There are so many different types and styles of hunting knives available that it can be down right overwhelming when it comes time to choose and buy a hunting knife. There are some questions that you can ask yourself that will help you narrow down which type and style of knife you want.
- What type of Game are you going to hunt? You will need a different knife if you are hunting big game or rabbits. Trust me when I say that bigger is not always better. If you have too big of a knife you have a better chance of cutting yourself and not being able to skin or gut the game just how you want.
- How much are you going to hunt? Are you going to be a full time hunter or just a weekend warrior. This does matter because if you only hunt on the weekends then a smaller more versatile knife may make sense so you can use it for other tasks when you are not hunting. If you are a serious hunter then a full fixed blade knife would make the most sense for you.
- What is the largest and smallest game you envision yourself using the knife on?
- Are you going to be killing the game or just trimming?
- Do you hunt mainly for meat or do you trophy hunt? If you trophy hunt then you may want to get a second knife called a capping knife.
Once you answer those questions for yourself then you should have a better idea of what kind of knife you are going to buy. There are some factors that also need to be considered when purchasing your knife.
Fixed Blade or Folding Blade
The difference between a fixed blade and a folding blade hunting knife is not rocket science.
For the serious hunter the fixed blade hunting knife is going to be the best bet. This knife has a fixed blade that does not fold into the handle. Because of this they are generally stronger and more reliable than folding blade knives.
If you are going to be doing a lot of gutting and skinning of animals than you will most definitely want to go with the fixed blade style. If you are however an occasional hunter and being able to use the knife for more than just hunting is important to you than I would go with the folding blade style as you can conceal it better and are usually smaller.
Some like the folding blade style because they say they come with more than one type of blade, but if you answered the above questions correctly than you shouldn’t need more than one type of knife when you are hunting. There is one exception to this and that is the capping knife, but we will talk about that later.
Knife Blade Design
There are three different types of blade designs that I want to tell you about. I am going to be brief because you can find more in depth information on the specific pages in this website.
The three different blade designs are:
- Clip Point – This style of knife is great for the occasional hunter. It has a defined point on the end and will perform all the tasks needed from the occasional hunter.
- Drop Point – This is the preferred knife for big game hunters as the drop point and usually has relatively thick steel.
- Skinning – This knife is designed mainly for skinning the animal but can perform the jobs of the clip point and drop point also.
There are other optional things to consider with your blade design. One of those being if you want a gut hook. A gut hook helps you open up the abdomen of the animal without tearing the skin or puncturing an internal organ. This design does work but it is totally up to you if you want this on your knife.If you do later decide that you want a gut hook, you can always purchase it separately.
Do you want your knife to have a serrated edge on it. Usually this edge is put on the top edge of the blade. Having the serrated edge on there makes some of the tougher chores of hunting a little bit easier. Such as splitting the rib cage open or the pelvis open.
What type of handle do you want? Although the more traditional handles such as bone, wood and metal look very nice, the newer composite materials are nice as well. You want to take this into consideration. You do not want your hand to slip off your handle just because you got a little blood on it.
What type of conditions are you going to be hunting in? The answer to this question will affect what type of steel you get for you blade. The ability to hold an edge, corrosive resistance all play a part in the type of steel you choose.
Here are some basic types of steel that are used in today’s hunting knives:
420HC – Needs to be properly treated in order to hold a good edge and not rust
44O-A/B/C – Stainless Steel. Corrosion resistance is good but needs to be heat treated in order to hold a good edge.
AUS-6/8/10 – Japanese equivalent of 440 steel. Pretty much the same thing but a little stronger.
As you can tell buying a hunting knife has a lot to do with your personal preference. It can be a little less overwhelming if you take the time and answer the questions that I have outlined for you and plan ahead of time before you go to the store to purchase your knife. If you are working on your survival skills then you may want to look at a different type of knife that is more versatile. Of course when in a survival situation you cannot be picky.