The sheer number of options when it comes to hunting knives can seem overwhelming. There are so many brands, designs, and price points that you might think you’re going to spend the next year searching for the best knife. That doesn’t have to be the case.
Hunting knives need to be able to handle a variety of tasks. Generally, you need a hunting knife that can take care of at least skinning and boning. A hunting knife should have a single sharp edge and a sturdy blade. While many people will recommend fixed blades (I also do 90 percent of the time), there are quality folding hunting knives available.
Lastly, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a hunting knife. They’re tools. More expensive ones may work better, but there are also knives priced from around $40 to under $200 that will do an excellent job. Here are five knives that come highly recommended.
1. Gerber Gator Fixed Blade Knife
As soon as Gerber went all-in on the Bear Grylls stuff, I kind of stopped paying attention to the brand. That doesn’t mean the company doesn’t make fantastic knives. Case in point is the Gerber Gator Fixed Blade Knife. It’s a simple drop-point blade perfect for a variety of hunting applications.
The patented Gator Grip handle gives you tons of confidence even if your hands are sweaty or wet, and the sturdy 420 HC stainless steel blade measures 4.02-inches in length and should hold up to anything you can throw at it. As a bonus, the Gator Fixed Blade isn’t too expensive either (under $40).
2. Helle GT Knife
In case you haven’t heard Helle makes some hella-good knives. The Helle GT Knife is no exception. It’s not the most expensive offering from the company (around $150), but it’s not the cheapest either.
It’s sturdy, handsome, and has a simple, drop-point design that makes it good for just about any hunting application. The small guard on this relatively large knife gives you a little bit more confidence during use, and the 4.85-inch-long blade has a thickness of .125 inches, making it a truly hearty knife.
3. Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinning Knife
The Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinning Knife is a simple, attractive, and durable knife that is large enough and tough enough for almost any job. The premium CPM-S30V stainless steel blade and Dymondwood handle are designed specifically for hunting purposes.
The blade is 4.17-inches long, giving you plenty of length to skin a deer or other large game. The sturdy blade that measures .140-inches thick is plenty stiff enough to handle tough jobs. While it’s one of the more expensive knives on this list (about $140), the Benchmade blade is well worth its price tag.
4. Buck 110 Folding Knife
Some people will shake their heads at the Buck 110 saying never to use a folding knife or that the 110 isn’t tough enough or long enough. Still, I like this classic knife, and it can get most jobs done. The design has been around since the 1960s, and it’s not like animals have suddenly gotten more difficult to field dress or skin since then.
It’s 3.75-inch blade locks in place. It’s easy to open, easy to close, and small enough to easily carry all the time. If you want a hunting knife that you’re going to use for more than just hunting, and you want something that’s super affordable (under $40) and iconic, the Buck 110 is the way to go.
5. Buck 119 Special Fixed Blade Knife
If you want a Buck knife with a fixed blade, the 119 Special Fixed Blade Knife is an excellent choice. It’s a classic. Its basic design hasn’t changed much from when Hoyt Buck started making knives by hand in 1942.
It’s a beefy knife with a clip point blade that measures .175-inches thick. It has a 6-inch blade and an ergonomically designed handle with a guard that gives you confidence while you use it. Some people prefer a more modern design for their hunting knife, but if you want a knife with a design that’s been tested and trusted for years, the 119 Special is it. It’s not expensive either (under $65).
When looking for a good hunting knife, just remember, the price isn’t the most important factor. You want something that’s well-suited for your needs, built by a reputable company with a history of high quality, and designed specifically for hunting needs.
Have a favorite hunting knife that’s not on this list? Leave a comment below about it.