The Hunting knife was one of the first tools ever created by humans. The great-great-grandfather of all blades was the hand ax, a sort of Stone Age Swiss army knife. Later, the first people learned that different blade shapes and cutting edges are better suited for different tasks and began a period of creating the different shapes and types of knives that we have today.
What is a hunting knife?
There is not a single knife that could be called a “Damascus hunting knife“. We need several different knives for different tasks during hunting. Therefore, it would be nice to familiarize yourself with all the options and what a hunting knife is like before buying.
Let’s go from the general to the particular, and first look at the types of knives.
1. Utility knife
This is a kind of compromise between the blades of other types. It can be used for skinning and butchering a large animal. Utility knives can perform all of these functions, although not as well as those designed for this purpose.
A utility hunting knife is usually slightly larger than other types and comes with either a clip or a drop-point blade (more on that in a moment). The blade can be 10-13 centimeters long, usually with a small belly for skinning, a pointed end for fine detailing, and a strong shank for heavy-duty cutting.
2. Skinning knives
Skinning requires a lot of concentration and patience and involves cutting many small pieces into hard-to-reach places. One slip of the blade can ruin the hide. For this purpose, special skinning blades have been developed. The blade of a good skinning knife will be about 7 centimeters. Anything longer will be bulky and lack maneuverability.
3. Folding knife
And the first question here is – how can a folding knife be better than a knife with a fixed handle?
Everything depends on the goal. While a fixed handle knife is more durable and very useful for heavy-duty tasks, a folding knife can make a great portable hunting knife. Its best feature is that it can always be in your pocket in case of surprises.
And now let’s go through the basic shapes of hunting knife blades.
1. Clip point
It has a shaft that comes out of the handle 2/3 of the blade’s total length, then tapers and curves towards the point, creating a false edge that can be sharpened into a true secondary cutting edge. The advantage of clip point is that it has fast penetrating power and acceptable slicing characteristics. This is the most popular style of knife.
2. Drop point
The next most popular blade type is the drop point. Drop point blades have good penetration and provide much more control when slicing. The drop point is stronger than the clip point. They are ideal for butchering small game and upland birds.
3. Spearpoint or spear
The point of a spear has many of the benefits of a drop point but has an even stronger tip. Spearheads are popular on double-edged daggers.
4. Trail point
Such a knife has a large distance from the abdomen to the blade, and the tip ends above the butt. They have the typical appearance of a scimitar and are most suitable for skinning when it is to be kept intact, as in tanning. If you hunt for a long time and seriously, you should have such a knife in your arsenal.
What is important to consider when choosing a hunting knife?
Consider blade length. This factor is extremely important for knife control. Therefore, a short knife blade is much easier to control with precision than a long blade, and yet has a much shorter reach. But, while a longer knife blade provides a significantly greater reach, which is useful when skinning large game animals, it also provides less control over the knife. The choice depends on your goals and the comfort of owning a knife.
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Steel blades. Many types of steel are used to make knife blades, but only a few of them are suitable for making hunting knives. High carbon and stainless steel are some of the best options.
The handle is almost as important as the shape of the blade and the steel. The handle should ideally fit the hand, be comfortable and provide a secure grip.
Many materials are used to make handles:
The wood makes the handle very elegant, but such a pleasure is somewhat higher in the price category.
Bone makes excellent handles. They provide a natural-textured grip, feel great in the hand, and are the least susceptible to weathering. Exquisitely look horny and bone scales.
The leather grip looks amazing. But leather is not the best choice for a hunting knife. It gets dirty quickly, becomes slippery with blood, and is not weather resistant.
- Micarta is a symbiosis of several elements – carbon fiber, thermoplastic, paper, and linen. Micarta is extremely hard and resistant to any impact.
- Glass-reinforced nylon (GRN/FRN) is used under various names such as G-10. It is nearly indestructible, resistant to chemicals, does not expand or contract at temperatures, and is resistant to chipping.
The sheath is one of the most underrated parts of the knife system. The sheath performs several important functions. First, and most obviously, it is a safe and reliable way to carry a blade. It also protects the blade from scratches and prevents blunting or cuts. Therefore, choose a hunting knife with a quality sheath.
A good hunting knife is, of course, extremely important. But what is even more important is how professional the hunter is who wields it. Therefore, practice and possession of relevant information is your everything!
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