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What Do You Look For In A Hunting Knife?

shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior MemberPosts: 6,052 Senior Member
The title says it all, what are your preferences for a hunting knife? I'll post mine later when I have better reception to include links. 
- I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
"Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
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Replies

  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 4,121 Senior Member
    Good steel that will hold a keen edge is the main criteria.  That being satisfied as a general purpose tool I prefer a Loveless style above all others, with a blade length of 2 1/2- 3 1/2”.   The design is suitable for just about every chore I need to do on game including skinning.   For birds or other small game a folder with a drop point blade can do just fine.

    I had these two made years ago as a somewhat matched set.  A “big game” and a “bird and trout”, and the smaller blade was also my EDC for a while.  My son appropriated the smaller blade on one of his visits and I really miss that handy knife.

    The two in the middle are also favorites and great examples of my preferred style.

    It’s a °IIIII° thing 😎

  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,608 Senior Member
    My EDC Benchmade Griptilian sheepsfoot point stands ready to do the job and gets a pre-season touch-up on the edge. . .

    But it really isn't my "hunting knife".  That's a pair of Havalon Piranta replaceable blade folding knives - one which permanently lives in my pack; the other is contained in my "gut, cut, and drag" kit, which USUALLY lives on my pack.

    They're really sharp, weigh practically nothing even with a few extra blades, are cheap enough to have several or not regret their loss, and allow you to use the hell out of your EDC and still have a fresh "razor" when the time comes.  Plus, it allows you to choose your EDC around harder use chores.

    .
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 4,709 Senior Member
    Really depends on what and how you hunt. I personally have never been in a position that required me to skin and quarter in the field where a sturdy, do everything blade might be needed. Any knife adequate to the task of field dressing was fine. That being said, my pack knives are very much inline with Wambli's choices for similar reasons. Once back to camp my Green River skinner did the bulk of the work. 
  • Squawk BoxSquawk Box New Member Posts: 109 Member
  • Squawk BoxSquawk Box New Member Posts: 109 Member
    I got a Sharpfinger, I’m too old to futz around forever, and it was available.
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 4,121 Senior Member
    Those Sharpfingers were one of the finest shapes/blades ever invented.  Original USA ones are going up in value substantially since they moved production to China as are the rest of the Old Timer lineup.  The new ones are fine blades at a very reasonable price.  

    I still have my original 5” blade Old Timer outdoor knife that I bought in JC Penney I’m the 80s on clearance for $12 because it was missing the sheath.  A week later I found an original sheath at another store and paid $4 for it  😁  That knife was my only fixed blade knife for many years when I was young and has decades of hiking and camping stories on it.  

    I’ll pass that along to my granddaughter soon as her first “serious” camp knife.

    It’s a °IIIII° thing 😎

  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 25,200 Senior Member
    I like a clip or drop point lock back folder with a lanyard hole in the grip and used para cord for the lanyard.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 18,226 Senior Member
    edited August 31 #9
    I have gone through a lot of different knives in my years...Some time back I settled on the RAT series if knives from Ontario Cutlery as my go-to "hunting knives".
    The RAT 3" and the 7" take care of all the "big game" chores and the RAT Folder takes care of everything else

    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • minnesotashooterminnesotashooter Senior Member Posts: 822 Senior Member
    Personally, I am a huge fan of the nessmuk style of knife and it’s about all I use for big game.  My Fiddleback Forge Nessmuk is always at my side during deer hunting. 
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 1,316 Senior Member
    I think the one I use the most is a golden spike IIRC on the name.

    It was my father's and is good luck. :smile:
  • GrapeApeGrapeApe Posts: 379 Member
    edited August 29 #12
    I'm a "steel snob". I look for a premium steel (D2, 154-CM, SV30 etc) that I can make WICKED sharp that has the ability to maintain a good edge through use. the 400-440 "surgical steels" need not apply, I honestly think looking at one of those steels hard dulls it </sarcasm>
    "For longer range, use a bigger case. For bigger game, use a bigger bullet." - Dan Johnson
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,800 Senior Member
    Case Ridgeback Hunter. WOW!!! They've almost tripled in price in the last 5 years....

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 14,571 Senior Member
    Personally, I am a huge fan of the nessmuk style of knife and it’s about all I use for big game.  My Fiddleback Forge Nessmuk is always at my side during deer hunting. 
    Pictures for us knuckle draggers....
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 12,246 Senior Member
    After years of searching and trying all sorts of different knives, I pretty much now just look for a Morakniv companion in carbon steel.  
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,935 Senior Member
    I don’t really even know the definition of a “hunting knife”. 

    What is a “hunting knife”?
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,935 Senior Member
    Not being a “butt head”. I’m just not much of a generalist. 

    Asking, what is my favorite “hunting knife” is like asking what is my favorite “long range rifle”.

    Thats too general. They all have a purpose. A specific purpose. Or at least, an operating realm. 

    I need lateral limits. 😁
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • minnesotashooterminnesotashooter Senior Member Posts: 822 Senior Member
    CHIRO1989 said:
    Personally, I am a huge fan of the nessmuk style of knife and it’s about all I use for big game.  My Fiddleback Forge Nessmuk is always at my side during deer hunting. 
    Pictures for us knuckle draggers....
    https://www.knivesillustrated.com/the-nessmuk-ideal-a-knifes-history/

  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 14,571 Senior Member
    That is a good looking knife
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • GrapeApeGrapeApe Posts: 379 Member
    edited August 30 #20
    CHIRO1989 said:
    That is a good looking knife
    I did some searching and found some "Nessmuk" style knives with D2 blades and a decent price.
    I AM TEMPTED
    Just one example
    https://www.knifecenter.com/item/BO02BO018/boker-plus-vox-nessmi-pro-fixed-blade-knife-d2-satin-nessmuk-brown-micarta-handles-leather-sheath
    "For longer range, use a bigger case. For bigger game, use a bigger bullet." - Dan Johnson
  • 41magnut41magnut Senior Member Posts: 1,298 Senior Member
    https://www.buckknives.com/product/110-folding-hunter-knife/0110FAM01/

    The Buck 110 folder is tough to beat for overall general utility. 

    https://www.buckknives.com/product/119-special-knife/0119FAM01/

    The 119 has always been a fixed blade utility camp/hunting/outdoor knife for me. Lost my original from my teen years in a move, left on a rock somewhere (not likely), loaned out to a buddy and not returned, (possibly). Keep intending to replace it, but the 110 has done everything I've needed during the intervening years. 

    Schrade Sharp Fingers are another personal favorite but I've had two (USA made) lost stolen or given away, not inclined to replace with PRC variants.
    "The .30-06 is never a mistake." Townsend Whelen :iwo:
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 4,121 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    I don’t really even know the definition of a “hunting knife”. 

    What is a “hunting knife”?
    Zee said:
    Not being a “butt head”. I’m just not much of a generalist. 

    Asking, what is my favorite “hunting knife” is like asking what is my favorite “long range rifle”.

    Thats too general. They all have a purpose. A specific purpose. Or at least, an operating realm. 

    I need lateral limits. 😁
    In my mind this would be a knife the you'd hang on your belt or throw in your pack when leaving the homestead to hunt in a location where an assortment of your specific use tools would not be available to you readily.

    The task as I see it would be an expedient field dressing tool, MAYBE quartering and even skinning an animal if larger game is the quarry, and if called upon something to cut a few steaks off the beast for campfire fare and perhaps even personal eating cutlery after cooking that piece of meat.  

    Pretty much a general purpose blade.

    BUT, I could be wrong...

    It’s a °IIIII° thing 😎

  • JaphyJaphy Posts: 389 Member
    I am a sharpfinger fan.  Had one since sometime in late 1970s.  It would be wonderful to see Benchmade do a clone in S90V.  With modern diamond hones the sharpening difficulty would be minimal.  Combine premium steel, a textured delrin handle, and near perfect ergonomics might be the dreamcutter.

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,935 Senior Member
    edited August 30 #24
    A Victorinox Boning Knife, then. 

    Or a Sharpfinger. 

    A fine point affords more detailed work. 

    And a ceramic sharpener. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 18,226 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    A Victorinox Boning Knife, then.
    I get those from my butcher after he has used them to the point he needs to replace them....he tosses them in a box and sells them for $5.00 apiece...Even though they have been reconfigured a bit, they are probably the most used knives in my kitchen...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,393 Senior Member
    The most important thing I look for in a hunting knife is the ability to retain an edge after field dressing the first deer....
    Got this one given to me by Knitepoet which lives in my hunting pack.
    About 5 yrs ago I was in an Army surplus shopp just gazing around when I saw a knife set in a pouch for $20nz..........so I bought it.
    The lighter is there to give you an idea of size. It does most, if not all I want in the field and retains a good edge even after field dressing 2 deer. Made by Elk Ridge....

    Of course I always carry a Benchmade 550 on my belt which is, in my view,  one of the best everyday use kind of knives money can buy.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,935 Senior Member
    edited August 31 #27
    Jayhawker said:
    Zee said:
    A Victorinox Boning Knife, then.
    I get those from my butcher after he has used them to the point he needs to replace them....he tosses them in a box and sells them for $5.00 apiece...Even though they have been reconfigured a bit, they are probably the most used knives in my kitchen...
    Some choose form. Others choose function. 

    Experience dictates. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • GrapeApeGrapeApe Posts: 379 Member
    edited August 31 #28
    Is function not a result of form, at least to some degree?

    "For longer range, use a bigger case. For bigger game, use a bigger bullet." - Dan Johnson
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 4,121 Senior Member
    GrapeApe said:
    Is function not a result of form, at least to some degree?

    I think it's the other way around but still deeply tied to the user experience and needs.  As we acquire experience and define what our expected function of our equipment is we then look for a form that will meet it.  I went through a lot of knives before I settled on the type that seems to work best for my needs.  If my main quarry was bison, as an example, I might have a completely different preference.

    It’s a °IIIII° thing 😎

  • JKPJKP Senior Member Posts: 2,656 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    A Victorinox Boning Knife, then. 

    Or a Sharpfinger. 

    A fine point affords more detailed work. 

    And a ceramic sharpener. 
    That's way too practical and cost effective. What the heck is wrong with you?!

  • GrapeApeGrapeApe Posts: 379 Member
    edited August 31 #31
    I think it's the other way around but still deeply tied to the user experience and needs.  As we acquire experience and define what our expected function of our equipment is we then look for a form that will meet it.  I went through a lot of knives before I settled on the type that seems to work best for my needs.  If my main quarry was bison, as an example, I might have a completely different preference.


    I disagree.

    If the "form" is one of the ridiculously large "Bowie" knives, its function ISN'T fileting a fish or cleaning squirrels.
     On the other side of the coin, one of the small knives, such as Orchidman posted, would be quite difficult to skin and/or quarter a bison with.

    I understand that my examples are taken to the extremes, and understand that someone skilled enough COULD do those things, however, I did that to explain my position that the form of the knife gives a decent idea of its function.

    In between those 2 extremes, there is a HUGE amount of overlap and gray area. That's where the personal preferences and experiences come into play

    Edited to add:
    I will say that the vast majority of the knives posted in this thread fall within that huge gray area.
    "For longer range, use a bigger case. For bigger game, use a bigger bullet." - Dan Johnson
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