Every year, as hunting season approaches, you may begin to wonder if you have the right equipment. Will your guns and knives hold up to the rigors of the season? Should you be adding new tools to your kit?
In all honesty, the answer to both of these questions is probably yes. Yes, your current hunting equipment will probably be fine, but yes it can definitely be improved. As new equipment becomes available on the market, it is important to continue to upgrade, so you will always have top of the line tools that you can rely on for every hunting excursion.
What Are the Main Types of Hunting Knife?
With the huge range of models available, both online and in your local hunting store, it can be extremely difficult to choose the best hunting knife for your needs. The best knife for you will depend on what you are targeting – you can’t dress a duck or rabbit with the same knife as you would a deer!
A good hunting knife should have a number of features, and should be strong and sharp enough to do its job: skinning and dressing game. There are two types of hunting knives – those with fixed blades (which are generally favored by experienced hunters), and those with folding blades.
Fixed blade knives are popular among experienced and regular hunters for a number of reasons. They are usually stronger than folders because they don’t have the same weak points. For the same quality knife, they are cheaper, and are usually more reliable. However, they are a lot more difficult to carry around due to their size, which is the main reason some hunters prefer folders.
If you must choose a folding knife over a fixed blade, you need to be prepared to spend more and buy a high-quality product. Cheap folders simply will not last, due to their lack of durability. Look for something with a strong lock-back mechanism, a thick high-quality blade, and a graspable handle. For most uses, you should try to choose one with a small serrated section on the blade to allow you to cut through cartilage and tendons easily.
As well as choosing between folding and fixed knives, you must also choose what kind of blade you want. There are a number of different blade shapes and sizes on the market, but it is best to keep it simple and choose a traditional shape which is going to meet your needs. If you mainly hunt animals for their skins, you need a skinning blade.
For other needs you may choose the drop point, the trailing point, or the spear point blade. The most versatile knife blade is the clip point, and this should be chosen if you use your knife for a number of different things. The difference between hunting blades is explained here.
How to Choose a Good Hunting Knife:
There are a number of things you must take into account when identifying the quality of a hunting knife, including:
- 1. The importance of a high-quality handle can’t be stressed enough! It must provide you with a good grip in wet conditions, and needs to be tough and resilient to any environment. For this reason, you should avoid leather handles, because they will deteriorate and rot in humidity. Bone and wood are also poor choices, because they can be both brittle and slippery. Usually some sort of synthetic, rubbery compound is the best choice, because it is both tough and provides a good grip.
- 2. The blade has to have a full tang design. A full tang design means the blade and handle are constructed from one continuous piece of steel, which makes the knife strong and as close to unbreakable as possible.
- 3. It is important to identify the type and quality of the steel the blade is made from. There are three main types: carbon steel, stainless steel, and high carbon stainless steel. The high carbon stainless steel is the best choice, but can be expensive. Stainless steel is durable and, if a high quality of material is used, will last forever. Carbon steel blades are usually the cheapest, are easy to sharpen and look after, and are very strong. However, carbon steel rusts, so this particular blade requires regular oiling and cleaning to maintain its quality.
What Are the Best Knives for Hunting Season?
Once again, it is difficult to define a “best” knife for hunting, as everyone has different preferences and needs which define what the best for them is. Here are some of the generic best choices:
Zero Tolerance 0180 Hinderer Field Tac Fixed Blade ZT0180:
While this knife is inexpensive compared to other models, it is a must-have in any collection. It’s strong, no-nonsense design is what makes it cheap, but you are in no way trading off on quality. The blade is made from high-quality Vanadis 4 steel, which offers superb wear resistance and a long blade life. It is razor-sharp and easy to maintain. At around 9.2 inches long and quite lightweight, this knife is perfect for all your general hunting needs.
Microtech Arbiter Fixed Blade Knife 8.5” Black 104-1:
Just by looking at this knife, you can see it is obviously extremely high quality. The Micarta Black handle is built to last forever and shaped for optimal grip. With a length of 8.5 inches and a weight of 17.80 ounces, this is a knife which will hold up to long term use and hunting. It is unique and made by an expert to last forever and to never let you down.
Jeremy Marsh MAC Roxstar Two Tone USN G8 Vegas:
For a large, high-quality folding knife which you can rely on, go for this one. It boasts a thick blade, a length of 3.75 inches, and is extremely strong. It is cheap, easy to sharpen, and durable – especially for a folder. Since it is both lightweight (just 6 ounces) and strong, it is one of the most popular folding knives on the market.
Ron is the content manager at eKnives and enjoys waxing green heads and eating venison jerky.