From field point accurate broadheads to colour-filtered LED flashlights, the instruments used by modern hunters and fishermen are the most effective, and most advanced there have ever been. There’s one instrument though that’s changed remarkably little over the years, but is also more capable now than it’s ever been: the knife.
Whether it’s trimming firewood, deboning game, or hunting feral boar, if you’re an outdoorsman, a premium-grade knife is the most important piece of kit that you’ll ever take to the backcountry. Knife blade designs and materials have evolved, however, to reflect how much more specialized these instruments have had to become. Size doesn’t matter as much as it used to, and some knives are infinitely better suited for certain tasks than for others; that’s why if you’re in the market for a top-notch knife to take hunting, you need to understand precisely what those differences are.
Start Your Hunt Off Right With a Modern Hunting Knife
With an estimated 640,000 recreational hunters and fishermen in Australia, it’s easy to see how the range of specialized hunting knives Australia has at its disposal has become so extensive. Experienced outdoorsmen know that while every knife enjoys a level of sameness and versatility, no one knife is capable of satisfying every cutting and carving chore. The blade that you’d use to cut through tough bone or to construct a lean-to isn’t the same one that you’d want to use to clean or fillet a fish. That means your search for the right knife ultimately has to begin with three questions:
- Do you intend to use your knife for hunting and processing games, or do you plan to use it for a mix of overland or campsite activities?
- If you’re using it exclusively for game, what size game do you anticipate using it on?
- If you’re using it for a mix of activities, could that also include more everyday activities?
Notwithstanding blade length, the design of handles and grips, blade styles, and choice of blade materials are all factors that also have to be considered before investing in a hunting knife. Make no mistake: when you’re hiking or tracking an animal on foot, hauling a heavy, oversized hunting knife through bushcountry can be more of a liability than an asset; that’s why you don’t want to start your hunt without taking advantage of everything a modern knife has to offer.
Choosing the Right Knife Handle That Matches Your Grip
Ergonomic comfort, high strength, and low moisture absorption are principle criteria when it comes to hunting knife handle design. And no matter if you prefer a handle made from stylish bone or wood or an easy-to-clean handpiece made from carbon fibre or thermoplastic polymer, it has to give you the convenient deploying qualities that you need to maintain control over your blade at all times.
Fit, feel, and safety are the most crucial parameters when evaluating knife handles, and they have to be considered when assessing which options would best suit you, to include:
- Fixed or folding blade. Fixed-blade knives for hunting are sturdier and easier to deploy, but folding blade knives are more compact, and can easily fit in a pocket, pouch, or hooked to a MOLLE vest.
- Textured or non-textured grip. The handles on modern hunting knives for sale can range from perfectly smooth to aggressively textured, enabling you to find a grip that’s secure but not uncomfortable.
- With or without a finger guard. Finger guards are for safety; and while some outdoorsmen prefer just to have a contoured handle to gauge their grip, some prefer the surety of a genuine finger guard.
Ideally, the perfect handle is the one that’ll let you use a knife without hurting yourself and clean up quickly when the work is done. It’s effectively an extension of your hand, and it has to complement your grip pressure, reach, and range of motion perfectly to get the most from the actual blade.
High-Performance Hunting Blade Types for Every Situation
Regardless of how long or heavy it is, a knife is only as effective as its blade. And in a country where rabbits, boars, and deer are the prizes of the day, it takes a high-performance, durable-edged blade to make the kind of hunting knife Australia can be proud of.
Although the range of bladed instruments used by outdoorsmen can vary from slimline field craft knives to full-sized bushcraft axes, there are three main types of true hunting blades that you want to pay attention to.
- Drop point blades. These thick, big game hunting blades are slightly curved at the point and are recognized for their strength and ability to do the job of even heavier-bladed instruments if required.
- Clip point blades. These general-purpose blades are most commonly used on folding knives and are superbly suited for effectively dressing and processing game.
- Trailing point blades. These rear-edged blades excel at performing the kinds of skinning and slicing tasks that butcher’s knives are known for and are a perfect combination of drop-point and clip-point blades.
Today’s most evolved hunting blades even feature serrated edges, hooks, and carbide glass breakers, making them perfect everyday carry (EDC) items when you’re not in the bush.
Using High-Tech Alloys to Make a New Generation of Stronger Blades
While style and crafting are the hallmarks of successful modern hunting knife design, it’s the evolution of materials that has made the biggest difference in the blade’s toughness and durability. Hunting knives have always had to balance hardness (the ability to resist deforming under stress) with toughness (the ability to resist damage when suddenly loaded), and modern alloys strike that balance better than anything that’s gone before them.
While high carbon D2, and corrosion-resistant stainless steel are still the most common materials that you can buy hunting knives in, air-hardened non-stainless tool steels like CPM-CruWear® and CPM 3V offer unparalleled edge retention and a host of other benefits, including:
- Improved toughness and wear resistance;
- Increased working hardness; and,
- Greater corrosion resistance in salt water.
The fact is, when you buy hunting knives online today, you’ll quickly discover that they’re not only more capable of resisting wear, stress, and strikes than even the strongest knives forged only a few decades ago, but they are also lighter. In short, they’re engineered from butt to point to make you an even more efficient hunter or fisherman.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, the strength and specialization of today’s hunting knives give them every advantage, however, they’re used. And the fact that they’re significantly lighter and more compact than their predecessors even means that it’s easier for an outdoorsman to carry two smaller, but more specific knives, than one large generic blade.
The range of modern hunting knives Australia has access to is as wide as it is specialized. They’ve undergone a tremendous evolution, and the country’s hunters and fishermen have everything to gain from it.