What is a hunting knife?
This is a tool used during hunting missions to skin animals and cut up the meat. It shouldn’t be confused with a hunting dagger, a tool that was commonly used in killing wild game in the olden days.
Important factors to consider when purchasing a hunting knife
How do you intend to use the hunting knife? Do you need a tool that can only perform one particular task, or you need one that can be used to carry out various tasks?
A specialty knife, for instance, can only be used to execute a particular task that it was originally intended for. If you use it for other purposes, it will be quite inefficient.
Material of the blade
The material used to make the blade is a very important factor that must be taken into consideration. It determines how well the knife can be sharpened, how long it can retain the sharpness and also how durable it can be.
Ideally, the material used to make it should have high edge retention and should be extremely sturdy. Additionally, it should be resistant to corrosion as well as wear and tear.
Materials that are commonly used to make blades are; S30V, 420HC, 154CM and VG-10.
Size of the hunting knife
There is something egoistic about carrying a big knife, just like Rambo. However, knives which are designed with big blades do not have any practical value as far as hunting is concerned.
Ideally, size should be pegged on practical considerations as well as personal tastes and preferences.
If you want a knife that can be used to clean small game, choose something that is small, pocket sized and light-weight.
If your target is an elk, a sturdy and big tool will be more effective when skinning and cutting up the animal.
Wooden, bone and leather handles usually look attractive and are very functional. However, they aren’t durable. Additionally, you won’t have a firm grip when exposed to water or blood.
Synthetic materials like Zytel, ABS and Kraton offer both durability and firm grip. They are also difficult to break and light weight.
The knife can either be designed with a drop-point, skinning or clip-point blade.
If you are a hunter of big game, consider purchasing one with a drop point design. Its blade is usually very thick, curved and sturdy. It’s suitable for skinning since the point as well as the whole edge can be used. You won’t have any difficulty splitting the pelvis bones or ribs.
A knife with skinning blade design is suitable for skinning large or medium-sized game. It can separate the skin from flesh without much effort.
A hunting knife with clip point blade design is generally thinner and flatter than the other two. It can be used for hunting as well as other purposes.
Modern versions are designed with interchangeable blades, thus allowing you to swap from one blade to another depending on the task that you need to accomplish.
Folding blade or fixed blade
Some knives are designed with folding blades, while others have fixed blades.
Generally, a knife with a fixed blade is tougher and more effective when carrying out heavy duties because its blade is firmly attached to the handle. Additionally, since it doesn’t have any moving parts, it is easier to clean, more reliable and also more durable.
On the other hand, a folding blade knife can be conveniently carried in the pocket and can be used for a wide range of purposes. It’s convenient for use since it can be opened and closed with one hand. However, it requires regular and thorough cleaning since it easily collects tissue, blood and other forms of dirt.
Examples include the Puukko, the Sharpfinger and the Yakutian. Most of the American designs are/ were inspired by the Bowie knife version.
Bob Loveless and William Scagel are prominent knife-makers who are credited with making the DropPoint and Camp knives extremely popular.
You could always consider making your own hunting knife.