View Full Version : Hunting knife

November 11, 2002, 06:51 PM
I need a new knife to carry deer hunting. What would some of you suggest? It will be for hunting only, no dual purpose... Im not a big knife guy (if I tried to sharpen a knife it would just be more dull) so I need something that is good to go out of the box.

November 11, 2002, 08:30 PM
Go to www.spyderco.com and check out their line up. If your interested in a folder, put some serious thought into the chinook. They have a few fixed blades also, I've heard good things about all of them. The moran is really popular if I remember right.

They make some of the best production knives on the market, and they have a sharpening service ;) They're about the sharpest out of the box for any production knives, and they use high quality stuff to make their knives. They hold an edge really well.

If you pick one that you like on their site, go to an online retailer to buy it. They sell for a lot cheaper than MSRP. I would recommend www.discountknives.com

November 11, 2002, 08:55 PM
Buck knives are still the cheapest and handiest of knives for carcus processing. You remember the ones - the shiney black handles, the shiney chrome blade, the hard pleather sheath...? Still about $15 at Wal Mart for a 6-7" Buck, and stay sharp enough to process at least 3 carcuses before needing a sharpening.

November 11, 2002, 10:16 PM
I carry a Buck folder (not sure of the model) and a Spyderco Rookie while hunting. My "rule of thumb" is to have a folder with a fairly short blade. I want to be able to grip the knife securely, run my index finger along the back of the blade, and have the point about even with my finger tip. That way I can use my finger to probe the chest cavity and avoid cutting anything I don't want to cut. Works for me.

Rick R
November 11, 2002, 10:22 PM
Which ever knife you choose get a Lansky sharpener to go with it. There are probably some similar tools that work as well but the concept of using a jig of some sort to hold the edge to the same uniform angle is great for us fumble fingered folks.


Ed Brunner
November 11, 2002, 10:48 PM
The Buck Vanguard is a good general purpose hunting knife.

November 11, 2002, 10:58 PM
Check out the Cold Steel Master Hunter. $47 at www.wholesalehunter.com

Ron L
November 11, 2002, 11:24 PM
A little pricier than that, but tough as nails, would be a Dozier. Bob does some incredible stuff with D2. I cut up 11 rooms worth of wet carpet after a flood at the rec center and it just needed a touch-up. I was hooked after that.

Besides my custom Hearn Skinner, it's the only knife I carry when hunting.

November 11, 2002, 11:36 PM
I have never seen a knife as sharp as a gerber straight out of the box. The only premium knife i have compared though is benchmade.

November 12, 2002, 01:31 AM
My personal preference is for a fixed blade. If you just want something functional, you won't go wrong with a Buck, Schrade, or Gerber. But if you're willing to spend $60 to $75 you can get a new-in-box Marbles on Ebay (with the older 52-100 steel) that will look great, last longer, and work better than anything else in its price range. I pretty much agree with all of the advice above, but I've just got a great big soft spot in my heart for the Marbles.

November 12, 2002, 02:20 AM

Navy joe
November 12, 2002, 02:21 AM
Case XX skinner. A classic, cheap, and good deer knife. At Wal-Mart.

Personally for hunting I have a Gerber Hachet, Phrobis M-9 bayonet, 300+ custom skinner (eet's purty), Spyderco Native (excellent blade steel and design) and a Swiss army. Yeah, I likes knifes. All sharp enough to lift hair, even the hachet. :D

Dave McC
November 12, 2002, 04:12 AM
Lot of good knives mentioned, including some I have and like.

The best hunting knife for me, tho, is a Helle. The one here has 4-5 deer dressed since it had a mild touchup with a crockstick, and it will pop hair right off my forearm.

The blade is laminated steel, like Japanese swords. Very good work.

Will Beararms
November 12, 2002, 11:44 AM
This the finest $20.00 skinning knife made and it's made in the USA. I have used them since they were $11.95. They are deadly sharp out of the box---------so sharp they will cut the scabbard when you pull them out. Keep oil on that carbon steel blade when not in use and marvel how well a $20.00 AMERICAN made knife does for you. I just can't say enough good about these knives. Please see attached file detailing the Old Timer Sharpfinger by Schrade.

November 12, 2002, 01:03 PM
Lots of good advice given above and you can tell they are given by experienced hunters.

My suggestions are:

I second the recommendation on the Lansky sharpening system.

Whatever knife you get keep the blade length to 3" - 4". This will be very helpful when working on the inside of the carcass. Longer blades are hard to maneuver inside with limited room and when working without being able to see what you are doing.

Think seriously about how you are going to carry the knife. If you intend to carry it on your belt, it might be safer to carry a folding lock blade. Think about it, you have a knife as sharp as you can get it and the only thing between your leg/groin/femoral artery, or gut is a little thin piece of leather! If you take a tumble, will the leather sheath protect you when you land on the knife's handle and are doubled up and tumbling down the creek bank? If you are going to carry the knife in a pack of some kind then a fixed blade would be fine.

My pick of the many hunting knives I own is one I've had for over 30 years, a Buck 118 Personal. I have cleaned many elk with it and can honestly say that I've cleaned as many as 3 elk between sharpenings although I do carry a Schrade Sharp Finger for the skinning task.

November 12, 2002, 04:12 PM
After losing a couple of expensive knifes at gut piles. (one becomes a little absent minded after the ordeal of cleaning and packing a moose.) I decided to settle for a Buck with bright orange handles and removable interchangable blades. I have two regular blades (saves on sharpening in the field) and also a gutting blade, ie one of the ones with a dull nub on the end to prevent catching the ponch.

It ain't pretty but it's very practical.

November 12, 2002, 04:54 PM
All decent advice.

I find that a knife prefernce is about as personal as are your boots. Your best friends (same make 'n model) may prefer something that you may abhor - such is life.

I've used Bucks (seems to be very hard steel - tough to sharpen but holds edge well) 'n Gerbers (excellent stuff) - cheapies & not-sos.

Currently, I use a Victorinox Swiis Army knife Hunter/Huntsman mosel - got a locking blade about 3.5" long, a gut zipper & a saw + a couple other do-dads. It's done plenty elk with no sweat.

I do also carry in myy pack, a Coleman skinning type fixed blade (about $15 US) that I found in the woods. Has a fairly thick blade in case I need to bang on something, a pretty good sweep to the blade for skinning, etc. & was free. Another one of those things that once seen used, The Wife & The Bud had to have one.

BTW, we all too carry that same-same SAK - lightweight & very functional.

Ditto a Lansky (or like wise jig) for sharpening after you've lost your touch, which seemed to be pretty much the same time as my excellent eyesight. (wah! ;) )

Must have 20-30 pretty good knives stashed around the place, but always carry at the least that Victorinox SAK - excellent quality & great steel.

November 12, 2002, 05:55 PM
While I do have the Gerber Gator, I just switched to a hardware utility knife that you break off the end of the knife as it gets dull. Light, compact, cheap, and allways sharp.

November 12, 2002, 08:19 PM
I was suprised not to see more "votes" for Benchmade... I had a benchmade (lost it), dont remember the modle it hat the "angled point". It was a "tatical" style... I know this to be a fact which can not be argued because it was all black :)

November 13, 2002, 01:19 AM
Benchmade makes a few fixed blade knives, but they're better known for their quality production folders.

Many folks are going to prefer a fixed blade knife for dressing game. This preference stems from a number of reasons:

-- no chance of lock failure
-- easier clean up and maintenance
-- drop point blade shapes
-- tradition

About the best game folder IMO is the large Spyderco Wegner. I own one, but I still like a fixed blade for game.

November 13, 2002, 01:27 AM
I'm still experimenting myself, but I don't think you can go wrong with either one of these knives.

Top: Spyderco Moran
Bottom: Schrade Wolverine (stainless steel version of the Sharpfinger that Will mentions above)

Al Thompson
November 13, 2002, 07:31 AM
Here's an unusual one and a favorite..


SA Scott
November 13, 2002, 08:31 AM

My wife dresses game using scalpel blades, and is more efficient than yours truly with a Wyoming knife or anything else I've used. They are extremely sharp, controllable, and when the blade wears you pull and replace. Amazing.

Of course, I would never go hunting without a real knife, and my wife dissects laboratory mice for a living. She's had some practice with a scalpel...

SA Scott

November 13, 2002, 09:47 AM
My vote also goes for the Schrade Sharpfinger. Even though I now carry a Benchmade Nimravus Cub, I still pack the Schrade as a backup and have field dressed many Whitetail and Mule deer with it. I think the Schrade Sharpfinger is a very good deal for the buck.

Art Eatman
November 13, 2002, 09:49 AM
I've used a lot of different knives in gutting out some 50 or more deer. I'll support the notion of a blade no more than three or four inches. I'll also support the idea of a Lansky sharpening set.

My favorite has come to be an old Solingen pocket knife, three-inch blade, that I carry in a nylon sheath so as to save my pockets. To split the pelvis, I just tap-tap-tap with a rock, on the back of the blade.

Straight back on the blade; rounded tip. Plenty good for gutting; great for skinning. I've done a dozen or so deer with it...


November 15, 2002, 09:01 PM
My favorite, and the best I have used for field dressing deer, is the Randall #11 Alaskan.

Last season, I used a Cold Steel All Terrain hunter. The carbon steel, leaf shaped blade is a wonder. That cheap and that good.........wow.

another really good one is my Brusletto from Norway, blade like a fat razorblade, and only two inches long. Quiete effective.

For squirrel and other small game, the best I have ever found is a Henkle kitchen knife, the 2.75 inch kitchen trimming knife. my leather guy made me a little sheath for it, and let me tell you, this fellow will WORK. Forged high carbon stainless, holds a razor edge, and is shaped just right for dressing rabbits and squirrel.

another great skinner is the old Clauss 4.75 curved blade, sharp along the first two inches of the upper side too. Leather washer hilt, aluminum pommel, serrated along the top edge forward of the hilt......... what a fine knife. A posthoumous gift from my hunting mentor, Rev. Lee, of Jacksonville Fl. I have used this knife for over 40 years now.

November 16, 2002, 05:22 PM
The cheapest 'best" knife out there is a Cold Steel "Bushman". Love it. In fact, I just ordered one! (can't beat that $13 price!)

Of course my "hunting knife" is a Cold Steel Tanto.

November 16, 2002, 08:23 PM
Camillus Cuttlery Knife they make some damn nice knives. Plus I favor them cause I live about 5 miles from there factory. But they are a very high quality knife take a look at there selection.


November 17, 2002, 03:18 AM
Dr.Rob, what is the story on the CS Bushmans? I've come close to buying one dozens of times just because they're Cold Steel and so darn cheap, but--and this sounds weird--the low price has always scared me off. Are they really any good??

November 20, 2002, 08:49 PM
Although many of us get really into knives, lots of different ones will do a fine job including relatively cheap ones in the $20 range such as a Sharpfinger (I have one of those and a Dozier too somewhere). Here are a few that would work. Don't know if I'd recommend the Colt, but others would work well for field dressing a deer.

3 to 5 inch blade, comfortable handle, fairly sturdy construction (1/4" thick knives are not necessary or even good for this, but not Pakistan made ones with glued on handle either).

A lot of folders are now sturdy enough I wouldn't hesitate to use them if you want a more versatile, working/carrying knife (harder to clean, but still good).

November 21, 2002, 10:20 PM
Aren't tantos for Ninjas? What gives? You're not serious about using that as a hunting knife.

I have a Buck Lite 422 from the late 1980s. It was one of the first plastic handled knives on the market. It has done the job on at least a dozen deer. The four-inch blade holds an edge very well.

This knife has also seen double duty at Boy Scout camp when I was younger and into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota and the Quetico Provincial Park in Canada during summer adventures.

A three- to four-inch blade is all you need for field dressing a deer. However, I do cheat and split the pelvis with a tiny hatchet to remove the bowels. Splitting the chest is not necessary, nor is slashing the throat. You just have to reach up into the neck on the inside and get the windpipe, which rots very quickly.

For butchering, however, a bone saw is needed as well as a few packinghouse knives. These are easy to find here in Sioux City.

My father-in-law worked as a meatcutter when he was younger. You should see him go to work on a deer with a knife. My father taught biology; every field dressing session turned into an anatomy lesson. He actually brought hearts and other parts into his classroom before the PC days. He's happily retired now.

November 22, 2002, 04:04 PM
Yes I'm serious. That knife has dressed numerous antelope, elk and deer. In fact, that knife has quartered a elk all by its lonesome. It's SHARP. When I bought it I didn't know what a "tanto" was, just that it was an unusual and very sharp knife. I've used it for over 15 years as my hunting knife.

As for the Bushman, it's a carbon steel knife, so it needs oiling and should not be stored in the sheath. The blade is thinner than I thought, but its still robust. Its a BIG knife btw. Mine had a slight rub off of the parkerization near the point, but that didn't bother me. Not for $13 it didn't.

I also carry a small bone saw with me, and a swiss army knife. In fact, most field dressing of an antelope can be done with a swiss army knife, its the skinning that takes a while. An inexpensive "wyoming knife" is really a gee-whiz invention, once you get the hang of using it.

November 22, 2002, 09:46 PM
might also want to consider this knife


its a Gerber fixed blade Gator. for $34 from walmart, its probably a good deal...

ive had the folder Gerber Gator's before, and while they are no custom knife, the are good for the $$.

November 23, 2002, 09:00 PM
Forgot to post the pic. :rolleyes:

Anyway this is a Cold Steel Bushman, right out of the box.

Gila Jorge
November 24, 2002, 06:22 PM
For hunting knives I use a Ralph Bone; a 40s vintage Marbles; and a Benchmade Tactical with half serrated blackend blade (comes in 3 sizes; the med size I carry everyday and the large goes hunting and one also kept in my truck glove box.)

November 25, 2002, 11:49 PM
I'm on my second year of using Gerber Gators (I also always have an old Gerber folding hunter with me) and in between rotating with two of them, they have skinned, quartered and boned three caribou without a hitch.

November 26, 2002, 11:23 AM
I'm partial to the Schrade drop point with gut hook. It sharpens easily but has to be re-touched cleaning a deer. I've a nearly identical Puma that works equally well and holds an edge better...but also cost 3X what the Schrade did. Either way, having to re-sharpen a knife while cleaning a deer is a good thing. There's gonna be venison in the freezer!

November 29, 2002, 11:40 PM
I own three different KA-BAR's. One is a 3" folding pocket knife and the other two are fixed blade fighting knives. One is a USMC version, and the other is a slightly longer (8 inches or so) second generation knife. I took the folder and the long fixed blade hunting with me. We field dressed two deer with them. The fixed blade went right through the ribs and had no problem with the pelvis. The folder did everything else. These knives come very sharp out of the box and will hold that edge.


Lone Star
December 1, 2002, 08:46 AM
You may want to hop over to www.knifeforums.com and read similar posts there, or ask your question in their Survival Forum.

My response is the Fallkniven S1 or F1, the latter being a Loveless style drop-point, but a heck of a lot stouter than most. It's standard issue to Swedish Air Force pilots. Go to Border's, Barnes& Noble, etc. (big bookstores) and look where they shelve the gun books (not the magazines). Look for, "Sporting Knives 2003" near, "Gun Digest", etc. from the same publisher. Read the story, "You'll Never Forget the Feel of a Fallkniven". That will familarize you with the line. Some new ones have leather handles.

Their own site is: www.fallkniven.com Click on, "English" unless you read Swedish. Colorful and informative.

Having said that, I respect Buck a lot, and even their survival Bowie, the No. 120 General, isn't too expensive if you shop around. Hollywood uses it in a lot of movies, like (as I recall) the "Scream" series.

I take it that custom knives are more costly than you have in mind...

Lone Star

December 1, 2002, 10:28 AM
Look into the Benchmade Nimravus, Nimravus Cub, or OutBounder. My .02 cents worth.