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Field Guide -Gear

Best Hunting Knives for 2024

Hunting begins far before entering the field in pursuit of the game you're after. It requires practice with your weapon, using HuntWise to scout where you will hunt, planning how and when you'll be able to hunt, understanding your gear, and finally knowing what to do after the hunt is over and you've successfully bagged an animal.

After you've harvested your quarry, you'll need two simple items: your kill tag and a good knife. A hunting knife is a critical piece of gear, and not just any knife will get you by.

Sure, we've all seen someone struggle through gutting a deer with a dull, folding pocketknife. Or, you could opt for the route my buddy's dad took and ask your hunting partner to borrow his knife – although, I think he did that to keep a running joke going more than anything.

Either option isn't the best practice for effectively completing the task at hand. Now, there are several great options for good, fixed-blade hunting knives at a variety of prices. These five are what the HuntWise team considers to be the best hunting knives of 2024. 

A hunter uses a knife to skin a moose, best hunting knives concept.

What to Consider When Choosing a Hunting Knife

For a hunting knife to be as good as it can be, a hunter must consider qualities beyond its sharpness. So, when I'm shopping for a hunting knife, I like to think about a few factors. 

Sharpness

In Boy Scouts, we were taught that "the only safe knife is a sharp knife." Bearing that in mind, sharpness and the ability to retain that sharpness are the first things I look for in a knife. Not only will this help you make quick work of field dressing the animal and getting it back to the truck, but it will also help ensure your safety while doing so. 

Ergonomics

The ergonomics of the knife are the second most important thing to me. The knife has to feel right when you hold it. The weight of the blade has to be good, and the grip must fit your hand properly. This is helpful not only for the comfort of the work you'll be doing with your knife but also for the safety concern. A knife that doesn't fit your hand properly can quickly become more of a liability than an asset. 

The Blade's Shape

Now comes the blade itself. It's true that any shape will get the job done, but if you wield enough knives near the entrails of big game critters, you'll realize that they're not all created equal when it comes to the shape of the blade. Shape is extremely helpful in the way the knife will be used to access the chest cavity, as well as peel back hide as necessary for the butchery process. 

Price

Finally, and perhaps most controversially, is price.

For too long, I was a member of the "it's just a knife; I don't need to spend that much" crowd. Now, I think a good knife is one of the most essential tools in my hunting bag.

I totally understand that not everyone can splurge on a knife that might gut one or two animals a year, but I truly believe this is an investment worth making. That said, there are respectable options that won't hurt your bank account too badly.


The 5 Best Hunting Knives of 2024

So, which knife should you add to your hunting kit?

To get started, I'd like to introduce you to one of our HuntWise partner companies, Montana Knife Company. MKC, as they're affectionately known, was founded by Josh Smith in the fall of 2020. Josh is something of a savant within the knife-making industry, having become both the youngest Journeyman Bladesmith and Master Smith at the ages of 15 and 19, respectively.

MKC has grown into one of the country's most widely known and respected knife makers. Their knives are all still made in America with the utmost care for quality and consistency. 

Montana Knife Company makes several spectacular blades ranging from small, fixed-blade pocket knives to complete culinary sets. Across their lineup of knives, their commitment to the customer never wavers or varies.

Each of their knives comes with what they refer to as a "Generations" promise. This guarantees that as long as you own an MKC blade, they will restore it to its "original, unmatched working condition . . . free of charge." You simply send them your knife, and they will "clean, sharpen, repair, and even reshape your blade." Basically, Josh Smith and MKC offer a completely free service to maintain the perfect working condition of your knife. 

Of the MKC lineup, I have a couple of favorites that stand out.

 

1. Best Overall Hunting Knife: MCK Nock On – Triumph Hunter XL

MCK Nock On – Triumph Hunter XL, best hunting knives concept.

Taking the best overall spot for this list of the best hunting knives of 2024 is the Nock on Edition Triumph Hunter XL. This is a one-of-a-kind design collaboration between John Dudley and Josh Smith.

The knife is designed with versatility in mind. At only 6.2 ounces, it's light enough to pack for a deep backwoods hunt where weight is a consideration. However, because it's an MKC knife, it's also strong and durable enough to butch a large animal like an elk or moose if you need it to.

This knife has a 5.125-inch blade and an overall length of 9.75 inches, leaving lots of space in the handle for a good grip for the user. This knife is truly the epitome of a do-it-all knife, and at $325, its price is very reasonable – especially when you factor in this a 100% USA-made knife and is backed by MKC's Generations promise. 

 

 

 

2. Best for Skinning Hides: MKC Beartooth – Pro Skinning Blade

MKC Beartooth – Pro Skinning Blade, best hunting knives concept.

Another knife from Montana Knife Company that I love is their Beartooth Pro-Skinning Blade. On our top five knives of 2024, this knife firmly takes the spot for the best skinning knife.

This knife is specifically designed in collaboration with Alaskan Guide Cole Kramer to be used for fleshing hides. With a long, thin, curved blade, this knife is truly designed to excel at one job. This is the knife you break out when the field dressing is done and the animal is hanging up back at the skinning shack or the butcher's area.

The curved design allows the user to take long, sweeping strokes that utilize the entire length of the knife when skinning. The blade, which is as thin as some pocket knives, is lightweight but still strong. This knife is 10.5 inches in overall length with a blade that measures 6.125 inches.

At $350, this knife is a step up in price from the Triumph XL, but not much. The Beartooth Pro is a knife built to withstand professional use and is the best skinning knife on the market. 

Remember:

HuntWise subscribers can save hundreds on hunting gear through our partnership discount programs. So, if you're ready for a new hunting knife this season, consider these Montana Knife Company recommendations and take advantage of your subscriber discount!

 

 

 

3. Benchmade 15600-01 Raghorn Knife

Benchmade 15600-01 Raghorn Knife, using the best hunting knives concept.

Although we're big fans of Montana Knife Company and their entire stable of hunting knives, other knives are well-made and excellent for use in the field.

Benchmade is another well-recognized part of the outdoor community. In particular, as a simple and versatile knife, I like their Raghorn knife. This knife comes with a Kydex sheath for safe storage and is backed by Benchmade's lifetime sharpening guarantee.

This knife is what I would call a jack of all trades and would perhaps be best purchased by someone looking to bridge the gap between hunting and various other outdoor pursuits, like camping.

With a blade only 4 inches long, this isn't the type of knife I'd want to use for western big game or hunts where I'd be breaking down the animal in the field. However, if I've got to quickly gut a deer or process something smaller like a turkey or rabbit, this knife would work well.

At $270, it meets what I'd consider to be an upper-middle price point. If you plan to use this knife for more than hunting, that $270 might be a great value for you. 

 

 

4. Kershaw Deschutes – Skinner, Gut Hook

Kershaw Deschutes – Skinner, Gut Hook, best hunting knives concept. Another respected name in the hunting knife space is Kershaw. They make all kinds of knives, from folding to large bowie knives.

As for their lineup of hunting knives, although they have several, I prefer their Deschutes Skinner with gut hook. At $85, this knife comes down quite a bit in price from the three we've previously discussed, but it's still a tier above the cost of some other hunting knives.

Much like the Benchmade Raghorn, the Kershaw Deschutes Skinner is around 4 inches long. I would use this knife simply for gutting an animal in the field. I'd be grabbing other knives when I got home to complete the job of skinning and butchering the critter, but in the field, this knife would work great for removing the entrails.

This same knife model is offered without a gut hook, but I think the gut hook is nice for ease of use, especially among users who might be less experienced with field-dressing animals. 

 

5. Gerber Exo-Mod Caper

Gerber Exo-Mod Caper, best hunting knives concept.

Finally, we'd like to highlight a truly budget-friendly knife.

As I've already mentioned, spending on a good-quality knife is a worthwhile investment, especially considering the warranties many of these high-quality companies offer. That said, I know that not everyone can afford to consider a hunting knife an investment, so we'd be remiss if we didn't include a knife at a lower price point.

The first knife I was ever given as a kid was a Gerber hunting knife, and since then, Gerber has held a special place in my heart. Their Ex-Mod Caper is a great knife, especially for only $36. This knife is 7.33 inches in overall length and comes with a Kydex sheath for safe storage.

The Ex-Mod Caper won't hold an edge as well as some of the higher-end knives, but it will get sharp and do the job. This knife would be useful for field dressing and caping an animal, but I'd opt for another knife for the actual butchering process.  
 

 


A white tail deer in the field, usingi teh best hunting knives concept.

Use HuntWise and the Best Hunting Knives for Success This Season

Hunting doesn't end when your arrow meets the vitals of an animal. After all, as hunters, we are providers; therefore, the meat we obtain from the animals we hunt is critically important to us.

To efficiently and effectively harvest that meat from the animal, we need to have a good knife. This season, use HuntWise to find your hunting land, mark the best spots to hunt, and choose the best days to head out. It's the best tool to use prior to and during the hunt.

After the hunt, bear in mind the importance of a good knife as you field dress, cape, and butcher your harvest. Download the app and get your first week free on us!

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