With so many choices in sporting knives today, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer variety of options for useful hunting knives. Navigating the market of hunting knives requires knowledge and a firm understanding of your needs. Stick to these common sense principles and well tested models when you're struggling to break the gridlock and find a knife that's right for you.
The most useful hunting knives are often the ones that fit your needs perfectly. To decide which is best, it's worth scanning over the top designs that excel at fulfilling various sporting needs. Drop point and clip point knives remain extremely popular designs, but specialty knives have a real following, too.
Drop point knives are great for larger game, thanks to their ability to saw through key parts of bone and lift skin off without inflicting damage to the meat. Clip points, on the other hand, are less efficient, but they serve hunters who like to bring their game home very well, when combined with other tools. Look to brands such as Gerber Gator and Case for the best tools in these categories. Case's multi-functional Bonestag Trapper is an excellent compromise in usefulness, when you're unable to decide on either a clip point or drop point.
If you need specialty knives, look for models that are specifically designed for full body skinning or gutting. Small skinning knives are extremely useful for travel and making fine cuts. Mini Tac makes several miniature skinning blades that allow you to make the right cuts without taking up valuable space in your hunting gear pack. Meanwhile, Gerber Gator and Cold Steel Knives manufacture the most useful gut hook hunting knives for fisherman who want to get down to cleaning their catches without any distractions.
Aside from form, knife styles are important to consider. Fixed knives are one option, presenting themselves as blades that are permanently attached to their handles. While some drop point and clip point blades also fit into this category, larger hunting knives made by Bowie and Laredo are at the top of the field. What they sacrifice in mobility, they gain in durability. Fixed knives are useful for their longevity and high end strength.
The alternative rests in folding knives, which may come outfitted with additional tools besides just the blade. In this category, the most useful versions are made by Browning Knives. Their Kodiak FDT model has four different tools for slicing, gutting, and sawing. Hunters who go on diverse adventures and those who enjoy having all of their tools in one easy place will find folding knives the most useful. The only downside is the relative weakness and shorter lifespans of these knives, but this is offset somewhat by their lower prices.
Never go into the field ill equipped. By figuring out your needs and shopping accordingly before hand, you can select knives that will serve you well, removing some of the grunt work from the sport, and increasing your personal enjoyment of it.