Proper care and maintenance, as with anything, will prolong the life of your hunting knives ensuring you will have many years to enjoy it and use it on your hunting trips. There are many things that come into play when we are looking at maintaining our hunting knife. First we have cleaning our knife, then we oil, then we store it. I am going to talk about each of these in great detail and perhaps you may even learn something along the way.
Cleaning Your Knife
First thing first is keeping your knife clean. You should always be cleaning your knife after each use in the field. Even if you just give it a quick wipe down and wait till you come home to give it the thorough cleaning that is just fine. We all the know how the acid from our fingerprints can damage our gun barrels and your knife blade is no exception. If you do however get fingerprints on it and you are having a hard time getting it off then you can use a clean wine cork with some salt and vinegar. Rub with some light pressure and it should come right off. Clean the knife with soap and water and a soft cloth. Make sure it is good and dry before you put it away.
Oiling Your Knife
Before you put it away it is a good idea to oil your knife and if applicable your handle as well to avoid rusting and keep the moving parts, if folding style, moving freely. The same oil you use for your gun or some common household oil works fine. They also make multi-purpose oil and cleaners that make the cleaning job a lot easier. Oil is great at preventing rust but also attracts dust and dirt like crazy so be careful when you put it on, a little bit goes a long way.
Depending on what type of handle your knife has may require different treatment. Wood handles can be oiled up with a good quality linseed oil. Leather washer handles can be treated with mink oil. Special oils are sold by the manufacture of each particular knife so feel free to use those as well. I like to give you options in case you don’t have the specific oil for your knife you will know which others one you can use. Handles made out of synthetic materials such as rubber and plastic do not require any treatment.
Storing Your Knife
The main thing with storing your knife is you don’t want it to be around moisture for an extended period of time. That is why you don’t store your knife in its leather sheath. Leather will absorb moisture and keep it in making your knife in a moist environment. If your knife came with a nylon sheath then that is okay. One way to store your knife is just to wrap it in plain paper, put it in a plastic bag with a bag of desiccant in it to absorb all the moisture. This way you are sure your hunting knives will not be rusting the next time you need them.
Every time you go on a hunting trip, either with your atv or on foo,t it is important that the knife performs as needed. Performing proper maintenance will not only prolong the life of your hunting knife it will also make your hunting trip more enjoyable. With a properly performing knife you will have less downtime and less frustrations due to your knife.