Hunters are definitely the kind of people who will put a hunting knife to use, and it goes without saying that they need a good one.
The issue is: which one to pick?
The good news is there are a variety of knives to choose from, all of which have their advantages. The first thing you will want to do is establish a budget. Cost for blades can run anywhere from $50 to more than $1,000. You have to decide how much you are willing to put into getting a blade. Just remember, you don’t want your knife to fail you in the most critical of times, so budget wisely.
Choosing a Hunting Knife: Folder vs. Fixed Blade
Once you’ve set your budget, here are some of your options. They fall within two large categories: fixed or folding blades.
Fixed Blade Hunting Knife
A fixed blade is often the first choice of hunters. It’s durable, strong, versatile and also easy to keep clean. With a lot of the rugged work that comes with being a hunter, you want dependability. That means your knife must be able to handle skinning and gutting game, including the ability to cut through bone and cartilage.
Keep in mind that bigger doesn’t always mean better. Depending on the type of animal you hunt, you might consider a smaller, but strong knife. Usually a four-inch knife can handle most of your needs (unless you are a big game hunter).
An example of fixed blade knife that can be used for hunting is the BLISS Black from Krudo Knives.
Generally speaking, there are three kinds of fixed blades to consider.
- A full tang design features a handle and a blade that are made of one continuous piece of steel. Used correctly, this gives you a very strong, durable blade.
- Consider the type of material used in the blade. Both carbon and stainless steel – the two typical choices – can make for a good blade, but there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Carbon, while cheaper, is more prone to rust. Stainless steel is often more expensive.
- If you select a carbon blade, or a carbon steel combination, you can prevent rust by using oil or a silicon wax.
- Make sure to test the handle, which needs to be a comfortable fit for your hand. Remember you need a knife that works well in the rain or high humidity – stay clear of handles that become slippery when wet. The best choice may be a synthetic fiber for the handle.
Folding Knives for Hunting
For most game, a folding knife can serve you well. A lock-back knife will generally provide the strength you need, as they come with a better gripping handle and a stronger blade.
This is not an area where you want to “go cheaper.” Folding knives that cost less are generally not built to handle the rigors of hunting or to last that long, according to Survivopedia.
If you choose wisely, a good hunting knife can last a lifetime. But it requires dedication from you in terms of keeping it cleaned and sharpened.