerful element, and high carbon knives are no different. The hardness and strength of the blade make it perfect for edge retention. However, it's not resistant to rust because it doesn't have chromium added to the blade.

Due to the lack of chromium, you'll have to clean the knife frequently and thoroughly. Make sure that you protect the knife from moisture exposure after using it. High carbon steel blades are known to last through the years and are an excellent choice if you want a long-term hunting knife.

High Carbon Steel blade.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • High-Quality hardness and sharpness
  • Edge retention

Cons

  • Weak against rust and corrosion

Handmade

For the experienced hunter, you can create your handmade knives. Handmade hunting knives allow the user to customize and create it to their liking. But, these knives are less durable than manufactured knives.

Handmade knife.

Pros

  • Customizable
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Less durable

Specs

There are two things that you need to check when you are buying a hunting knife:

Handle

Handles are the most overlooked feature regarding hunting knives. For instance, you can opt for leather, bone, or wood handles for your knives. While these materials have a good appearance, they don’t provide the stability hunters need.

You need a hunting knife whose handle is designed to keep you safe. You hunting knife’s handle should have a contour, finger stop, or other form of protection at the handle. This feature protects the user’s hand from sliding towards the front of the blade. When shopping for your first hunting knife, make sure that your handle is a durable and safe one.

Blade Size

While it’s fun to carry around a large imposing knife, they aren’t great for practical use. Knives with huge blades are actually a huge detriment to a hunter’s performance. They are good substitutes for machetes and hatchets but aren’t useful in skinning and cleaning out your game.

Knife King "Emperor" Custom Damascus Handmade Hunting Knife.

There are three types of sheaths that are available. Some sheaths are stitched or sewn together. Nylon and leather sheaths consist of high quality material that can easily be
re-sewn if necessary and re-stitched. Next, is the riveted style sheaths. Riveted sheaths are of low quality and break easily.

Inspect the sheath’s quality before getting a hunting knife. The sheath acts as a protective covering between you and your knife. First, it protects the contents of your blade from getting damaged, nicked or scratch. Also, the knife gives a secure and safe way to transport the blade.

Product Accessories

Sheath

For larger animals, you’ll need a knife with a blade of at least 4 to 5 inches. This gives you enough space to pierce through their bones while also skinning them efficiently. Remember, you’ll want to make sure that your knife, regardless of the size, fits your hand comfortably and won’t slip when using it.

After coming to this realization, the size of knife you chose depends on your personal considerations and personal preferences. If you need a knife to hunt small animals such as squirrels and rabbits, you’ll want a blade that’s small enough to fit in your pocket.

MTech USA MT-086 Series Fixed Blade Hunting Knife

There are times where your main hunting knife blade starts to become dull. Or, you might lose your hunting knife when traveling out in the wild. That’s why you need to invest in a set of replacement knives.

Replaceable Knives

Remember, the sheath’s quality is a indicator of your knife’s quality as well. Poor Sheath Materials = poor knife quality. But, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Some high-end knives come with poor quality sheaths to reduce the costs. They come with the premise that you’ll pay extra for a custom sheath to go along with your hunting knife.

One feature you’ll need to consider is the method of transportation. Most sheaths come with a belt loop while others consist of clips that allow you to attach the sheath to a backpack, belt, or strap. Other sheaths have fittings that can be attached to buttons on your jacket, or a shoulder carry option. Find which method is best for you and purchase a sheath that’s suited for you needs.

Lastly, is the sheath that’s molded out of polymer or plastic. These sheaths offer a great deal of durability and resistance against elements (chemicals, corrosion, etc) from harming your knife. Make sure to sharpen your blades frequently to prevent the plastic from lowering its quality.

Replaceable Knives

Luckily replacement knives aren't that expensive. You'll find good replacement knives without causing a huge dent in your budget. Buy extra replacement knives to increase your chance of survival and effectiveness during an emergency when you're outdoors.

Fixed blade knives are robust, tough, and strong enough to hold up against the elements. With fixed blade knives, the blade is one piece of metal such as steel that goes through the length of the knife. While they are bulkier than foldable knives, each hunter should have a fixed-blade knife in their possession.

Manufacturers

In this section, we will be looking at the various manufacturers of hunting knives. Each company makes knives with different pros and cons and varying degrees of experience. This means that it helps to be familiar with the different knife makers so you can make a more informed decision when buying a hunting knife.

Buck Knives

Buck Knives is one of the most famous makers of hunting knives in the world. They started 117 years ago in 1902 in San Diego. They started off as a family run business by Hoyt Buck. He learned how to make knives in his early teenage years and spent the rest of his life mastering the process.

They are best known for popularizing the folding hunting knife design. Before Buck Knives, almost every hunting knife featured a fixed blade design. While certain folding knives were around before Buck Knives introduced them to the market, they were mostly unreliable and lacked durability.

Folding Hunter Knife with Genuine Leather Sheath

Buck Knives did not start making knives on a large scale until the United State's entry into World War II. With the need for increased knife production for soldiers, Hoyt Buck decided to start making them himself. By the end of World War II, Buck Knives were relatively popular.

Buck's most famous hunting knife is the Model 110. This knife is not only one of the most popular hunting knives but also one of the most popular knives of any type in the world. The Model 110 was the first folding hunting knife which featured a strong enough Lockback mechanism to make for a mechanically sound product.

The Model 110 is still being sold today, having existed in more or less the same form for over 60 years. Since this design is so effective, there hasn't been much reason to update it besides the makers using more pure steel over the years. Buck manufactures many other knives, but none are as popular as the Model 110.

Outdoor Edge

Outdoor Edge is another manufacturer of hunting knives, who have higher quality standards than much of the competition. Each of the Outdoor Edge hunting knives which are made is individually tested to ensure good build quality and sufficient durability. They are a company which prides themselves in making knives of the highest quality.

Outdoor Edge knife.

They have a wide range of knives and game processors so you can be sure to find the best knife for your needs, regardless of your preferred style. Aside from knives, they also manufacture game cook pots and butchering materials. Outdoor Edge makes almost everything you need to deal with your game once it is down.

All of Outdoor Edge's products, not just their knives, come included with a lifetime warranty. This demonstrates their faith in the quality of their construction. If you want some of the most reliable hunting knives around, folding or otherwise, you will find that Outdoor Edge is one of the best manufacturers that you can opt for.

Maintenance And Cleaning

One of the most important parts of knife ownership is ensuring that you maintain your blade. A hunting knife will certainly not last you a long time if you don't put care and effort into your knife's maintenance process. Proper maintenance also consists of ensuring that you keep your blade clean of blood and dirt as well.

How To Sharpen Hunting Knife

It is essential to ensure that your hunting knife is properly sharpened. Keeping a hunting knife sharp is not only a matter of making it easier to cut with it, but it will also be much safer to use. A dull knife will force you to put more effort into your cut, which may result in you slipping and accidentally cutting yourself.

How To Sharpen Hunting Knife

To keep your knife sharp, you first have to decide on the grit you want for your sharpener. For damaged blades which are heavily dulled and possibly nicked, you will have to opt for a coarse grit. For moderately dull blades, you should opt for a medium grit sharpener.

If you only need to sharpen your blade lightly, you will want to use either a natural whetstone or a fine grit knife sharpener. Using the wrong sharpener grit will either make the process take longer than it should or could result in imperfections remaining even after you have sharpened your knife.

When using a knife sharpener, you will want to ensure that you follow the angle that is already set into your blade. Place your knife until you feel it resting across the predetermined angle chosen by the manufacturer. The right sharpening angle can have a rather large bearing on how effective the sharpening process is.

You will also always want to cut into the stone as opposed to running your blade backward across the sharpener. The sharpened side of your blade should always be moving forward across your sharpening surface. You can also choose whether you want to sharpen your blade dry or wet using honing fluid.

How To Clean Hunting Knife

It is also imperative to keep your hunting knife as clean as possible. This will greatly increase the lifespan of your knife. After using your knife, you will want to clean off as much blood as possible to ensure that it doesn't set in. Once the blood has dried, it will become much harder to clean off.

How To Clean Hunting Knife

Once you get home, you should clean the blade off with soap and water. Once the blade is sufficiently clean, wipe it off with a soft, dry cloth. Once your blade is dry, you will want to use oil to ensure that the folding mechanism remains smooth (if applicable) and so rust doesn't start to form on the blade.

Problems With Rust On Carbon Steel Knives

Carbon steel knives are more susceptible to rust than knives which are made of other materials. If they are left wet, they tend to develop rust. For this reason, you will want to ensure that you clean off the blade thoroughly after every use if you want to ensure that it maintains its integrity.

Conclusion

There is much to know and learn about hunting knives. From ensuring that you properly maintain the blade to making sure that you choose the right maker for your knife, we hope that we have provided sufficient advice and information. If there are any questions or remarks, please feel free to leave them down in the comments.

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