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Best Hunting Knives 

So, you just shot a big ol’ moose. Great shot, by the way. You walk the 900 yards (give or take a little) from your stand to your trophy bull, you take a picture, you smile, the endorphins wear off, and now what? It sounds like you need a knife. 

Whether you treat hunting like an art, a science, or a sport, you know how much preparation goes into your gear. You learn in Hunter’s Safety that you always need to be prepared for your hunt with the right equipment, but often your knife takes a back seat to your weapon when it comes to preparation. Most hunters will tell you all about their 14 oz. trigger pull or their 29.125” draw length and never mention their knife at all. Your love affair with your weapon is okay, but investing in a good hunting knife will drastically improve your hunting experience. It can make takedown easier and faster, protect your trophy, preserve your meat, and help you get off the mountain before any bears show up. 

Here we’ll help you find the perfect knife for your next hunt and every hunt thereafter! 

1. Best Budget Folding Knife for Hunting 

Ka-Bar Becker Mini Folder 

The Becker Mini Folder somehow manages to offer an incredible list of features for its bargain-basement price. It uses quality blade steel with stupendous edge retention, a lightweight handle, a sturdy lock, ambidextrous openers, and more to offer an excellent all-around hunting knife. 

  • 2.61 oz. 
  • Glass-Filled Nylon handle 
  • D2 blade steel 

2. Best High-End Folding Knife for Hunting 

Benchmade Taggedout 

Providing the absolute maximum level of performance at the absolute minimum weight, the Taggedout is one of the best all-around folding hunting knives out there. It has thoughtful texturing on its handle, a slicey belly, and features Benchmade’s SelectEdge, which provides a thinner edge for easier, almost effortless cutting performance. 

  • Orange Grivory handle 
  • CPM 154 blade steel 
  • AXIS Lock mechanism 

3. Best Budget Fixed Blade for Hunting 

Cold Steel Pendleton Mini Hunter 

There are some hunting jobs that require a larger blade to complete, but most can be done with only a small blade. With that fact in mind, master knifemaker Lloyd Pendleton designed the Mini Hunter to get all those tasks done without weighing you down. It’s small, light, grippy, and sharp enough to let you focus on the hunt instead of your knife! 

  • Grippy Kray-Ex handle scales 
  • AUS-10A blade steel 
  • Secure-Ex sheath 

4. Best High-End Fixed Blade for Hunting 

ESEE Ashley Game Knife 

With its new-and-improved blade steel and ergonomic handle, you can tackle just about any hunting season with the ESEE AGK and never have to worry about it. Its premium blade steel will hold its edge until you’re tagged out, and its micarta handle only gets grippier when wet. Best of all, it’s backed by ESEE’s industry-leading warranty: If it fails you in any way, ESEE will replace it. Period. No questions, no proof of purchase, no fuss. 

  • CPM S35VN blade steel 
  • Micarta handle 
  • Kydex belt sheath 

5. Best Budget Large Hunting Knife 

Buck 119 Special

Back in 1902, Hoyt Buck started making hunting knives out of old files, and hunters fell in love. Over a century later, that same knife, now made from 420HC stainless steel, is still winning the hearts of hunters. It’s big enough to tackle any size game, yet still packable enough to make for an enjoyable hunt. 

  • 7.50 oz. 
  • 420HC blade 
  • Phenolic resin handle 

6. Best High-End Large Hunting Knife 

Benchmade Meatcrafter 

Many hunters have lamented the unfortunate reality of field dressing. In a kitchen, you can be as neat and ornate as you want, but when hunting, it’s a little less refined. If you have lamented like this, sigh no more. The Meatcrafter is just as much kitchen knife as it is hunting knife, allowing you to process meat fast and easy, all while maintaining that beautiful crown roast. Be careful, though. It might just bench your chef’s knife too! 

  • CPM 154 blade steel 
  • Orange Santoprene handle 
  • Black and orange boltaron sheath 

7. Best Caping Knife 

White River M1 Backpacker 

If you’ve spent the last year preparing for your hunt and you finally have that turdy-point-buck down, that trophy isn’t going to mount itself. Caping is the special skinning and preparation that prepares a trophy for the taxidermist, and you want just the right knife for it. The White River M1 is everything you need – thin enough to make precise cuts inside an animal, light enough to carry, and hair-splitting sharp to make the job easy. 

  • CPM S35VN blade steel 
  • Textured G-10 handle scales 
  • Minimal Kydex sheath 

8. Best Boning Knife 

Buck 110 

The Buck 110 is the physical manifestation of the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Since its release in 1964, the 110 Folding Hunter has been insanely popular and has likely processed more deer than any other knife. It’s a fairly large folder, but its blade is narrow enough to get meat off of bones without turning it into hamburger. 

  • 7.50 oz. 
  • Leather belt sheath 
  • Ebony handle with brass bolsters

9. Best Skinning Knife 

Gerber Vital

When skinning, the sharper your edge, the cleaner the job will be. To guarantee yourself a sharp edge, try out the Gerber Vital with its replaceable blade. Instead of sharpening your blade during the hunt, just snap out the old blade, put a new one in, and you’ll have laser-like sharpness in a matter of seconds. Gerber gave the Vital an extra grippy handle too, so you won’t ever cut yourself. 

  • Replaceable blade 
  • Lockback mechanism 
  • Rubberized handle 

10. Best Hunting Knife Set 

Gerber Downwind Series 

If you’re feeling primitive, minimalistic, simplified, or whatever you call it, you can break down an animal with just one knife. But a set of knives can make the job a whole lot easier. The Gerber Downwind series offers a caper for precise cuts, a drop point for general use, and an Ulu for skinning–and you can have all three for under $100! Save yourself the trouble and bring multiple knives. You’ll thank me later! 

  • Stainless steel blades 
  • G-10 handles 
  • Waxed canvas sheaths 

Get out there! 

If you invest in a quality hunting knife, you’ll worry a lot less about your hunt. You can focus on the location, your weapon of choice, your tracking skills, and communing with nature. Your knife will be a quiet companion that’s there the second you need it, and it will make the entire hunt more enjoyable. You can bet your hunt on any of the knives on this list, or check out our vast catalog of hunting knives to continue your search! Just pick one soon, the season’s coming up and you’ve got bigger fish to fry!