Hunting Essentials

Hunting Knives

Box Turkey Call are meant for field dressing game and other outdoor activities. They are typically sturdy, wearable or packable and offer special features like a gut hook for removing animals’ innards without puncturing organs.

They can also have different blade grinds that determine the knife’s best fit for specific tasks. For example, a Wharncliffe or sheepsfoot blade would be inappropriate for hunting knives but a shears or drop point would be suitable.

A hunting knife is one of the most versatile tools a hunter can own. It can do anything from cleanly breaking down an animal to helping start a fire in a survival situation. This makes it important for hunters to choose a blade shape that meets their specific needs. There are many different blade styles available to choose from, each with their own unique characteristics and recommended applications.

The type of blade material also has a significant impact on the quality of a hunting knife. Good quality knives feature carbon steel or stainless steel blades. Choosing the right steel is important because it determines how long the blade will stay sharp. Carbon steel blades will rust if not properly cared for, but they can be protected from this by regularly using a metal polish or coating the blade with a rust-resistant wax. Stainless steel, on the other hand, does not rust and is suitable for use in any environment.

Regardless of what kind of blade you choose, it is crucial that your knife is well-balanced and has adequate heft to allow for precise cutting. It’s also important to consider the blade’s design, particularly the primary bevel and secondary bevel. These features are what make up the edge of the blade and define its cutting angle. A primary bevel is usually at a slight angle, while the secondary bevel is typically at a steeper angle.

There are a variety of blade types that are ideal for hunting, including all-purpose drop point knives with a curved spine and a larger belly to facilitate slicing. Alternatively, there are gut hook blades that can be used to make clean cuts around internal organs, and caping blades that can be used for the detailed work of skinning animals.

It’s also worth considering whether you want a fixed or folding blade. A fixed blade is generally preferred by most hunters because it is easy to carry and provides a solid, sturdy base for performing the majority of tasks. In contrast, a folding blade can be easier to conceal but requires careful handling and may not be suitable for the more delicate tasks involved in hunting.

Blade Length

Hunting knives are available in a wide range of blade lengths. The ideal blade length depends on a variety of factors, including versatility and control. A blade length within the 3- to 5-inch range strikes an excellent balance between these considerations. Other considerations include the specific hunting tasks and environments at hand, as well as the skill level of the user.

The most popular knife blade shape for hunters is a drop point, which has a thicker point that provides strength and prevents the tip from puncturing or damaging hides and vital organs during skinning. This blade type also lends itself to a wider variety of meat processing tasks. Other popular blade shapes for hunting knives are a clip point and a serrated edge. A hawkbill blade is another option that is designed to assist with gutting and other cutting tasks.

In addition to blade shape and length, the choice of blade material is an important factor in choosing a hunting knife. Most of the knives used by hunters are made from stainless steels, but carbon steel is also an option for those seeking ultimate performance and durability. A premium stainless grade such as CPM-3V offers excellent toughness, hardness and edge retention, while maintaining good corrosion resistance compared to other high-carbon grades.

A choil is the portion of the handle between the guard and the blade that enables the user to maintain a firm grip on the knife during rough procedures. The choil can be rounded or slender to facilitate a smoother grip, as is commonly the case with hunting knives.

As a standard, most fixed blade hunting knives have a curved, slender profile. This shape is easier to handle and more efficient for performing a wide range of cutting tasks. However, some manufacturers offer fixed blade hunting knives with a straight or modified curve to suit specific needs.

Some knives have a milled gut hook on the spine of the blade, which can make it easier to pierce or cut through animal flesh. While this is a useful feature, it is not a necessity for most hunters.

Blade Material

The blade material has an effect on the knife’s weight and durability. High-performance steels such as CPM-XYZ can be extremely strong and sharp, but they require diamond stones to maintain a good edge, are expensive, and have higher production costs than traditional steel. These factors can make these types of blades less affordable for many hunters.

Other knife materials such as Micarta, G-10 and carbon fiber are extremely strong and lightweight. They are also resistant to abrasion and bending making them suitable for knife handles. These handle materials can also be reinforced with fiberglass for additional strength and durability. Another popular option is Zytel which is a form of fiberglass reinforced polymer created by DuPont. This material is super strong, highly resistant to abrasion and bending and almost impervious to moisture.

All of these materials offer a variety of grip options. Handle designs that incorporate finger grooves, textured surfaces or contoured shapes provide comfort and stability in the hand for prolonged use. Ergonomic designs improve the knife’s control, enhancing precision and safety.

In addition to the materials used in a knife’s construction, other considerations include the type of finish and the amount of corrosion resistance the blade can achieve. The majority of knives are made from stainless steel but some manufacturers use other metals in their blades. All metals corrode over time so proper maintenance is necessary to prevent rust. Stainless steel blades are more rust-resistant than carbon steel, but they still require regular cleaning and oiling to avoid oxidation.


The grip on a hunting knife is important because it determines the type of use you can make of your blade. Whether you are field dressing, skinning, or even just cutting brush to clear a path for your game, your knife is in your hand for extended periods of time and must be comfortable and controllable.

A number of handle designs are used in hunting knives to cater to specific types of grips. For example, a pommel swell or spur is often included as an additional rest for your hand when using a point-up grip. This enables you to keep your thumb or palm on the handle rather than the blade, which can cause fatigue over long periods of use. A rounded pommel is also preferable for many users as it won’t jab into their palms or thumb in alternative grip positions, and it is less likely to protrude when the knife is in its sheath (if mounted on the waste).

Another common handle feature is jimping, a series of small notches that are cut along the side of a handle. These are designed to give you tactile feedback when holding the knife, as well as a better hold. If you are using a claw grip for breaking down carcasses, or a chef’s pinch grip when chopping, the jimping allows you to place your fingers on the knife more firmly without worrying about hitting your knuckles on the blade spine.

Lastly, the sheath is an important consideration for hunters, particularly those who carry fixed blade knives. A sheath is typically made of kydex or leather and is used to keep the blade safe and secure when not in use. A sheath can help prevent the blade from accidentally slipping out of the hand when you are performing more delicate tasks, such as skinning.

A good sheath is also key to ensuring that your knife stays clean and dry for longer than possible, which can be very difficult with a fixed blade. Most sheaths are able to be cleaned with water, but a few will require special cleaners or desiccants for long-term storage.