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arrowflipper's picture
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The Right Size Hunting Knife

When I was a kid, I thought the bigger the knife, the better hunter I'd be or the bigger animal I'd get.  Everyone seemed to have a "BIG" hunting knife.  Six, seven or even eight inch blades were not uncommon. 

As I got older, I started to like a smaller knife a lot more.  I have a nice collection of hunting knives today and most of them are what I would call small.  I have found a three to four inch blade is all that I need.  In fact, I have a couple with blades much shorter than that.  It seems to me to be a lot easier to get up inside the chest cavity and maneuver around without cutting myself.  I know that like guns, knives are a very personal thing.

What are your ideas?  Long knife or short?  And why?

hunter25's picture
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Joined: 11/13/2009
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Like you I prefer something

Like you I prefer something with a 3 to 4 inch drop point blade for the reasons you mentioned. It's a lot easier to keep things under control without the extra blade length. I have a hard enough time to keep from splitting the intestines or cutting one of my fingers off as it is. My dad on the other hand has a Buck Kalinga that he thinks is the greatest knife he has ever owned.

Like you said it all comes down to personal feeling and preference.

groovy mike's picture
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I agree

I a

WesternHunter's picture
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a true hunting knife

Records and artifacts show that for dressing out game, man has always relied on smaller and easier to control cutting tools going back to prehistoric times. Fast forward to modern day and the same principals still hold true.  A true biggame hunting knife used for field-dressing and skinning still really isn't big at all.  I'd say a good sized biggame knife has a clip-point or a drop-point blade of 3 inches to 4 inches in length and a generous upsweep to the forward edge of the blade.  Most of the knives I've used have had 3.5 to 3.75 inch sized blades, but more recently I'm finding that a 3 inch blade is much more comfortable and easier to use for dressing out biggame.  The only exception being a 6 inch bladed fillet knife with a flexible blade used for boning out meat.  A blade of 3.75 inches in length can also be adequitly used to bone out a carcass.  It's been said that one can easily point out the novice hunter in any group - they're the one with the oversized knife on their belt. Big smile

Ah I still recall the line in the movie First Blood (1982) when Rambo claims he was carrying his large survival knife for hunting to which one of the deputy's in the police station jokingly replies - What do you hunt, elephants? Somehow almost overnight the general non-hunting populus along with the armchair survivalists got it in their misguided heads that hunting knives were supposed to be large intimidating knives.  They totally missed the true meaning of that comment in the movie's scrip. It was meant to be a subtle way of the deputy telling Rambo that he was giving a poor excuse for carrying such a large non-hunting type knife.

A few years later one of the writers for an outdoor magazine was talking to the Arkansas knife smith Jimmy Lyle (the maker of the First Blood movie knives) and commented to him that some testers were finding that those hand made copies of the movie knives were failing under real use. The knife maker replied with a laugh saying something along the lines of "are you kidding me, nobody is ever going to actually use a knife like that for anything, I made those knives at the request of Stallone to be used strictly as a prop for a fictional movie"  lol

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