What Do You Look For In A Hunting Knife? A Beginner’s Guide

No hunter should be without a good knife. While experienced hunters know what makes an excellent hunting knife, new hunters don’t. 

Are you new to hunting and wondering what to look for in a hunting knife? There are plenty of things to consider, with the common ones being:

Quality of the knife

Like any other thing, you want a quality-hunting knife. To determine the knife’s quality, look at its blade, pivot point, and handle.

Quality hunting knives are usually made from two principal materials: carbon steel and stainless steel.

Carbon steel is tough, strong, and easy to sharpen. Its only downside is that it easily rusts. Thankfully, you can coat it using silicon wax.

Stainless steel knives, on the other hand, are rust-resistant, making them extremely popular, especially with hunters hunting in rainy areas. Their downside is that they are difficult to sharpen and are more expensive than carbon steel knives.

The pivot point is the area often put under pressure as you open and close a folding blade knife. The point should be sturdy and have a secure locking mechanism to prevent an accident.

When it comes to the handle, ensure that it’s sturdy and relatively heavy in your hand—it shouldn’t be too light, as that’s a sign of a cheap, poorly made knife.

For peace of mind, ensure the handle is made from quality materials such as wood, brass, leather, or bone. You also should ensure that the area where the blade enters the handle should be in good shape.

If buying a folding blade knife, pay close attention to how the blade folds into the handle. An ideal knife should line up and move easily—you shouldn’t force it.

To increase the chances of buying a quality-hunting knife, buy from the best online knife store.

Blade design

Hunting knives come in two main blade designs: fixed and folding blades. Your choice will depend on what you need the knife for.

Different manufacturers produce blades of different types that are ideal for various applications. These types include:

Drop point blade: It features a strong, thick blade best suited for hunting and skimming larger animals. This blade can also be an alternative to a hatchet or saw when splitting the animal’s ribs.

Clip point blade: This blade has a thinner, flatter, and more pointed blade, and you use it to skim animals and split ribs.

Skinning blade: From its name, you use this for skinning purposes, and you can use it to skin both large and medium-sized animals.

There are plenty of other knife designs, such as the deer-gutting hook that allows you to easily open up the deer without cutting your fingers or damaging the innards.

A knife with a saw blade comes in handy when sawing through a bone.

As mentioned above, there is no right or wrong blade design—it also depends on your hunting type. Ask the professionals if you aren’t sure about the right blade. You can visit online forums or ask an experienced hunter friend.

Knife size

Unlike when buying a television, bigger isn’t always better when buying a hunting knife. Your choice of knife size depends on the size of the animal you will be hunting.

If hunting a big animal such as a feral pig or deer, go for a large knife, but if hunting smaller animals, get a smaller lightweight knife that will even fit your pocket.


You need a knife that won’t easily slip from your hands and end up hurting yourself. You should note that when dressing animals in the field, blood will often get on your hands, making the knife handle slippery and increasing your chances of losing your grip.

While you should go for a knife with a good grip, it doesn’t mean the grip should be uncomfortable, as it can cause arm strain or muscle fatigue.

If buying the knife from a physical store, hold the knife and even pour some water on it to judge its grip levels. If it’s slippery, stay away from it, as it will cause an accidental cut down the road. You don’t want this, do you?

Ease of sharpening

Many people will rarely consider this factor, but it’s important. You need a knife that is easy to sharpen as it makes it easy for you to get more meat off the bone.

Remember that dull blades mangle and tear meat instead of cutting it cleanly; you don’t want this.

You also don’t want a knife that you have to keep sharpening due to its tendency to lose sharpness after a few days—you want a knife that you sharpen once, and retains the sharpness for a long time. 

Take good care of your knife.

Regardless of the hunting knife, you buy, take good care of it to continue cutting the meat properly and last for a long time.

Keep your knife in a sheath when you aren’t going out hunting. If you will be going for months or even years without using the knife, find a more reliable long-term storage solution.

A great way to do it is to clean and dry the knife and store it in a plastic bag. Remember to throw a package of desiccant in the bag to absorb moisture.

Besides properly storing the knife, you also should sharpen the knife. You can easily sharpen the knife at home, but if you are looking for better results, let an experienced professional sharpen it.

As soon as you are done cutting your meat, always clean and dry the blade thoroughly, preferably using a product specially designed for the job.

A knife isn’t enough.

While a knife is vital to you as a hunter, it isn’t the only tool you need for your work. You also need a saw, an axe, and other tools. The tool you need depends on the type of hunting you are undertaking. Regardless of the hunting tool, you need for your next expedition, ensure that you buy a high-quality one that will give you an excellent hunting experience and last for a long time.

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