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Picking the perfect hunting knife

Updated on April 14, 2011

When it comes to knives especially custom made knives there are many styles or blade designs to pick from. If you are a life long hunter or outdoors person you may have in mind what you like in a knife style or design already but maybe this article will help you out in picking out a knife design that will work well for you or even become the perfect hunting knife.

When I get asked about "what is a great knife for hunting and general using" I often refer to a blade design that is either a drop point style or an old classic spear point. Both of these knife designs are great for many cutting chores besides hunting. For example a drop point with a bit of a belly you can use to skin game but will also work well around camp for cutting up food, making fire sticks and more.

Blade length is another factor in what will make a nice hunting knife for you. Again, if you already know what you like in a knife including blade size that is great. I have found that a nice blade size for hunting white tail deer, and general game range in 3 1/4" up to 5 inches long with a handle around 4 to 5 inches long.

Another great blade design is what I call a straight point or even a trailing point. Many hunters like the pointed tip for processing game. (see the first photo in this article for a blade that is a trailing point)

Handle material in a knife is something to consider as well, especially in a custom made knife. There are many options to choose from. I am a large fan of natural handle materials, they have worked for many years and will continue to do so for many more, but I will save this for another article.

Kephart Knife with a spear point style blade forged in my shop.
Kephart Knife with a spear point style blade forged in my shop.

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    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Nice Hub! There are so many different versions of these tools out there. I bet you could write a bunch of Hubs on this one subject! I enjoy pocket and utility knives because I find them useful.

      JSMatthew~

    • mlesniewski profile image
      Author

      mlesniewski 6 years ago from Upstate NY

      Thank you J.S.

      Making and forging knives full time I have allot of content to write about. I like a fixed blade for a pocket carry..Appreciate the post and follow.

      Matt

    • ujoutdoors profile image

      ujoutdoors 6 years ago

      Being a serious hunter and outdoor writer I have found the Case line of folding knives to be the most useful in the field. Being from Louisiana the home of the Bowie Knife I can tell you even old Jim wouldn't use a Bowie to skin a deer if he had something smaller. The Case Trapper and Case Hunter are just about perfect. You can completely process two deer with a properly honed Case folding hunter before resharpening. Now since we occasionally get crazy and actually hunt with a knife, for wild hogs then the Bowie Knife is a good idea. Once was enough for me thank you.

    • mlesniewski profile image
      Author

      mlesniewski 6 years ago from Upstate NY

      Hi ujoutdoors.

      Glad to hear the case line of knives works well for you.

      If your a lieflong hunter like I mentioned in the article you know what works well for you. Top knife isnt a hugh bowie, the blade is 5" long if I remember right but angle of the picture makes it look a bit bigger. The bottom knife is a proven blade design in the field as Horace Kephart used this style for just about everything. Your right something to large isnt a good hunting knife. I am an avid hunter, fisher and outdoors person myself. One of these day I would like to give hog hunting a try. Thanks for the post..

    • mlesniewski profile image
      Author

      mlesniewski 6 years ago from Upstate NY

      Also wanted to add..back in the days of Jim Bowie, large knives were the norm for the most part. So I may not pick a larger blade to dress a whitetail buck, although I do carry a large knife and a smaller knife in the woods. I do know of folks that would use a larger knife for this and do. Thanks again for the input. Look forward in seeing your writing.

    • ujoutdoors profile image

      ujoutdoors 6 years ago

      You might take the time to have your knives Cryogenically treated, inexpensive and harmless to the knife but it really improves the steel for holding an edge, David Minchew from Baton Rouge can tell you about it Cajun Cryogenics.

    • mlesniewski profile image
      Author

      mlesniewski 6 years ago from Upstate NY

      Thanks for the info ujoutdoors.

      I do harden and differential temper all my blades the old fashioned way and they hold and edge real well. I do appreciate the input. Thanks again

    • profile image

      turtle 6 years ago

      Big knife comming soon(I hope :) ). Kephart next, followed by a heavy butcher. Axe and buck saw, all different, but functioning in unison.

    • mlesniewski profile image
      Author

      mlesniewski 6 years ago from Upstate NY

      Hi turtle

      Thanks for posting. appreciate the input, all great choices.

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