A handy knife might seem like a simple decision, but there may be more to it than you consider. Knives are the pretty much mandatory for anyone who loves the outdoors, as they will always come in handy when you are trying to open something, work with various materials, set up camp, etc. The one type of knife you should never compromise with is the hunting knife. Choosing the best knife for hunting is incredibly important, as it can give you the convenience, safety, and features that you will need to use on a regular basis.
Keep in mind that in some scenarios, you might end up using your hunting knife for something else as well – cutting rope, cutting vines, etc. However, we would not advise you to turn your precious hunting knife in an ‘all-purpose’ one. This is because you could drastically worsen its condition, and shorten its lifespan. Our suggestion is to take the necessary measures to keep your hunting knife’s quality for as long as possible – keep it clean, oiled, and perfectly sharp. This way, processing game meat will be much, much easier.
The best way to approach the ‘knife problem’ when planning a hunting trip is to bring two knives – the best hunting knife you have got, and an all-purpose pocket knife to take care of the rest. Of course, there are scenarios that could be an exception. If you are planning a longer hunting trip in the wilderness, then a pocket knife will not do the trick – a fixed, heavy-duty knife would the best option then.
What Type of Knife is best for Hunting?
Although you could pass by with a foldable knife, dealing with game is much easier with a fixed knife. While folding knives have their advantages, such as being more portable and lighter, they are not a better choice than a fixed blade knife.
One of the bigger advantages of the fixed blade is that maintenance is much easier. Do not forget that you will be dealing with raw meat, so there will be blood, bits and pieces going everywhere. Needless to say, this would make cleaning the folding knife a major challenge, especially when something latches to the opening mechanism. This issue is impossible with a fixed-blade knife, which is incredibly easy to clean and maintain. Its only disadvantage is that they tend to be a bit bulkier – but this is unlikely to trouble you when they are sheathed, and hanging off your belt.
The best knife for hunting should also have a synthetic, non-slippery handle. While wooden ones could be very aesthetic, they are a pain to work with when trying to clean your game.
What Knife Do you Use for Deer Hunting?
While folding hunting knives can do the job when you are dealing with small game, such as ducks or rabbits, it might not serve you well when working with larger game. In this situation, it is best to go for a fixed knife, preferably one using a gut hook. For example, the Gerber Moment Fixed Blade Knife will be an excellent addition to the backpack of any hunter who is planning to set into the wilderness.
Alternatively, you could with an even more robust option such as the Ontario Knife Company 499 Air Force Survival Knife. Although it is much bulkier and lacks the gut hook, it will be an excellent companion on any outdoor trip. Because of its solid build, it can be used in pretty much any scenario – making your way through vegetation, setting up camp, or gutting a deer.
What is a Good Length for a Hunting Knife?
Hunting knives are not that special, in reality, but they have some distinctive properties that you should be on the lookout for. Typically, hunters want their knife to have a blade between 3.5″ and 4.5″ as this is the ideal blade length for processing game meat. Anything shorter or longer might make it more challenging to be precise with your cuts. And a blade that is harder to control could lead to potential injuries if you are not being careful.
In addition to the blade, you should pay attention to the handle – it should have a similar length. However, the top priority when it comes to hunting knife handles is the material – you should opt for a material/texture that gives you a good grip. For example, some of the common, wooden handles might not be good for hunting knives – we’ll tell you why in a bit.
Best Folding Hunting Knife
If you still think that the folding hunting knife is the choice for you, then there are two models that we strongly recommend. Keep in mind that, as mentioned above, you should not use your folding hunting knife for other things – this will preserve its sharp edge, and make it easier to deal with your game. Our recommendation is to carry at least two knives – a handy knife, and a cutting knife.
The handy knife is typically foldable, and can be closed/opened with one hand. A nice and affordable option would be the Kershaw Linerlock. It features a synthetic handle, which offers great grip, and the short blade makes it ideal for daily use. It is very light and versatile, making it an excellent all-purpose knife.
As for the best folding hunting knife, you should consider checking out the Buck Knives 110. It is extremely convenient to carry around thanks to its small size of just 4-7/8″. And Buck Knives are still one of the best brands available on the market. However, when making the purchase, make sure that the box explicitly says that the product is made in the USA, with the flag on the box. There are many Buck Knives manufactured in China, and their quality is just not the same as the ones that are manufactured in Idaho.