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How to Choose the Best Hunting Knife - Buying Guide

Choosing the right knife for you hunting needs can make a huge difference is you do get lucky and bag whatever you were after. There are a few things to think about when you are considering what style of knife to look for. In this article I will help you learn a little bit more about what you will want to think about when you go pick out your perfect hunting knife.

First off you have to realize what you will be using the knife for. You may not want to use the same knife on a small squirrel as you would on a deer. Although a skilled hunter could probably use any sharp hunting knife to cut up almost any game, there will always be an optimal choice. However, if you are looking for one knife that will surve all purposes, there are many fine choices out there.

Hunting Knife Styles:

Folding or fixed blade:

Although survival knives are typically a fixed blade knife, for a hunting knife you can really go either way depending on your personal preference. You will be able to find quality knives in both folding and fixed blade that will suit most needs. Personally though, I will always go for a fixed blade knife for many reasons I will get into below.

    1. Fixed blade knives are always going to be much more sturdy than a folding knife, especially if you have to cut through bone or cartilage. I am pretty rough on my knives when I am cutting up deer and I feel that a solid fixed blade is the way to go for me.

    2. Fixed blades are easier to clean. Gutting a deer is always a messy process and I like to keep my knives clean. To me there are too many nooks and crannies that animals parts can hide in on a folding knife.

    3. You may need a survival knife while hunting. There are literally hundreds of people who get lost each year while hunting, and I know how easy it can be, especially after dark. If you ever find yourself in this situation you would be much better off with a solid fixed blade that you can use to baton wood and take on other tough tasks. Of course, you can always bring your trusty survival knife with you as well if you prefer a folding blade for a hunting knife!

Serrations or Straight Blade:

Some may consider this question to have an obvious answer but this can have varying opinions. Most people would choose to have a straight blade in a hunting knife for the simple reason that they can slice much more efficiently. Personally I would have to agree, however there are a few reasons one might choose knife with slight serrations.

     1. You can use the knife in many other situations other than gutting an animal such as sawing sticks (quieter than breaking them), cutting rope or a strap, or cutting bone/cartilage. This could really be the case if you live or work in the same area you hunt and you always carry your hunting knife.

     2. You may just like serrations. If you like serrated blades and find them useful even while hunting I say use them. The knife that works best for you is the knife you should use.

Gut Hooks or No Gut Hooks?

This is another personal preference option. Gut hooks are designed to quickly and safely cut the skin of an animal without cutting the internal organs. Many people swear by knives with this design, which is usually on the tip of the knife. While they are useful and definitely quick there are a few drawbacks to them.

      1. Tough to sharpen. A gut hook needs to be sharp in order for it to be effective. Because of their shape they can be tough to sharpen effectively, especially in the field.

      2. They can get in the way. Most of the time you are cutting up an animal you are not using the gut hook. During these times the hook can get in the way or can hook on things you do not want to hook.

      3. They would get annoying in a survival situation. If you did find yourself lost during a hunting trip the hook may just get in the way of survival.

Once you use the ideas above to narrow down your choice, all that’s left is to pick one out. The last thing you should consider is to buy quality. There are a lot of cheap knives out there and they do sometimes look quality. Like everything else, you definitely get what you pay for in a knife. I highly suggest you pick up a quality knife because it could be the last knife you, your kids, and your kids’ kids have to buy. Knives, especially hunting knives, are an item that tends to passed through generation to generation. But no matter what else, a quality pocket hunting knife will prevent a lot of frustration.