If you’ve ever hunted deer, then you will know the importance of a great deer hunting knife. That’s why no ordinary knife will do – you need to have the confidence that you have the best deer hunting knife before you venture into the outdoors.
A great deer hunting knife is your sidekick – just like Robin is to Batman. It’s that important!
Once again the choices are between fixed blade knives and folding blades and most of the knives that will be covered in detail below might overlap with my list of the best hunting knives.
The major work that a good deer hunting blade does is mainly gutting and slicing. It should help you remove the meat from the bones cleanly without tearing any of the ligaments. Below are 10 of the best deer hunting knives for the money
1) Buck Knives 0691BKG Buck Zipper Fixed Blade Knife
If you’ve been a regular hunting or tactical knife user, then you would surely come across the Buck Zipper in some conversation or the other. This one is a 4-1/8″ Drop Point blade is made from 420 HC steel and features a unique gut hook at the tip of the full bellied blade.
This gut hook makes skinning game so easy that you’ll wonder why you never carried this before on your deer hunting or hog hunting expeditions. All you need to do is insert the hook past the hide and then pull down resulting in a seamless cut that in no way damages the tendons.
I’ve used this on a lot of deer hunting trips and it definitely is my #1 choice for the best deer hunting knife title. The edge has been retained all this while and although on a slightly heavier side (6.6 oz), it is still pretty easy to manage.
When it comes to deer hunting knives, you need to be sure yours has a great grip. The Buck Zipper 0691 scores full marks on that front thanks to the texture drubber handle that is equipped with a brass butt. This Made in USA knife is also covered by the Buck Forever Lifetime Warranty so that’s definitely another plus.
My only issue remains with the Nylon sheath which could have been better (there is no in built sharpener) but it actually suited for a folding blade knife and not a fixed one. Otherwise, this is my go to knife in the below $100 price range.
2. Benchmade Knife 15008-ORG Steep Country Hunter
#2 on my list of the best deer hunting knife is the Benchmade Knife 15008-ORG Steep Country Hunter. Another great sub $100 deer hunting blade, this drop point 3.5 inch blade is made of S30V Premium Steel and has an overall length of 7.65 inches.
It has a rockwell hardness of HRC 58-60 and a thickness of just under 0.15 inches and comes fitted with a Kydex sheath. Again, I was a little disappointed with the sheath but in terms of performance, the knife has really stood up to all the tasks that I carried out including skinning and gutting. Big game hunters will specially love its handling and the slight jimping on the spine that allows for excellent control during animal processing.
The handle is made from a material called Santoprene that looks like plastic from the inside but is extremely grippy even under wet conditions and I found this out through first hand experience. This hunting blade comes out extremely sharp out of the box and you really need to watch your fingertip while unpacking it for the first time. I haven’t felt the need to sharpen it a lot but whenever I do, my Spyderco Sharpmaker is good enough for this knife.
I’ve also used this on a lot of trout and this knife is a blessing when you need to dress the fish. The slitting from vent to gills won’t be any trouble at all thanks to this great hunting blade and the handle will stay non slippery despite all the fish slime.
My recommendation is to definitely go ahead with this one!
3. Puma Skinner Stag Handle Blade Hunting Knife
The 4.7 inch Puma Skinner is another great hunting knife that has to be in the consideration set of anyone looking to buy a great hunting tool. The total length of the knife is 9. 4 inches and hardness coefficient lies between 55-57 on the HRC range.
This was one of the first knives I used that came with a 440A German steel blade and stag handles which added to the overall class of the knife. It also has brass finger guards and brass lined lanyard holes which are a blessing to anyone who spends some time in the outdoors. This one has a better leather sheath than the 2 knives I’ve reviewed above and it’s a good choice for the price conscious as well costing just under $70.
An interesting fact about this knife is that the original Puma knives were made in a city called Solingen in German and Solingen also happens to be known as the “city of blades”. In fact, it is also a major cutlery production region.
As the name suggests, the Puma skinner hunting knife is primarily meant for skinning game and in particular, deer. The knife handle features serrations that make it easier for you to control the knife. It’s also not very heavy at just under 5.6 ounces and a mid sized person will find the weight to his/her liking. Being German, the quality is top notch and even after repeated use, my knife hasn’t shown any signs of rusting or its edge being lost.
End verdict is that this is a must have knife especially for those who do a lot of skinning work as opposed to generic outdoor tasks.
4. Buck Knives 113 Ranger Skinner Hunting Knife
3rd up on my list of the best deer hunting knife is an old favourite of mine – the Buck 113 Ranger! This 3.125 inch long knife features a drop point blade and is made from 420 HC steel that offers an excellent retention overall. The length of the handle is 4.125 inches and weighs in at just under 5.2 oz.
The handle is made from American walnut wood and gives this deer hunting knife a royal look. There is also a brass bolster to match the style and the handle includes a small lanyard hole for all those that like their knives to have one. Another advantage is that this is a Made in USA knife and comes with the Buck Forever warranty so that’s definitely a plus.
It’s a full tang knife, of course, and comes with a leather sheath which is really top quality and one of the best sheaths I’ve ever seen. If you’ve used the old Buck 110 folding knives, then this will surely remind you of that in terms of looks but the performance is far better mainly because it’s a fixed blade knife.
It’s a small knife that will set you back by $50 or so and technically is not suited for major jumping tasks but apart from that, it functions beautifully. The blade has a fine edge and comes razor sharp out of the box so one needs to be a little careful. I’ve used this to skin deer, clean squirrel and rabbit and the balance is just perfect for a knife this size.
Because the blade is made from 420 HC steel and contains manganese, it is pretty tough but because the chromium content is on the lower side, it is not highly corrosion resistant so that’s a factor you’ll need to keep in mind. All in all, it’s highly recommended hunting tool and for the price it retails at, the deal is pretty darn good.
5. Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite RL 10 Folding Hunting Knife
Ok, so this is going to be one of the few times I recommend a folding knife and especially for deer hunting purposes. However, the truth is that the Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite RL 10 is definitely worthy of taking a spot on this list.
It actually comes with 6 blades and features a push button replacement blade system with the blade length being around 3.5 inches while the overall length of the knife is 8 inches. The blade is made from 420J2 stainless steel while the handle is made from Rubberized TPR which actually proves to be quite helpful in maintaining a strong grip during wet conditions.
I once had the chance to hunt game in Alaska and I used this very knife to skin moose and even with that tough hide, this knife performed admirably well. Also, just because it comes with 6 blades doesn’t mean you will need to keep replacing them – the blades actually retain their edge extremely well and are very sharp.
Obviously it’s not going to compare with a $100 plus knife but for a $30 price tag, this one is sure value for money. If you plan to dress a lot of game like deer and hog, this knife is perfect for you.
6. Buck Ergohunter Pro Knife
Well, I’m pretty sure, by now you would have figured that Buck knives are among my favourites when it comes to deer hunting because the Buck Ergohunter Pro Knife is the 3rd one to make it to this list of the Top 10 Deer Hunting Knives.
It’s a full tang knife made from S30V steel that offers excellent corrosion resistance and has one of the best edge retention abilities that I’ve ever seen. The very first thing that you’ll notice about this 4.75 inch skinning blade is the Alcryn rubber handle with checkered Rosewood Dyamondwood inserts. This really helps in providing a strong grip under wet and grimy conditions.
If you are a frequent user of the pics grip, which is most commonly used for game processing, then this bade will really suit your needs. There is also stippling near the base of the blade and this makes for an excellent match striker.
It also comes with the Buck Forever Warranty, though I highly doubt you’ll ever need to use it because the craftsmanship is top notch. There is also a nice swedge on top of the blade and a wide belly that is a boon when it comes to skinning and cutting. You also get a pretty decent leather sheath along with the knife and a gut hook that easily slips into the front of the sheath.
Priced at just over $100, this one is a must buy hunting knife for everyone who is fond of Made in USA knives.
7. Havalon Piranta Z Folding Blade Skinning Knife
This is the 2nd folding deer hunting blade that I’m featuring on this list and this one is especially for those price conscious folks who love a great value for money knife. With an overall length of 7.125 inches, this one features a zytelblack military plastic handle and is razor sharp out of the box.
There are 12 replaceable 60XT blades that are meant for skinning and game dressing. It comes fitted with thumb studs that allow for fast one handed blade opening and a liner lock for safety. There is also a lanyard hole in the handle.
I’ve used this skinning countless deer and other small game and other fellow hunters have also complimented this knife on its ability to quarter game so easily. The fine curved tip allows the blade to easily separate the layers of hide or fat and you’ll have a lot more control over the strokes.
All in all, you can’t ask for a better knife in the sub $50 range and once you make your first incision with these blades, there won’t be any turning back.
8. RUKO 3-1/8-Inch Blade Gut Hook Skinning Knife
We’re nearing the end of this list featuring the 10 best deer hunting knives and making its way in at #8 is another favourite of mine – the Ruko Gut Hook Knife. This is definitely one of the best skinning knives I’ve ever used and the unique deer craft handle is a true work of art. The 440A stainless steel blade is razor sharp and the deer crown handle comes with a solid brass guard and pommel.
The leather sheath that accompanies the knife is also made from genuine leather and the knife has an overall length of 8 inches. This one is handcrafted and made in Spain an the gut hook is great for skinning a large deer at one go.
The leather sheath has a button snap closure mechanism that ensures the knife doesn’t fall off while you’re running or performing some other adventurous task. Just like Buck knives, this one, too, comes with a lifetime warranty and should be top of your shopping list when it comes to the best skinning knife.
9. Outdoor Edge Swingblade SB-10N Rotating Blade Skinning/Gutting Knife
Oh this one is a beauty of a deer hunting knife that I’ve used on a number of occasions. It features 2 blades in 1 and is sort of a hybrid between a folding and a fixed blade knife. The AUS 8 stainless steel blade is extremely sharp and is subzero temperature quenched for better edge retention.
The Outdoor Edge Skinning blade is 3.6 inches long while the gutting blade is 3.2 inches long. The overall length of the knife is 8.3 inches and the hardness is 57-58 HRC on the Rockwell scale. I’ve used this knife countless times while hunting mule deer and elk and it’s been a pleasure to field dress and cape out the deer. The gut hook knife, in particular, works amazing well and you’ll be able to open and any small animal with considerable ease.
You need to be a little careful while swinging the blade since it’s razor sharp. There’s a small button on the handle and a simple push of that will transform the knife from a gutting tool to a skinning tool.
At a price point of under $50, this will appeal to most huntsman and outdoor enthusiasts. Go for it and you won’t be disappointed.
10. Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife
Finally, completing and making it way in at #10 on this list of the best deer hunting knife is the Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife. This is one of the best outdoor knives in the market right now made from Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel with an overall length of 8.6 inches. The blade length is roughly around 4.1 inches while the thickness is just 0.1 inches.
It’s available in 6 different colours such as black, military green, magenta etc and there’s a matching coloured sheath to go along with it. This Swedish knife has great edge retention performance and is corrosion resistant. I’ve used it for a variety of tasks such as carving tinder for fire or cutting wood or prepping food or carving for survival situations.
It’s not a $100 knife so please don’t expect an out of this world knife that will blow everything away. But at a price point of just $14, it’s a good entry level hunting knife for people to carry in the outdoors. I usually carry this along with my other knives which I mainly using for purposes like batoning, chopping etc. This one is mainly use for skinning small game and for bushcraft.
The grip is great and even with wet hands, this one won’t slip out easily. There’s also a carbon steel version of this knife but I suggest you go with this one. You can check out the detailed video review below and that will help you make a better buying decision
More Deer Hunting Knives?
The above list should solve your problem when it comes to choosing the best deer hunting knife. However, I do understand that newer and newer models are always coming out in the market and I’ll try my best to keep this post updated to reflect those changes.
In the meanwhile, if you have a great deer hunting knife that you’d like me to review, please drop me a note via the Contact Me page