5 Things to Avoid on Your Quest for a Hunting Knife
When hunting for the perfect knife to use while hunting, it can be tricky to track down the right target.
Because there are so many models available and a plethora of knives available on the internet as well, it’s easy to get confused and strike out on your search.
Thankfully, we've crafted a hunting knife guide to help you on your quest for the right tool.
The first thing you want to do is to establish a budget. Know that the cost for these blades can run between a reasonable $50 to the more pricey options of more than $1,000.
After setting a spending budget, choose which kind of hunting knife you want: folded or fixed blade.
Then begin your search, keeping an eye out for a tool that avoids all of the 5 hunting knife no-no’s listed below.
Hunting Knife Shopping Tips—5 Things to Avoid
1. Knives with Hollow Handles
You’re tough; you need a hunting knife that is just as strong and ready to rumble as you are!
Since hollow handles mean less overall knife strength, this is one thing to avoid when shopping for your ideal match.
Usually, because there’s not too much weight in the knife’s core, a hollow handle knife can feel unbalanced.
However, if you don’t mind trading knife strength over a small piece of a survival kit, go for it.
2. Folding Knives with Pivots
Here’s one thing you should pivot in the other direction of.
Pivots on folding knives are a definite no-no when it comes to shopping for the perfect knife for hunting.
Folding knives can be a good option because they are neatly portable. Additionally, they are also extremely safe when they are folded up when not in use.
However, the hinge is known to be more likely to malfunction when doing some serious piercing tasks.
When that happens, it can make for some dangerous slices.
So if you’re looking to keep your fingers attached to your hands, avoid folding knives that pivot.
3. Gut Hooks
Goodbye, gut hooks—you are not needed!
They’re great for field dressing game, that’s true. However, gut hooks are not completely necessary—especially since you can gut game without a gut hook.
The spine of a knife is meant to be the safe edge. Having a gut hook takes that safety out of the picture with the hunting knife.
While having the gut hook or not on a knife is a personal preference of every shopper or hunter, be aware of the safety concerns that may come with it.
4. Blade Serrations
Serration on the blade of a hunting knife is another thing to consider in your shopping venture for the right tool for you.
First, let’s make sure we know what a serrated blade even is!
What are Blade Serrations?
A blade serration is a type of blade used on cutting tools such as saws, some knives or scissors.
This kind of blade has a cutting edge, and by having less contact area than a smooth blade, the applied pressure at each point of contact is relatively greater.
Cuts made with a serrated blade are typically less smooth and less precise than cuts made with a smooth blade.
In general, a serrated blade has a faster cut, but a plain edge has a cleaner cut.
Don’t get confused when buying these blades, as they go by various names. These types of blades can also be known as dentated, sawtooth, or toothed blade, so look out for these titles as well.
Why Should I Avoid a Hunting Knife with a Serrated Blade?
While serrated blades make cutting hard surfaces easier, you won’t even need such a blade if you’re diligent about sharpening your knife frequently enough and/or well enough.
In addition, serrated blades can be more difficult to sharpen than a non-serrated, using a whetstone or rotary sharpener. However, if you’ve got some bling lying around, they can be easily sharpened with a diamond.
Since serrated blades are so time-consuming and troubling to re-sharpen, especially if you don’t have power tools, diamonds on deck, or the best sharpener on the market, you may want to avoid this kind blade altogether.
5. Bad Blade Length
Buy the best blade length for you and your hunting needs.
Blade length is a very important consideration when hunting for the right knife.
Unless you’re a lumberjack, you likely won’t want to carry a knife that’s too long.
More likely, there will only be several things you’ll need your hunting knife for.
These include field dressing, slicing your lunch, and maybe cutting off some twigs.
Since chopping down a tree is probably out of the question for you in your hunting ventures, pick a knife with an appropriate blade length so you’ll be ready to go on your next hunting trip.
Popular Hunting Knife Options
Now that you know the five factors to avoid—those that make for a bad hunting knife—let’s take a look at some of the more popular options for hunting knives.
- Full tang design—The blade of your hunting knife must feature a full tang design. This means that the handle and the blade are made of one continuous piece of steel, making for a strong, unbreakable knife, if used properly.
- Comfortable handle—The handle of the knife should be highly comfortable for your hand. This will provide good grip under wet conditions, and if it’s made of strong material, it won’t deteriorate in humid conditions.
- Carbon steel—This kind of knife is cheaper, rugged and durable, easy to sharpen, and strong. However, it is prone to rusting. If you do choose this kind of knife, by applying a silicon containing wax over the blade or keeping it oiled at all times, you can easily prevent a carbon steel knife blade from rusting.
- Stainless steel—This type of blade is the popular choice among hunters everywhere. However, stainless steel blades are a little harder to sharpen and don’t keep an edge as well as a carbon steel does.
What kind of knives have you used in the past while hunting or use during your current hunting adventures now? Give us the good, the bad, and the ugly, of your knife reviews in the comments!