Every hunter knows they need at least one trusty knife by their side. The kind you take on the field will greatly impact your trip and how your final catch ends up. They are considered very important utensils; for many, their value extends beyond their usefulness in the field. They are often passed along from one generation to another.

A good quality knife will perform many of your valuable tasks and will last many years if properly taken care of. It is one of the primary reasons why it is important to make sure your purchase of a hunting knife is a wise one.

There are thousands of brands and types of knives for hunting available out there, and the search for the best one can be overwhelming. A few factors will help narrow down your search and get the blade to suit your exact needs.

Type of blade material being used: Quality hunting knives have either stainless steel blades or carbon steel. Both of them come with pros and cons. Carbon steel blades rust quite easily; hence they should be used regularly to prevent rust from forming on the blade, whereas stainless steel knife blades are rust-resistant. This makes stainless steel blades extremely popular with hunters who hunt in areas with rainy conditions. Carbon steel blades tend to be easier to sharpen and remain sharp for a longer period in contrast to stainless steel blades which are more difficult to sharpen.

Folding knives or fixed blades: Hunting knives have these two types of blades, just as the names imply. Folding knives have a pivot point that allows the blade to fold closed into the handle, whereas fixed-blade knives are permanently fixed in an open position. Both of them have pros and cons: Since a fixed blade knife is always open, you have to carry it in a sheath which makes it bulkier than a folding knife with the same blade size. In the case of a folding knife, the blade folds back into the handle, which causes it to hollow the handle.

The choice between these two types of blades is largely practical. For the serious hunter looking to buy a dedicated hunting knife, a fixed blade design is the best choice as they are considered strong and reliable. And for the one who hunts occasionally and will use the hunting knife for other purposes, the flexible blade handle will make a better choice due to its compact size.

Don’t overlook the handle: Hunting knives handles were traditionally made of wood, leather or bone. Though they are very functional and aesthetically pleasing, newer materials like rubber, Zytel, Kraton offer the combination of better grip and durability many hunters want. These handles are easier to hang onto when rain, snow and blood make it wet.
Finger stop: For your safety, buy a hunting knife that has a finger stop or other guard at the junction of the handle and blade that can stop your hand from sliding forward on the blade.

Lastly, the ultimate test of any knife is how it feels in your hand. If the handle is too small, it will cause you to over grip, and too big a handle will make it difficult to control a knife. A hunting knife is useless if it’s uncomfortable to hold onto. If possible, hold a variety of knives until you find one that’s easy to grip and can handle comfortably during extended use.

Choosing the right hunting knife is a personal preference. Still, by incorporating the information given above into your decision-making process, you can be assured that the hunting knife you buy is of good quality.