Society at large often looks at hunting as an activity that is gun centric and built around the moment when you fire a weapon at a game animal and kill it. Hunting is built around many things. Butchering and carrying out meat can sometimes take as long as the entire hunt! So, we have gathered together the 6 best hunting knives that are on the market in 2022. We have some incredible brands on our list and a wide-ranging list of prices for hunters on any budget.
Once that animal hits the ground you are going to need to, at least, gut that animal and maybe break down the animal enough so you can pack it out or get it back to your vehicle. You need a high-quality hunting knife that is razor sharp to make that happen.
What Makes a Good Hunting Knife?
The best hunting knives need to have a few features that make them useful for processing games. You need more than just a stainless steel blade. However, a hunting knife could also become something of a camping or outdoor knife if you are staying in the woods or camping out to hunt.
In many ways, you could ask more of your hunting knife than even your favorite bushcraft or survival knife.
The 6 best hunting knives that we have compiled are all great candidates to shoulder the burden of gutting, skinning, and/or breaking down that animal. These knives are all full tang, which means the knife and handle are all one piece of metal. I have also favored drop point knives in this list, too. Some other characteristics of a great hunting knife are:
- Ergonomic Grips
- Stout Blade
- High Carbon Steel
- Fixed Blade (we are not looking for a foldable knife)
- Easy to Sharpen
The 6 Best Hunting Knives
This is a great range of knives and within this list, you should be able to find one that fits you. Any one of these knives would be great to take into the field. Now, look over the 6 best hunting knives.
1. Buck Knives 192 Vanguard
It’s in the name, right? Buck knives have long been an American standard in knife making. They are designed to be put to the test in the field. The 192 Vanguard is no departure from that high-quality standard. Buck has to find a place in our list of the 6 best hunting knives.
This is a full tang blade that is made of 420 high carbon steel. This blade is made with safety in mind and features a steel guard so that you can field dress a big animal and not have to worry about your hand slipping off the handle.
Speaking of the handle you have a couple of options. There is a beautiful dark finished heritage walnut handle option or a contoured rubber textured handle. The rubber handle might give you a better grip when things get slick with blood. However, that walnut and gold accents looks so nice!
The Vanguard also comes with an incredible leather sheath designed to slip right onto your belt. This will assure the knife is at arm’s reach at all times. The quality sheath should be a non-negotiable in your search for the best knife for hunting.
- Made in America
- Great Sheath
- Blade Guard
- Smooth Handle Could be Slick
2. Buck Knives 657 Pursuit
The 657 Pursuit is an incredible tool. This knife is superior in so many ways from the makeup of the blade to the tough and grippy handle. The compact design is also a great feature. It is just enough knife to be effective without carrying a brick on your hip.
The could be number the top pick of the 6 best hunting knives.
The blade is made from Buck’s high-quality 420 high carbon steel. It features a 4 1/2 inch gut hook blade that is perfect for dressing game after you make the kill. The glass-filled nylon/versaflex handle is perfect for using the knife in all conditions.
The 657 Pursuit comes with a tough polyester sheath that attaches to your belt and buttons the knife in place for an added level of security. When you reach for this knife it is going to be there and it is going to get the job done for you.
- Gut Hook Blade
- Incredible Handle
- Compact Design
- Short Blade for Some
3. ESEE PR4
ESEE makes some of the best knives for the woodsman on the market today. This is a knife that has been tested extensively in the wilderness on a number of different adventures and hiking trips. Patrick Rollins took this knife to hell and back to assure that it was the best knife that it could be.
This knife, while more of a bushcraft style knife in shape, deserves a spot on the list of the 6 best hunting knives. It is a 4 inch blade that is full tang and made from 1095 high carbon steel. The sculpted micarta handles are at the same time beautiful and effective as a grip.
This hunting and bushcrafting knife also comes with a durable leather sheath. At 6.3 ounces and under 9 inches in total length, the PR4 is a compact knife that is easy to carry. I like a knife that is big enough to get the job done but not so big that I notice it all day.
- High Carbon Steel
- Full Tang
- Great Blade Dimensions
- Could use a better point
4. Ontario Outdoor Fish and Game
If you are into the no-frills, value, old-school hunting knives then you are going to love the Ontario Outdoors Fish and Game hunting knife. This is something akin to a pioneers belt knife. When you add something like this to your hunting loadout it takes you back in time a bit.
This knife has an overall length of under 9 inches and the blade itself is 4 inches of high carbon steel. The blade shape is a simple drop point which makes the edge really easy to keep sharp. The simplicity of this knife is only bolstered by the handle. The handle is made of hickory and even has the word OLD HICKORY
This hunting knife is utter simplicity and if you are looking for something like this then this is perfect.
The other important thing about this knife is that it is of massive value. It is the most affordable on our list of the 6 best hunting knives. It is hard to understand how such a nice knife can be profitable at such a low price point.
- Incredible Value
- Old School Look and Feel
- Small Knife Guard
- Thinner Blade
5. Joker Hunting and Hiking Knife
Until I was researching for this article I had never heard of the Joker brand of knives. This full tang knife was designed and created in Spain. It features a blade length that is just over 4 inches. This blade is made of a steel alloy that is called Sandvik 14c28n stainless steel.
The knife itself is beautiful and features Bocote wood handles that add to that look. The grain of the handle is accented and there is a leather cord that is tied through the handle of the knife.
There is the added bonus of the leather sheath that is well stitched and durable. It also features a slot for the included ferrocerium rod. This is the only one of the 6 best hunting knives on this list that has an included fire starter.
The Joker brand makes all kinds of great knives for cutlery and sport. This knife is one of many and it is a great option for the hunter.
- Beautiful Blade Finish
- Small Finger Guard
- Natural Wood Handles
- More Rounded Drop Point
6. Condor Wayfinder
The Wayfinder by Condor is one pretty hunting knife. It is a knife that has enough of a point to really make gutting and skinning an easy task. However, the blade is also wide and stout so it can be used for tasks back at camp, too. If I were hunting or camping I would carry a knife like the Condor Wayfinder because it is built to be a tool for many tasks in the wilderness.
The Condor Wayfair is a nice long hunting knife, which is why it earned a spot on this list of the best hunting knives for survivalists. The overall length is over 10 inches, which is pretty big for this list. The blade itself is over 5 inches in length and that is one of our most important requirements for a high-quality bushcraft knife. So, the Condor hits the criteria for a quality hunting knife and a bushcraft knife.
Made from 1095 high carbon steel. This blade has a natural finish and a Scandi grind to create a durable and razor-sharp edge. This is the kind of blade and edge that you can depend on. The blade steel is 3mm or 0.1 inches thick.
This full tang blade is going to be finished off with some incredible walnut scales. They come together to create a finished handle that is absolutely beautiful. This is a wooden handle that you can easily upkeep with a little boiled linseed oil from time to time.
This entire blade fits down inside a handmade welted leather sheath that is perfect for protecting this incredible knife and keeping it at arm’s length.
- 5 Inch Blade
- Natural Walnut Handle
- Scandi Grind
- Might be big for some
Caring for your Hunting Knife
What lots of people get wrong about high carbon steel knives is that they need to be maintained. These knives are not impervious and they will rust over time. There is also the aspect of maintaining the handle of your hunting knife.
If you commit to one of the 6 best hunting knives then you should also commit to caring for it as best as you can. Here are some easy tips.
- Keep your knife clean
- Do not run it through a dishwasher
- Put it away dry
- Repair it promptly
Knife Oil – Your blade needs to be cleaned and oiled after use. This is how you keep the rust from accumulating on your blade over time. Cleaning your hunting knife is a big deal because you get blood on that knife which is salty and can break down your blade.
Linseed Oil – If you have a wooden handle then you should use boil linseed oil to treat your handle. This is a great oil that will preserve the wood for years to come.
Honing Steel – Having a razor-sharp hunting knife is important. Every knife on our list of the 6 best hunting knives is made from high-quality steel that will hold an edge. Eventually, you will have to sharpen your blades again. A honing steel allows you to get even more out of your sharpened edge by helping to realign it.
Rather than grind a new edge onto your blade, the honing steel can return it to its former glory with a few swipes on each side. These are incredible tools that will preserve your blade even longer. If you have one the 6 best hunting knives then you should take care of it.
Store your knife in its sheath when it is not in use. This will also go a long way in keeping the knife in great shape for a long time.
Wrapping Up the 6 Best Hunting Knives for Survivalists
We have gathered the 6 best hunting knives together in one place for you. There is a lot of variety in this list but each one of these knives would be a great option for you. If you are on a tight budget then I would highly recommend looking at the Ontario Outdoors knife that is so cheap it is basically a sin!
If budget is not a concern then I would recommend The Pursuit by Buck. That is just a beautiful and highly effective tool and has to be close to number one on this list.
Putting meat in the freezer and on the table goes a long way when it comes to prepping and survival. These knives will make that task much easier for you. Take your time and get to know each of our recommendations. They all have some incredible strengths. And if you’re on the hunt for the Best Bushcraft Knife Under $100 or the Best Bushcraft Axe, we have recommendations for those as well!
Buck Knives 192 Vanguard Fixed Blade Knife
- Razor Sharp Blade - Full tang construction with integrated finger guard and a deep choil help make this knife one of the best options for serious hunters and outdoor enthusiasts with a true appreciation of quality. 8-1/2" Overall Length, Weight, 6.3 oz.
- Durable Build - Full tang construction with integrated finger guard and a deep choil help make this knife one of the best options for serious hunters and outdoor enthusiasts with a true appreciation of quality. 8-1/2" Overall Length, Weight, 6.3 oz.
- Ergonomic Grip - Classic Heritage Walnut handle with contoured grip make maneuvering through field dressing a breeze. The polished brass pommel/guard provides a perfect combination of beauty and balance
- Convenient Carry - Includes a genuine high quality protective leather sheath with snap fastener. An integrated belt loop allows you to carry the knife securely and safely on your belt for easy access
- Forever Warranty - Since 1902 Buck Knives has offered a lifetime warranty on our knives because we believe in the integrity of our products. This knife is proudly made in the USA. Includes imported sheath.
Buck Knives 657 Pursuit
- Razor Sharp Blade - 4 1/2" 420HC stainless steel blade has excellent strength , edge retention and is corrosion resistant. The 657 Pursuit Pro features a guthook, making game processing an easier task to complete.
- Durable and Multi Use - Meant to withstand even the toughest conditions and stay sharp for long. Great for hunting, camping, bushcrafting, fishing, hiking, and overlanding
- Ergonomic Grip - Handle features a comfortable, non-slip profile and sturdy, dependable blade. Thumb jimping provides additional control, while the lanyard hole allows for alternate carry options. The nylon handle features a Versaflex rubber overmold for extra grip
- Forever Warranty - Since 1902 Buck Knives has offered a lifetime warranty on our knives because we believe in the integrity of our products. This knife is made in the USA. Includes imported sheath.