Best Field Dressing Knife – Buyer’s Guide

When you’re out hunting, of course, you will need a sharp knife to gut an animal. Hunters most commonly hunt deer either as a trophy or meat.

Having a hunting knife that’s suited for field dressing and other purposes like cutting rope and any survival niche is always a good advantage.

Looking for the best field dressing knife?

Best Field Dressing Knife Reviews

In this article, we list the knives that are best suited for field dressing a deer. The following were chosen from our extensive research on how they perform when they are used in the field.

See our list and find out.

Last Updated: 2017-11-18 at 18:55 PST - Details

1. Buck Knives 279 Folding Alpha Hunter Knife

Buck Knives 279 Folding Alpha Hunter Knife with Heavy Duty Sheath

Buck has been in the business for over a hundred of years. It’s made in the USA, and many users have attested on how durable and high-quality the Buck knives are.

We feature here in our list two models from Buck. The Buck knife model 279 is a folding knife with a smooth lock mechanism. This, of course, is very easy to carry around in your pocket.

​Pros:

  • 420HC stainless steel metal is rust-resistant, has medium edge retention, and easy sharpening.
  • 227.8 g weight is not a burden when traveling around.
  • Its blade length of 3.5 inches is ideal for field-dressing.
  • When folded, the length is 5 inches and can easily be inserted in a pocket.
  • You only need one hand to pull out the blade.
  • Knife features a drop point that is essential for heavier tasks. The tip is quite robust and versatile. It also minimizes accidental piercing to retain the high quality of the meat.
  • Rubber handle has an ergonomic design and has slip resistance. The rubber handle covers the stainless steel frame.
  • The manufacturer added a safety sheath even if it’s a folding knife for extra security.

​Cons:

  • Check every time for any malfunctions on the lock before using.
  • Will need sharpening from time to time.
Buck Knives 279 Folding Alpha Hunter Knife with Heavy Duty Sheath
176 Reviews
Buck Knives 279 Folding Alpha Hunter Knife with Heavy Duty Sheath
  • RAZOR SHARP FOLDER - The 3-1/2" Drop Point 420HC Steel Blade...
  • CONVENIENT ONE HAND OPENING - A Thumb Stud on the blade...
  • SAFETY GRIP - Anti slip black rubberized handle with steel...
  • VERSATILE CARRY OPTIONS - Includes a Heavy Duty Black...

Last Updated: 2017-11-18 at 18:55 PST - Details

2. KA-BAR Fighting/Utility Serrated Edge Knife

KA-BAR Fighting/Utility Serrated Edge Knife with Hard Sheath, Black

This knife by KA-BAR was originally a combat knife used by the military since the 1960s. Its uses have branched out towards the typical hunters and hikers alike. KA-BAR means business with its knives, and knife enthusiasts widely recognize them.

​Pros:

  • Metal composition is high-carbon 1095 steel that boasts exceptional durability and sharpness.
  • Blade length of 7 inches and overall length of 11.75 inches.
  • Knife features clip point that’s good for skinning deer.
  • Multi-functional knife and that includes field dressing.
  • 295 g weight is not a burden.
  • Full-tang construction for ensured strength when doing field dressing.
  • The serrated edge is good for severing joints during field dressing.
  • Knife has finger guard to prevent accidental cutting when it slips.
  • KA-BAR’s very own Kraton handle material has a secure grip that will never slip when wet.
  • The sheath is made of Kydex and additional belt loop for maximum safety.
  • Knife has a lifetime warranty.

​Cons:

  • Susceptible to rusting if you don’t take care of it.
Sale
KA1214-BRK USA Fighting Knife
786 Reviews
KA1214-BRK USA Fighting Knife
  • Used by all branches of military and service members
  • Black utility knife with partially serrated edge
  • Man made Kraton G handle fits comfortably in the...
  • 20-degree edge angle; 7-inch blade length

Last Updated: 2017-11-18 at 18:55 PST - Details

3. Buck Knives 0119 Special Fixed Blade Knife

Buck Knives 0119 Special Fixed Blade Knife

Adding to our best field dressing knife list is a knife from Buck that has been around for about fifty years. It’s one of the best-selling knives in the past until now.

​Pros:

  • 420HC stainless steel is the metal used for this knife. It’s still great until now, and sharpening is easy.
  • Blade length of 6 inches and overall length of 10.5 inches is good for this fixed-blade knife.
  • Features clip point for skinning and slicing.
  • Both finger guard and butt part of the knife isn’t malleable enough because it’s made of aluminum.
  • Phenolic, hard plastic, is the handle’s primary composition.
  • Knife handle has finger grooves for easier grip.
  • Sheath material is made of quality leather.
  • Lifetime warranty by the manufacturer.

​Cons:

  • Knife could be a little large for field dressing.
  • The handle could slip as it’s made of plastic.
Buck Knives 0119 Special Fixed Blade Knife with Leather Sheath - 75th Anniversary Edition
1018 Reviews
Buck Knives 0119 Special Fixed Blade Knife with Leather Sheath - 75th Anniversary Edition
  • SURVIVING THE TEST OF TIME - 2017 is the 75th Anniversary of...
  • RAZOR SHARP CLIP POINT BLADE - 6" Clip Point 420HC Steel...
  • COMFORTABLE GRIP AND BALANCE - Traditional Black Phenolic...
  • CONVENIENT CARRY- Includes a Genuine High Quality Protective...

Last Updated: 2017-11-18 at 18:55 PST - Details

4. ESEE 6P Black Fixed Blade Knife

ESEE 6P Black Fixed Blade Knife with Desert Brown Molded Polymer Sheath

Adding to our best field dressing knife list is a knife from Buck that has been around for about fifty years. It’s one of the best-selling knives in the past until now.

​Pros:

  • Knife is made out of high-carbon 1095 steel for extra durability and sharpness.
  • Blade length of 6.5 inches is good for a skinning game.
  • Overall length of 11.75 inches.
  • The blade tip is drop-point and is perfectly suitable for field dressing chores.
  • The handle is made of Micarta scale and is removable.
  • Full-tang construction for knife strength. The butt part of the knife can be a hammer.
  • The sheath is made of quality plastic that covers only the blade. It has a clip for safety precautions.

​Cons:

  • Lubricate it more often to prevent rusting.
  • Since the handle is removable, it can be uncomfortable.
ESEE 6P Black Fixed Blade Knife with Desert Brown Molded Polymer Sheath
85 Reviews
ESEE 6P Black Fixed Blade Knife with Desert Brown Molded Polymer Sheath
  • Overall Length: 11.75"
  • Blade Length: 6.50"
  • Blade Material: 1095 Steel
  • Handle Material: Gray Micarta

Last Updated: 2017-11-18 at 18:55 PST - Details

5. ESEE Junglas Blade

ESEE Junglas Blade

Last but not the least in our least, is a machete-like knife by ESEE. Made in the USA, it is a trusted knife that caters the needs of hunters after the hunt and other functions stated.

​Pros:

  • The blade is made out of high-carbon 1095 steel.
  • Blade length is 10.5 inches and overall length of 16.5 inches. Because of its length, you can say that this is good for slicing and hacking the game animal.
  • Drop point blade is suitable for piercing through flesh with absolute control to not damage the meat quality.
  • Black coating of the blade help protects from rusting.
  • Micarta handle covers the full tang of the knife.
  • The sheath is made of Kydex that prevents moisture.

​Cons:

  • The weight of 22.5 ounces could be a little heavy to travel around.
  • A little too big for a deer hunting knife.
  • Needs lubricating on the uncoated parts to avoid rusting.
  • Needs combination with another knife for active field dressing.
ESEE Junglas Blade with Kydex Sheath & Canvas Micarta Handles, Black
122 Reviews
ESEE Junglas Blade with Kydex Sheath & Canvas Micarta Handles, Black
  • Overall Length: 16.50"
  • Blade Length: 10.375"
  • Blade Finish: Black
  • Handle Material: Gray Micarta, Durable Sheath

Last Updated: 2017-11-18 at 18:55 PST - Details

What Can You Do with a Field Dressing Knife?

After hunting, one should immediately gut the deer or called field dressing while the body heat remains. If not, bacteria can cultivate on the corpse, and that would make your venison uneatable.

There are a hundred of knives available and have different levels in advantages and disadvantages. A field dressing knife is simply another name for a deer hunting knife, and they have a whole stack of uses outside deer hunting.

In getting the deer meat, you mainly use a knife to do the following:

1. Gutting

Field dressing is all about eviscerating the internal organs of the deer. A knife that can pierce through the skin is a must in this process as it’s the most important step to preserve the meat.

Gutting deer

2. Skinning

In hunting deer for their meat, you have no uses for its hide unless you want to make it into clothing. This is the second step in field dressing and helps to separate the meat from its fur for easier access.

3. Deboning

After gutting and skinning, getting the meat comes next. This is about separating the meat from the bones, and a well-suited knife should be used. Using the best boning knife for deer will save you a lot of time and effort. At the same time help you increase your deer meat output.

4. Butchering

This comes the crucial part in field dressing where you cut up the meat to be stored in your bag. As the deer is plenty heavy with its bones and skin, it’s easier for you target the meat.

Buying Tips for the Right Field Dressing Knife

Of course, in doing field dressing, the hunting knife you should be using has the qualities of being quick, convenient, sharp, durable, safety all in one package.

Here we list the factors that you should consider to pick the best field dressing knife.

Field-Dressing-Knife

1. Knife Type

In hunting knives, there are two categories that you should consider: fixed-blade or folding knives. Hunters use both, but the fixed-blade knives are the most common. This is because of being durable and they have no drawbacks, unlike the folding ones.

A folding knife can get loose from its locking mechanism over time and can get you injured. However, they have the advantage of being easy to carry in your pocket.

2. BladePoint

In hunting knives for a particular animal, the blade point is important when it comes to field dressing. Three points can be chosen; they include clip point, drop point, and trailing point. A knife with a clip point is very sharp, good for piercing and slicing.

However, the tip point is relatively weak because it’s narrow. The trailing point is excellent in deboning as because of the larger curved cutting area.

Indeed, a knife with this point is best suited in slicing and skinning deer. Last but not the least is the drop point and is widely recommended for deer hunters.

The point allows piercing through the skin in a pinpoint location, so there are lesser chances of destroying the meat when gutting or skinning.

Gut hook as a blade point is also available, but it depends on the user’s preference. Gut hook has a semi-circle shape following the tip that makes it easier to pierce an animal’s flesh quickly. To use this, puncture the skin and pull it just like how you pull the zipper.

However, sharpening the gut hook when it dulls could be quite a problem and most hunters can easily open up the belly after a few practices.

3. Blade Length

In choosing a hunting knife, one should consider on what game he intends to hunt. For instance, using a knife larger than a rabbit could be quite dangerous as you might cut yourself.

In the context of hunting deer, the knife should ideally balance on your hand. The recommended length for a field dressing knife is 3 to 5 inches.

4. Blade Composition

A hunting knife is commonly made of high carbon steel or stainless steel. Both have advantages and disadvantages over the other, so it depends on what the user prefers most. If it’s made of carbon, it’s very hard and retains its sharpness for a long time.

The drawback to it, however, is being vulnerable to rusting. The stainless steel metal composition prevents rusting in any way to a knife but is easily dulled than the carbon steel.

5. Tang

Knife Tangs

Because you’re doing field dressing, your knife should be strong and can’t be easily broken. A full-tang feature for a knife has a significant advantage because the blade part extends to the handle. It’s evident that the folding knife doesn’t have this feature, and it’s the main reason why hunters used fixed-blade knives.

6. Handle

The handle part of your knife is also important in choosing the right knife. As you wear gloves, there’s no avoiding that your hands will get bloody, and this might affect on how you grip your knife.

A wooden handle is out of the question because it slips when it gets wet. So the perfect material for a knife handle is plastic rubber as it’s easier to grip especially when it’s bloodied.

7. Sheath

Knife And Sheath

Of course, you can’t carry a knife without covering it as you might injure yourself or someone. You will need a cover sheath that can survive different weather conditions.

The most preferred material around is nylon because of its properties as a synthetic material and because it is cheap.

8. Price

The price tag of the knife and how much money you have is the deciding factor when it comes to buying a hunting knife.

This isn’t the main problem for people who are affluent, though. If your budget is tight, remember that not all knives priced on the low end have low-end qualities too.

It’s a matter of meticulously picking a knife among a broad range of selection available in the market today.

Conclusion

By now, you already have ideas on the best field dressing knife you should buy before you hunt. You need to be meticulous as field dressing is a competition against time. Being slow on the process could mean that your earlier hunt was a waste.

In our list, we pick KA-BAR fixed blade knife for a few things. Its handle is of good material and is very secure because of slip resistance, full-tang, and finger guard.

When doing field dressing, utmost care should be done because the meat could be very thick and slippery. It dominates knives that are made of removable Micarta handles and hard plastic materials.

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