Every outdoorsman and woman needs a good hunting knife.
Hunting seasons are now in full swing in most parts of the country and many hunters are now finding out an unfortunate truth. Their old hunting knife just isn't cutting it anymore. Literally. If your favorite knife is dull to point that no sharpener on earth can save it, it's time to pick up a new one.
Because the worst time to find out you need a new knife is when you're skinning or gutting an especially large big game animal.
Whether you're planning on field dressing and butchering a large elk or simply preparing small game like rabbits and squirrels for the cook pot, we have a list of high-quality knives that are ready to do the job this fall. Whatever your style, these are some of the best hunting knives on the market. Their sharp blades will make your life easier during the season.
Gerber Randy Newberg DTS Folding Knife
We got the chance to talk with Randy Newberg about this new blade earlier this year and came away thoroughly impressed. This folding knife was designed for hunters who like to cut up their game in the field. The blades are made from 440C steel, which is a durable high carbon steel that will offer excellent corrosion resistance for hunters who often deal with the elements deep in the backcountry. This knife was designed with the gutless method of processing in mind. It comes with a special tendon tool meant to get through that tough tissue in an elk or deer's joints. This knife has an overall length of 8.9 inches and has an orange and reflective design to make it easier to see in the dark. Because you're not always going to have daylight to help you. It's safe to say Newberg knew what he was doing when he partnered with Gerber on this awesome design.
Outdoor Edge Razor Blaze Folding Knife
This knife is an interesting concept over traditional hunting knives in that Outdoor Edge built a replacement blade system. Kind of like you might expect with a box cutter in a factory. It uses a lock button system to remove and insert fresh 3.5-inch blades. The steel used here is 420J, which is considered a lower end steel with lower edge retention over time. However, the replacement blades are dirt cheap. Only about $10 per six replacements. This means you can have a fresh, razor sharp blade for each game animal you harvest. It's a great solution for anyone who doesn't want or have the time to sharpen their blades. They make this knife in orange and black. Personally, I'd recommend the orange. Simply because it's going to be easier to re-locate when you set it down while gutting that big buck or bull in the dark. These knives get high praise from hunters in Sportman's Warehouse and Amazon reviews. Outdoor Edge includes a nice nylon sheath to store the blade when not in use.
Benchmade 15017 Hidden Canyon
If you are looking for a tough fixed blade knife, the Hidden Canyon is a good option. It's expensive, but most of that cost is coming from the supremely tough, high-grade CPM-S30V steel used in the 2.79-inch drop point blade. This steel is going to give a great combination of durability and corrosion resistance. This would be an excellent skinning knife for whitetails and other medium-sized game. This would also be a great knife for rabbits and other small game. This knife features a wood handle for excellent ergonomics. That handle just gives this blade a great look too. The Hidden Canyon also features a lanyard hole and comes with a nice wooden sheath to protect it. Benchmade has a great reputation for quality blades and this one will serve you well for years to come.
Buck Knives 119 Special Fixed Blade
For anyone looking for simplicity and a longer blade length, this clip point blade knife is a good option for anyone wanting a knife that's not going to break the bank. Buck Knives are a storied American knife maker that still builds all their blades here in the United States. And they offer a lifetime warranty on all their blades. The Buck 119 features a six-inch, 420HC steel blade and a black phenolic handle. It's not full tang, but user reviews online praise this blade for its balance, the ease of sharpening, and the plethora of uses beyond hunting. This knife includes a snap fastener leather sheath for ease of carry.
ESSEE-6 Fixed Blade
This one is a good option for anyone looking for something that will make short work of the cleaning process. This fixed blade hunting knife uses 1095 carbon steel, which is great for butchering animals. You do have to be careful about exposing this one to the elements because this steel can rust easily. Oil it often and keep it dry. These may not make for the best survival knives, but for cleaning game and prepping your meals with ease, the ESEE-6 is an excellent choice. The blade is 6.50 inches on this drop point blade. It comes with a polymer sheath and has a 3D contoured G10 handle. ESSEE also offers this blade and handle in a variety of color configurations including a vibrant orange and venom green in case you want to make it easy to spot in the dark. Esee knives are made in the USA for those looking to support American companies.
Spyderco Manix2 G10
For anyone who is looking for a simple folding blade knife that can double as an everyday carry (EDC) and an outdoor knife, the Spyderco is one to consider. The blade is made from S30V steel, making it one of the toughest pocket knives you'll ever carry. This knife gets high marks from users for being lightweight, easy to use, and versatile. The black G-10 handle offers excellent ergonomics. This knife has an overall length of eight inches and closed length of 4.63 inches. The pocket clip makes it easy to carry and access in a pinch.
Havalon Piranta Interchangeable Blade Folding
This may not look like your traditional hunting knife, but appearances can be deceiving. People who have used these knives to gut and skin their harvests rave about how sharp they are. They get high marks for helping dress everything from elk to turkeys quickly and efficiently. This is another interchangeable blade system where you can have a fresh stainless steel blade for every animal you harvest. No more dull blades and no more messing with sharpeners. This knife is available in both orange and black colors. At just $34.99, it's hard to beat that price too. Havalon includes 12 replacement blades standard.
KA-Bar Becker BK2
The KA-Bar is usually sold as a survival knife, but this blade is going to be perfect for almost all hunting applications. If you're heading deep into the backcountry and need a knife that can do it all, this is the one to consider. This is a full tang knife, which will enable you to leverage the blade without fear of it breaking. The construction features an especially hard 1095 Cro Van steel which gives the benefits of durability, edge retention and corrosion resistance. This is a heavy-duty knife for hunters who demand more out of their gear. The knife features a durable nylon sheath for storage when not in use. This knife is also upgradable. KA-Bar sells Micarta handle replacements on their website to make an already well-balanced knife even better.
Benchmade 15004 Saddle Mountain
Another high end knife for serious hunters who taken multiple bag game animals a year. This drop point knife also utilizes CPM-S30V steel that's going to last for years to come. This knife comes with a larger 4.20-inch blade and it has a gut hook to help open the chest cavity more quickly than ever before. This knife features a beautiful wooden handle that makes it a looker. Benchmade includes a nice leather sheath to protect the blade when not in use. At $190, it's not a cheap knife by any means, but it is one you'll be glad you splurged on in the many hunting seasons to come.
Schenk Knives High Country 3.5-inch fixed blade
This is a great option for backcountry hunters who routinely target elk, moose and bear. This knife uses Elmax stainless steel, which has gained an excellent reputation for edge retention. This drop point blade is 3.5 inches long, making it ideal for big game. It has a stonewash and Cerakote finish that will help it stand up to the elements in the backcountry. The G10 handle has a contoured finish and will offer excellent ergonomics when you're cutting up an especially large animal with light failing. These blades are a little more expensive, but that's to be expected with products that are made in the USA.