A hunting knife can serve as self-defense from wild animals that may attack and also gives you the ability to skin and process most types of animals. However, there are many varieties of knives and each one is made for a specific purpose. Some knives fall under the ‘general purpose’ category and these knives can be versatile to have and use when spending time outdoors.
To help you find the right hunting knife that suits your need or perhaps guide you in making your first purchase, below is a quick 5-step guide you can use to make a confident decision.
Are you a camper, a hiker or a hunter? A hunter may choose a different type of knife to a camper. A bush walker or hiker may choose a knife with a machete blade or an axe to assist when the trail is covered by brush.
The term ‘Hunting Knife’ covers a good many makes and models so if you are a camper, don’t be daunted by the general term ‘hunting knife’.
It's important to understand that hunting knives have distinct characteristics and uses - a knife used to cut through brush will have different design features compared to a knife used to skin animals. If you are hunting in a group but need to split up, you may need both knives to make your hunting efficient. Whilst having a multi-purpose hunting knife on hand at all times is advisable, you may want to consider buying a few specialty knives that can provide your specific needs.
Buying a hunting knife is not like buying a television, bigger isn't always better. Before making your purchase, is important to consider the type of animal (if any) you will be hunting or the type of things you will use it for (see step 1).
If you are hunting for big animals like deer or feral pigs, a large knife will be a good fit but for hunting and skinning small animals it is ideal to use a smaller and lightweight knife which can be kept in your pocket. It’s also worth noting that there are some very good skinners on the market which are well worth your time.
When choosing the right hunting knife, it's important not to compromise quality and usability for a nice looking design and appearance. Some knifes have both looks and function, but not many.
Processing the meat can be a messy affair, so be prepared with the right hunting gear for this. Synthetic handles can be easy to clean, and wooden handles are the traditional choice. Common handle types are made from wood, leather, bone, bamboo and sometimes with a touch of brass.
Hunting knives are either available with fixed blade or folding blade but there are several blade designs to choose from. Depending on what you need the knife for, your blade will be the most important consideration.
It is important to understand their differences to make the right decision. The blade design should be tailored based on the type of hunting you will do. This article on knife tang is a good one to read so you can understand a bit more about how the knives are crafted.