6 tips to keep in mind when purchasing a hunting knife
When it comes to hunting, owning a knife is literally an essential, we can’t leave home without it! Here we have put together 6 tips to keep in mind when purchasing a hunting knife, so we can get down to business and get out into nature as soon as possible.
- The first question we have to ask ourselves would be; What is the purpose of this knife, and what functions do we want our knives to perform? If one is looking for a knife that will perform a specific task well, for instance, skinning a dear, or cutting branches around your secret hunting stand, in these cases searching for a specialty knife would be the way to go. Specialty knives are more suitable for those types of actions. Contrary to if you buy a specialty knife to use as a multipurpose tool for back country camping, (not hunting) it probably won’t perform many tasks that you need it too. By choosing a design best suited for the tasks the knife is intended to handle, we optimize our options.
- Bigger does not always mean better, in the world of knives, if hunting, a knife with a larger blade can be rendered obsolete compared to other options. When this is realized, the size of the knife chosen will come down to being practical and personal preference. If one needs a knife for skinning an animal on the smaller side, they will want something of a smaller size, lightweight (Synthetics are great lightweight knives) and pocket-sized. If hunting a larger animal, elk for instance, something bigger and sturdier will be necessary for quartering the animal and packing it out. its simple really, larger animal equals a larger, tougher knife, whilst a smaller animal only needs a small pocket sized knife, durability is key for both
- Hunting knives have one of two types of blades, a fixed blade or a folding blade. Fixed-blade knives are stronger and more useful when involved with heavy-duty type work because blade material itself runs through the handle. They’re easier to clean than folding knives and more sturdy and reliable because they don’t have any parts that move. Folding knives aren’t as durable as fixed blades but allow convenience to the owner because they easily can be carried in a pocket and are great knives for everyday uses. Mechanisms on many allow convenient one-handed opening. They are, however, more difficult to clean because the blade channel collects blood, tissue, etc. which tends to get a bit messy.
- Hunting knives have three main blade designs: drop-point, clip-point and skinning. For big-game hunting, consider a drop point, which features a thick, curved blade stronger than other types. It’s excellent for skinning animals because we can use the entire edge, not just the point. In a pinch, a drop-point also can be used instead of a saw or hatchet for splitting ribs and pelvis bones.The clip-point blade is thinner, flatter and has a more defined point than the drop-point. It can be used for the same tasks but is less efficient for skinning, splitting and gutting. However, the clip-point knife is a good choice for hunters who plan to use the knife for purposes other than just hunting. Skinning knives are designed specifically for skinning medium to large game. The highly sweeping blade is made to effortlessly separate flesh from skin. Also, a good skinner can do most other game-cleaning chores, as well as clip-point and drop-point designs. Some knives come with interchangeable blades, allowing the user to swap one blade for another when different blade types are needed for particular tasks.
- The type of steel used in the blade is another important consideration. This determines how well a knife will sharpen along with how well it will hold its edge after sharpening and how well it will hold up to years of use. The best blade materials exhibit high edge retention, toughness, corrosion resistance and wear resistance. The following types are among the best for hunting knives: • S30V: This high-end, high-vanadium steel offers an exceptional combination of toughness, wear resistance and rust resistance. S30V blades are a little hard to sharpen but retain an edge much better than most blades made with other materials. • 154CM: This high-carbon stainless steel has a high-wear resistance, and its hardness allows it to retain an edge very well. It is one of the more brittle stainless steels, however, and in general works best on smaller blades. • VG-10: This high-wear stainless steel is in the same class as 154CM but offers superior corrosion resistance and extended edge retention. • 420HC: This medium-carbon stainless steel is extremely corrosion resistant but has a lower hardness than the other types, making it much easier to sharpen. Edge stability is in the mid-range.
- Wood, leather and bone handles are very functional and often more aesthetically pleasing, but these materials lack durability and can be difficult to grip firmly when wet with blood or water. Synthetic materials such as Zytel, Kraton and ABS, which offer a good combination of sure grip and economy, are excellent options. Synthetics are also lightweight and virtually unbreakable.
For safety’s sake, the handle of a hunting knife should also have a finger stop, contour, or other guard at the junction of the handle and blade that stops the user’s hand from sliding forward on the blade. When it comes to purchasing a hunting knife, utilization is key to the perfect hunting trip! Happy hunting!