Hunting knives are used to process and prepare game as food. Most are 3.5 inches to 4.5 inches long and are designed to efficiently skin and cut up game meat. There are different types of hunting knives, but good hunting knife brands are a cut above the usual in delivering quality that exceeds anybody’s expectations.
- 1 Kinds of Hunting Knives
- 2 Hunting Knife Features and Variations
- 3 The Top 12 Hunting Knife Brands in the US
- 4 Game On!
Kinds of Hunting Knives
Kinds of hunting knives vary in shape, size, material, and purpose.
- Camp Knife – The quintessential hunting knife, it has all the important attributes of every hunting knife in modest amounts. The camp knife is a multi-purpose knife that can do most tasks of specialized types of hunting knives. They come in the usual drop point blade design and can do both hunting and campsite tasks with relative ease.
- Bowie Knife – These huge hunting knives are hunting tools as much as they are self-defense weapons. Its inventor Jim Bowie describes a good bowie knife to be long enough to be used as a sword, sharp enough to use as a razor, wide enough to be used as a paddle, and heavy enough to be used as a hatchet. The bowie knife can do any task you can encounter on hunting trips but is especially useful in skinning and butchering game.
- Caping Knife – This narrow-bladed knife specializes in processing game for animal trophies. Its features like the thin, small blade and upturned point make it easier to preserve animals’ necks – an essential in processing animals for trophies.
- Skinning Knife – As its name suggests, these smaller knives specialize in removing the skin of game without damaging either the hide or the muscle underneath. Ideally, the shape of the skinning knife blade is short, curved, and are around 3.5 inches to 6 inches long.
- Buck Knife – A generic term used for the style of large folding knife made popular by Buck Knives during the 60s. These buck knives are easy to store and carry and are now a popular all-around tool, utility, and survival knife.
- Boning Knife – A specialist blade that is narrow and flexible and handles removing meat from the bone much easier. Boning knives look like a cross between a fillet knife and a hunting knife. Boning knives also give you an easier time butchering small game.
- Hunting Dagger – This hunting knife’s main purpose is to make the kill itself and not just to process game. Their thick, lengthy blades were originally meant to be able to puncture through to an animal’s heart. These days, hunting daggers stand more as all-purpose tools doing tasks from butchering, skinning, and cutting game.
Hunting Knife Features and Variations
Fixed Vs. Folding
One is not better than the other in terms of performance in the case of folding and fixed blades. Both are good choices and will perform reliably on any hunting trip. Picking which suits you will boil down to personal preference. Their features make for some differences, though; fixed knives are arguably more durable and are easier to clean and maintain while folding knives, with all their moving parts make for more challenging maintenance. Fixed knives are bulkier, heavier, and harder to store and bring along while folding hunt knives are lighter, compact, and fit in just about any small space you can cram them in.
Modern hunting knife brands now offer the presence of the gut hook in their hunting knife models. The gut hook makes dressing game in the field much easier by unzipping the animal’s abdomen with the semi-circular notch on the blade’s spine. Again, choosing a knife with a gut hook is a matter of personal preference and is not a must-have in dressing game in the field.
These are essentially saw-tooth blades on the spine or blade of a hunting knife. Not all hunters prefer this feature, as they claim it makes it more difficult to dress game when out in the field. Serrated edges make for sawing anything that needs sawing easier. Hunting knives with this feature are usually multi-purpose knives that have utility outside of just hunting.
This is an alternative hunting knife handle that is usually made of cloth, denim, or any fabric combined with epoxy or resin. The fabric is folded and shaped to the desired handle shape and hardened with resin or epoxy. Their micarta handles are lightweight, very durable, and quite good-looking – the main reason why we would recommend buying a micarta-handled hunting knife. Micarta handles can be made of other materials like paper.
The Top 12 Hunting Knife Brands in the US
The following is a list of the best hunting knife brands in the US:
1. Benchmade Knives
This Oregon-based knife company makes every utility knife from all-purpose work knives, kitchen knives, military knives, to high-quality hunting knives. The Benchmade name expresses how the company’s knives are made with handmade quality and factory-made precision.
Benchmade lives by the motto, “Yours for Life” – a promise and principle the company lives by that they make a reality in every high-quality blade you buy from them.
2. Buck Knives
Established in 1902, Buck has specialized in outdoor utility and hunting for more than a century now. Buck has made the folding hunting knife a household name that we now call any folding knife a buck knife. They have been the pioneers in the modern hunting knife industry and have set a lot of standards about how the modern hunting knife should be.
The company has a forever warranty for every knife you buy and promises to repair or replace a damaged knife that you ship to them.
3. Gerber Gear Knives
Gerber Gear has a wider selection of tools that transcends knives and blades. Aside from high-grade hunting knives, they also create outdoor tools like hatchets, multi-tools, and cutlery.
Gerber proudly offers a limited lifetime warranty on all their knives for users within North America and offers a 25-year limited warranty for Gerber Gear owners outside North America.
4. ESEE Knives
Established in 1997, ESEE is relatively new but is as good as any top hunting knife brands out there. ESEE boasts of a broad lineup of gear that has applications from outdoor, to military and rescue, hunting, and survival. Several ESEE’s camp knives feature micarta handles and are contenders to being the best-looking hunting knives in the US.
5. Morakniv Knives
Founded in Mora, Sweden, Morakniv Knives have been making knives for over 400 years. Their current lineup of hunting knives is Fire Steel Compatible; a trademark feature that leaves the blade unpolished that makes every Morakniv knife an excellent fire starter – a useful advantage when out on long hunting trips.
6. KA-BAR Knives
KA-BAR specializes in self-defense, military-grade knives, hunting, and survival knives. KA-BAR has been around since 1898 and has since 1942 been the USMC US Navy and US Army’s standard knife issue of choice – a testament to the brand’s quality and superiority. KA-BAR is an international knife brand that has stores that carry their knives wherever you are in the world.
7. Havalon Knives
Havalon is a company that strives to be the unparalleled leader in hunting knives. Their blades are made with reinventing the hunting knife in mind. Havalon has made its mark with innovations such as the Hunter’s Scalpel; a folding hunting knife made of surgical precision steel that makes you perform like a surgeon when dressing game in the field.
8. Spyderco Knives
Established in 1976 in Colorado, Spyderco pioneered the usage and concept of a circular hole to effortlessly open a folding knife with one hand. A feature which their current lineup of hunting and fishing knives all carry. To this day, Spyderco continues to be an innovator and has been a leader in patents, awards, and trademarks in the industry.
9. CKRT Knives
CKRT’s modern aesthetic and design delivers a no-nonsense approach in their hunting gear and knives. CKRT’s hunting knives include only the most efficient designs and are a testament to their confidence in their product. Their big game hoists and precision disposable hunting knife kit are products you will not find in other brands.
10. Cold Steel Knives
Cold Steel Knife and Tool Co. make the coolest looking hunting knives out there with a lineup that will make you look like a samurai Rambo! Tanto pointed knives, push knives and slick bowie knives make you look like you’re going to war!
11. Diamond Blade Knives
Diamond Blade only makes hunting knives and that is a strong statement in itself. Their dedication to making the best hunting knives guarantees unmatched performance in every Diamond Blade knife you buy. Their classic yet innovative designs have garnered the company a few industry awards.
12. Kershaw Knives
Kershaw is “the next level in pocket knives,” as they proudly proclaim, have a whole lineup of razor-sharp hunting knives that will satisfy even the most discerning of hunters.
Look no further if you want unmatched performance in the field. These top hunting knife brands will let you feel the thrill of hunting the way it was always meant to be.