best hunting knives

Knives and cutting tools make hunting in Alaska easier.

These are the best hunting knives and tools for 2020

Spyderco Endura 4 Titanium Damascus­—PlainEdge
Spyderco EnduraStunningly beautiful and wickedly sharp, this folder is a beauty and a beast. Like all of Spyderco’s products, we are enamored with the design, function, usability and performance of this knife. The blade is made from D.P.S. 15, which is a blade material that consists of VG-10 stainless steel sandwiched between two outer layers of Damascus steel. Each Damascus layer is comprised of 15 layers of forge-welded steel which is patterned and etched. The result is an awesome, eye-catching knife. The handle scales are made from 6AL-4V titanium, and the knife is assembled with stainless-steel parts including back spacer, liner tube, hardware and clip. Clip configuration allows for left- or right-side, tip-up or tip-down carry.
DiamondBlade Knives Folding Summit
DiamondBlade Knives Folding SummitThis knife is super sharp and stays that way. Made using DiamondBlade Knives’ proprietary Friction Forging process, trust us when we say this knife is razor sharp and holds an edge for a long time. We used it to take apart several deer and a moose and it performed amazingly well. This folding version of the Summit is easy to carry, and is capable of taking apart any animal. The black G10 handle is comfortable in the hand and is designed with a finger groove for the index finger, giving the user superior blade control. The drop-point blade is 3.375 inches long, made from D2 high-carbon tool steel, and features a 4.5° wedge grind with a 16-18° sharpened bevel.
Buck Knives 536 Open Season Guthook/Skinner Knife
Buck Knives 536 Open SeasonWe took apart several deer with this knife and liked the feel in the hand and performance of the blade. The 4 ½-inch drop-point blade is sharp and a good shape for skinning and butchering game, and the inclusion of the gut hook helps in starting the skinning process. It sports a full tang, holds an edge and is easy to resharpen. We also used the boning and caper models and really liked how the three worked together to completely field dress and butcher our deer.
Work Sharp Micro Sharpener & Knife Tool
Work Sharp Micro SharpenerThis ultra-portable tool allows you to sharpen knives in the field and features two angle-guided (25°) rods: medium-grit diamond and fine-grit ceramic. We used it to put an edge back on our knives when cutting up Kodiak blacktails last October. The handle incorporates ridges which allow you to firmly hold the sharpener, even when your hands are wet. The tool also includes size T6, T8, and T10 torx bits so you can do field maintenance on most folding-knife pivot hinges and pocket clips.
Spyderco Zoomer G-10 Black
Spyderco Zoomer G-10 BlackThe Zoomer is a 10-inch, fixed-blade knife created specifically for bushcraft and wilderness survival. Designed by Tom Zoomer, it features a broad, 5.2-inch drop-point blade crafted from Crucible CPM 20CV stainless steel. The knife is both sharp and ultra-tough. The handle is crafted from two mirror-image pieces of solid G-10 and machined to be truly comfortable in the hand. We used it to process game in 2019 and found it to be very effective. The heft and sharpness of the blade combined to allow the tool to slide through game quarters like a hot knife through butter, and it is very comfortable in the hand. We like the leather carry sheath that includes a small storage pouch.
Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System
Work Sharp Guided Sharpening SystemWe asked avid hunter Nick Ploesser what he thought of this product. He stated, “This system was amazing. We deboned two moose and the Work Sharp Guided System helped our knives stay sharp during that process. It was very simple to use and the bottom grips made the system very sturdy. While sharpening the knives I didn’t have to worry about the Work Sharp System sliding or tipping over. Also, this system can come apart so if you just want to pack a certain piece you can. This system can sharpen a lot more than just knives which makes this a nice addition to the gear list so I don’t need multiple sharpeners. Another thing I liked about the system is it has the sharpening angle right on it which helps out a lot. Overall this is a great, must-have product.”
Spyderco Genzow HatchetHawk
Spyderco Genzow HatchetHawkRazor sharp, light in the hand, comfortable, and formidable, we found this to be a very handy camp tool for splitting rounds, chopping up branches, and pounding tent stakes. It holds an edge and is well designed. The hammer head also allows you to pound onto it to more easily split stubborn rounds, adding wedge, in addition to hatchet and hammer, to the list of tools that it provides. The head is drop forged from 5160 tool steel and heat treated; the result is a tough and dependable tool. The handle is comprised of a rigid aluminum inner core beneath a polypropylene-plastic, injection-molded outer layer. When not in use, the HatchetHawk is housed in a handcrafted heavy-leather sheath with a snap-fastened leather strap. A loop on the back of the sheath allows convenient belt carry, while grommets in the sheath body will accept a cord or strap for over-the-shoulder carry.
Kershaw Taskmaster Saw
Kershaw Taskmaster SawContributing Editor John Whipple offered this advice: “In Alaska, we rarely have the luxury of loading our big-game harvests into the bed of a truck and taking them home to process. Hunting is typically far from the nearest road, and field-dressing equipment often has to be small and light enough to carry in a backpack yet strong enough to withstand hard use. Enter the Kershaw Taskmaster. I started using this saw in 2012 and have never looked back. At 9 ounces, it is light enough to justify bringing it on a backpack hunt, but with a 7.25” razor-sharp blade and 9.25” handle, it is big enough to handle breaking down a moose or saw a skull plate off. Usually available for around $25, this piece of gear is a no-brainer!”
Havalon Piranta
Havalon PirantaContributing Editor Paul Atkins shared, “I was once skeptical when it came to knives with replacement blades. In the old days I did have an off-brand model, but was never satisfied with its performance, especially when it came to cutting tough hides, like moose and bear. I couldn’t get the blades on right, especially when it was cold, or time was an issue. In the end, I always laid it down and grabbed my old drop point. Now I know many still prefer their old hunting knifes and that’s fine, but you really need to try a Havalon if you haven’t already. Introduced to me on a recent goat hunt, these knives come in a variety of sizes and are tough as nails. I prefer the smaller version for skinning, where it has performed well, especially on recent hunts, like muskox and grizzly. The blades are tough, easy to replace, and razor sharp. They even come in bigger versions, which are ideal for cutting meat and even fish. Buy one and try it, you’ll be impressed!”

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