When you are planning to invest in a hunting-knife, there are several factors you need to consider. First, you have to think about what kind of hunting you do. Do you go after big game? Are you a "trophy hunter" (meaning you hunt only for the trophy/show aspect) or do you hunt for meat? How large an animal do you plan on using the knife on? How small an animal will you use the knife on? Do you plan to hunt for fur or to retain the animal skin for display?
Each of these answers will determine what kind of hunting-knife you should consider.
Now that you're clearer on what you'll be using the hunting-knife for, it's time to start narrowing down your options to find the right knife for you.
Knives come in basically two styles: fixed or folding. The fixed knife, as it sounds, is a knife that is permanently in the fixed position. These kinds of blades require a sheath in order to be handled and carried safely. The second type of knife, folding, refers to a blade that folds away when not in use. This kind of hunting-knife does not require a sheath and can be transported in your pocket (folded up, of course). It locks closed by a lock and pivot mechanism which keeps the blade in place when not in use. Be careful when folding the knife to close it; sometimes these can rebound and cut your palm or fingertips.
Fixed knives are generally going to be sturdier than folding knives. This is because, on fixed knives, the blade usually runs up into the handle, making the fixed knife stronger. On folding knives, the blade may simply be attached at the handle, creating a tension point for breakage if the knife is used with excessive force.
Once you've decided on the fixed or folding style, your next major decision is around the type of blade. There are three main types of hunting-knife blades: the skinning blade, the clip point, and the drop point blade.
Let's look at each of these in more detail.
The skinning blade is used primarily to remove the skin from big game animals. The skinning blade is at its best when used in a wide sweeping motion to remove flesh from skin. It can save a great deal of time when butchering hunted game. Skinning knives, in general, are able to perform many of the same game cleaning tasks as their cousins, the clip point and drop point blades.
Clip point blades tend to be flatter and more multipurpose than drop point blades. Clip point blades are good for those who hunt only occasionally, or who wish to use the knife for other purposes outside of hunting. Clip point knives will perform the same actions as the drop point, only less efficiently.
Drop point knives are the best for big game hunting. They have a wide, curved blade of thick steel. They, too, can be used to separate flesh from skin, but also can be used to gut and split game; though these tasks may be best handled by a saw or hatchet, especially if you will be doing a lot of game cleaning and gutting.
In general, you want to look for a hard blade (stainless steel for example) and note that serrated blades will cut more deeply and more easily than non-serrated ones. The best choice may be a partially serrated one, so you have more options. Blades which are coated in titanium nitride will be easier to sharpen than blades which are not.
Blade manufacturers rate their blades on the Rockwell C scale, which is a measure of the blade's ideal hardness. A low C scale rating means the blade is too soft, and may flex or bend with use. A very high C scale rating means the blade may be too stiff and will break under heavy pressure or robust twisting. A C scale rating in about the mid-fifties will be ideal for most hunting applications.
Remember, no matter what kind of blade you get, you need to keep it sharp. Consider adding a sharpening tool or whetstone to your hunting equipment supplies.
Finally, the third thing to consider when buying a hunting-knife is the handle. While knife handles have traditionally been made of wood, bone, or leather, some of the newer knives are made of rubber or a composite material. Traditionalists will always favor the "usual" knife handles, the rubber and composite handles are worth examining. They can provide greater grip and better hand traction when the blade gets bloody or wet. This greater grip can mean the difference between a successful hunting trip and one that ends up in the hospital. The rubber or composite grips may also be easier to clean, as they will be less porous than either wood or leather.
Once you have determined whether you need a fixed or folding knife, a skinning blade, drop chip, or clip point blade, and a rubber, bone, or wood handle, your knife buying choice is almost made.
Choosing the right hunting-knife for your purposes will make hunting and game cleaning easier and more efficient, something every hunter can appreciate, also try Basspro.com
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