Choosing a Hunting Knife
For somebody that knows nothing about hunting knives, purchasing one could be a really confusing and hard task.
Selecting the correct tools for the job is important for any craftsman; the same is true for the hobbyist. Whether you are hunting every chance you get or if you only hunt during a specific season, selecting the appropriate knife is a critically important task. Several questions rise to the top when considering a hunting knife. As you select a type or style from each knife category, selecting the correct hunting knife for you becomes easier.
Fixed Blade or Folding
Firstly, you must determine if your knife will be a fixed blade knife or a folding knife. Folding knives provide more flexibility in their uses than a fixed knife does. However, their lack of specificity hinders their performance. Someone who rarely hunts may find greater value in a folding knife. However, someone who hunts often will find a greater value and use in a fixed blade knife. Determining the size of your game will help guide your choice as well. If you are only hunting small game, a smaller blade, possibly folding knife, will aid you in accomplishing your tasks.
However, if you are hunting big game, cleaning and breaking down your freshly killed game will be a laborious and possibly futile task with a folding knife. Likewise, if you are cleaning small game on a daily basis, a fixed blade knife will allow you to more rapidly clean the game. Your first decision, fixed blade or folding knife, can be quickly sorted by thinking about the frequency and size of your game. Size is important too and should be appropriate to the size of your game. My recommendation always chooses a fixed blade knife.
Ideal Blade Shape or Tip for Hunting Knife
Choosing the blade shape style is no less critical than picking between a fixed and folding blade. Based on their blade shape or tip design, hunting knives could be classified into several parts. These knives could be further classified in line with the edge design into clip point, drop point, gut hook, tanto, and the trailing point are all common and popular blade styles. Each is designed to have specific strength and therefore, inherent weaknesses. So based on your hunting agenda, you might sometimes require multiple hunting knives.
A clip point has an upward sloped tip and is, therefore, has a very controllable tip and sharp edge. The shape, upward sloped tip is perfect for piercing. Likewise, the upward slope also yields a ‘belly’ which is ideal for cutting and slicing. However, because the point is so controllable, it is weak and can easily snap if you place it in a bind, which is possible if you often break apart ribcages or pelvic bones. A serrated edge knife will also aid in these tasks.
The drop point knife also has an excellent ‘belly’ for cutting and slicing. However, unlike the clip point, who’s back (the unsharpened ‘top’ of the knife) runs halfway down the knife before plunging towards the tip, the drop point’s back runs all the way from the handle to the tip of the knife. The slow slope of the back allows the drop point to have a very controllable tip. This control helps to ensure the hunter does not accidentally nick or damage the game’s organs. However, the drawback here is the drop point is not as good as piercing as the clip point. Yet, this drawback allows the drop point to have a much stronger point than the clip point.
The gut hook knife has a large ‘belly’ and a semicircular opening on the back or spine of the knife. This opening creates a space ideal for gutting game and the large belly is ideal for cutting and slicing. However, piecing or stabbing the game is nearly impossible with this knife and sharpening the hook part of the knife is likewise very difficult. This knife is ideal for field dressing your game.
The tanto style of knife has an unmistakable steep slope on the blade’s edge, while the back has a little slope from the handle, then a steeper slope as it approaches the tip. Because of the steep slope of the blade’s cutting edge, the tanto knife has no ‘belly’ for cutting or slicing, but it has an extremely strong point which is great for piercing hard materials. This also makes the knife’s point more difficult to control. Sharpening this knife is more difficult than the other blade styles discussed here. The difficulty increases because of the two level and angles of the blade.
The trailing point knife has the weakest point of all knife style listed here. The backing has an upward sweep creating the knife’s very sharp edge. The ‘belly’ also has an upward sweep grating the trailing point knife an excellent ability to cut and slice.
The Skinning Issue
When it involves skinning your game, the task can be achieved much easily utilizing a skinning knife. Because the title suggests, this knife is particularly created for skinning the creatures. However, many predators make use of this knife for other game cleaning tasks too. Skinning knives are outfitted with sharp, thin and curved rotor blades that help in faster skin removal process with only a sweep from the edge.
With any of the fixed blade knife, you want to make sure the knife is a full tang blade. This means the blade extends from tip to the back of the handle. This continuous piece of steel gives the knife a super strong structure.
Now, steel selection is also very important as is the handle selection. If you are willing to choose a carbon steel then you need to clean it regularly to prevent rusting. You can stop the knife from rusting by keeping it oiled at all times. If you prefer a less frequent task, you can apply wax to the blade. However, you can choose a stainless steel knife, while harder to sharpen; you will not have to worry about the blade rusting. The most prominent drawback to a stainless steel knife is the flexibility of the knife. A stainless steel knife will typically have less flexibility than a carbon steel knife.
The most important aspects of the handle are the feel, which includes the balance, and the functionality. Many people often ignore the style of the knife handles while buying hunting knives. The final factor you need to check that is there any possibility of sliding off the knife from your hands when your hand is bloody or wet. If you are cleaning game, you will want a handle that you can grip even if your hands are wet.
It is crucial that you've got a good grip in your knife while using it. The handle needs to fit your hand, not too big or too small, and it needs to complement the weight of the blade. Don't select a hunting knife that's uncomfortable for you to hold. If at all possible, try holding the knife with your hand before purchasing it to ensure that you make certain the handle is ideal for your hands.
As long as man has sought to feed himself, he has hunted. With a task as critical as sustaining himself and his family, or tribe, he can ill afford to take the wrong tools. Every hunt is a battle between man and the wild; level the playing field by choosing the correct knife for needs of your hunt.
Sean Bergman, an article writer and knife enthusiast. If you like to know more about outdoor or utility or kitchen knives then knock me here: TheTacticalKnives.com