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What Is A Gut Hook Knife?  

You can find hooks just about anywhere, like the ones you use to hang up your coat or key and at the end of a fishing line, but why would you put one at the end of a knife? Coming in many shapes and different varieties, gut hook knives are truly one-of-a-kind. What makes them one-of-a-kind is the fact that the blade of a gut hook knife has a tight curve at its end. The inside of that curve or hook is sharp so be careful.

These knives with gut hooks are more than just knives, they are tools. It is hard to know the origin of the gut hook knife, but some say that it first appeared in the mid-20th century when a custom knife maker crafted a hook on the end of his knife to safely remove his pot from the campfire, then later sharpened the hook for processing animals in the field. Many knife manufacturers make gut hook knives, but some big brands that stand out are Gerber and Buck.  

What Are Gut Hook Knives Used For?

There are ways to use the gut hook knife outside of hunting. In the home, you can use them for prying nails out of the wall or boards, much in the same way you can use the back of hammers. With the sharp curved end of this type of knife, it’s good for peeling fruit like oranges. The end of the blade is also helpful in opening bottles. When it comes to outside of the home, you can use it for cutting seatbelts or ropes to thread and fishing line.

Why Hunters Carry Gut Hook Knives

Gut hook knives are exceptional hunting knives and their primary purpose is as skinning knives. Hunters find them especially useful after shooting big game. Every hunter needs a good field dressing knife and hunting knives with a gut hook are the answer. While dressing a deer, minutes matter. Gut hooks make the process of opening the body cavity a breeze, allowing you to make long, straight cuts efficiently. The curved end acts as a zipper to slice into the deer with minimal effort.   

Gut hook knives were made to be in the hands of hunters everywhere. If you are a hunter and you don’t have one just yet, here are a few recommendations:

Case Leather Hunter Gut Hook

Case Leather Hunter Gut Hook fixed blade knife.

This is a mirror finished fixed blade knife that is made from Tru-Sharp surgical steel. This steel has excellent edge retention and is easy to sharpen because of its high carbon content. Its handle is made of a beautiful, stacked leather handle with brass and aluminum accents. It comes with a belt carry brown leather sheath and has a classic and professional look to it.  

Case Lightweight Gut Hook

This fixed blade has a rubber handle built for comfort with deep finger grooves on both ends of it. The handle has a slight guard with a comparatively large pommel which adds to its style and overall comfort in hand. Its blade is also made from Tru-Sharp surgical steel making it overall an excellent knife. Because it is lightweight and has an average overall length, it is easy to carry with you on a hunting trip especially when every ounce counts.   

Camillus SKOL Gut Hook

Camillus SKOL Gut Hook fixed blade knife.

This strong full-tang fixed blade knife is made from 1095 steel making its blade good in toughness, great in hardness with great edge retention. The micarta handle with a G-10 inlay feels strong and reliable and holds a grip in all-weather conditions. This hook is made for multi-purpose use and not just skinning or field dressing. It is partially serrated and is locked in with scalloped jimping on its spine, adding to its intuitive grip.  

Remington Hunting Knife Gut Hook Knife

Remington Hunting Knife Gut Hook fixed blade.

This is a low-cost gut hook knife made from quality materials. The black-finished blade is made from 420 stainless steel which has great toughness and high rust resistance. The handle is made of textured rubber making for a good grip. It comes with a nylon belt sheath. This knife is a smart choice for your hunting knife.

How to Sharpen Gut Hook Knives

There are a few ways that you can sharpen a gut hook knife. It’s easy to sharpen the belly of the knife because you sharpen it like you would any other plain edged knife., but what about the hook part? That’s where it can get a little tricky. Here are a few ways that are proven to get that hook sharp again:

Using the Worksharp Original Knife Sharpener

The Worksharp Original Knife Sharpener is an excellent option for difficult jobs like hooks. With this technique, you sharpen the gut hook with the fine grit abrasive belt and no sharpening guide. Place the curve of the gut hook over the belt on the downhill side and allow the belt to conform to the blade curve. Squeeze the power button for 2-4 seconds for each side of the blade. Only use the downhill right side of the belt or you will cut the belt.  

Using a Sharpening Rod

Moving the rod with the edge down the middle of the hook, remember how many times you do. You need to remember so that you can do the same on the other side.

Using a Rat File

Sharpen the knife how you would with any manual knife sharpener, but then use sandpaper to finish it.  DMT sells an excellent rat tail file for serrated edges and gut hooks that can navigate complex edges with ease.

Using a Chainsaw File

In order to do this, the metallic file should be the same size as the gut hook knife. With a slip stone which should also be the same size as the file, file the gut hook knife then finish it with the slip stone. It is important to do this carefully because the chainsaw file can easily damage your blade.


Gut hook knives are most commonly known as hunting knives, but they are much more than that; they are also multi-use tools. As a hunting knife, you can use it for field dressing. As an EDC, there are endless ways to use it. When your knife becomes duller than you prefer, there are plenty of ways to sharpen it. If you are looking for your next gut hook, Blade HQ is an excellent place to start!