Gutting knives are crucial in the hunter’s arsenal.
If you’ve ever gutted and dressed in the field before, then you probably understand what a delicate and arduous process it can be.
A slip-up would mean ruining the meat or the hide, wasting your tracking and hunting efforts. A mistake may even cause injuries to yourself.
Gutting is an important part of hunting. It’s a task that traditionally implies dying or living by the tool or the “weapon” you’re using.
Owning a quality gutting knife will make a huge difference, making the whole experience much quicker and easier.
The worst scenario while out in the field is where you constantly have to sharpen your blade. This makes the entire process longer and more drawn out than necessary. Another problem is if the grip on your knife slips all the time.
This exposes you to danger and spoils your cuts’ integrity. Getting the best-quality gutting knives you can afford will greatly enhance your experience and safety out there in the field.
- 1 Top 10 Gutting Knives Review
- 1.1 1. Buck Knives #0685BKG Bucklite Gutting Knife
- 1.2 2. Buck Knives 0536RWG Guthook Fixed Blade Knife
- 1.3 3. Gerber Freeman Gut Hook Folding Knife
- 1.4 4. Benchmade Grizzly Creek #15060-2 w/ Gut Hook
- 1.5 5. Gerber Myth Hunting Kit w/ Gutting Knife
- 1.6 6. Buck Zipper Gutting Fixed Blade Knife #191
- 1.7 7. Case Mushroom Gut Hook Hunting Knife
- 1.8 8. Buck Gutting Knife #0691BKG
- 1.9 9. Mossy Oak Field Processing Gut Hook Knife
- 1.10 10. Old Timer #2148OT Copperhead Gut Hook Knife
- 2 How to Choose the Best Gutting Knife
- 3 Gut Hook vs. Clip & Drop Point
- 4 Why Using a Gutting Knife?
- 5 Tips on Gutting Your Kill
Top 10 Gutting Knives Review
A quality gutting knife should become an integral part of your hunting identity. It has to add value to the experience of the general hunt. When you’re choosing a good quality game processing knife, there are many options on the market.
Companies like Benchmade, Gerber, Buck, Spyderco, and many more exhibit solid offerings. Some even put together sets and entire kits, which will cover all your needs concerning gutting.
Weight: 4.7 oz.
DynaFlex rubber handle
Weight: 4.9 oz
DumaLux red-wood handle
Drop point Fixed
Weight: 6.60 oz.
Textured rubber handle
Closed: 4.34 inches
Blade Length: 3.50 inches
Weight: 4.76 oz
Drop-Point / Gut hook
Weight: 1.0 oz.
Guthook: 8.5 / 3.75 inches
Weight: 4.9 oz.
Weight: 6 oz.
DymaLux walnut handle
Weight: 4.8 oz.
Polished leather handle
Weight: 6.3 oz
Walnut wooden handle
Here is my review of the top 10 gutting and field dressing knives on the market today:
1. Buck Knives #0685BKG Bucklite Gutting Knife
This attractive piece from Buck Knives is the perfect choice when you account for quality and price. It’s simple, feels good and secure on hand, and is made in the USA.
The 4-inch 420 high-carbon steel blade has a drop point. It’s 0.110 inches thick and features a gut hook.
The overall length, on the other hand, is 8.875 inches. It weighs 4.7 ounces.
It has a DynaFlex rubber handle but feels very stable in hand. The handle is black, just like the polyester sheath that comes with the knife.
The tang runs the entire length of the contoured handle. Buck knives are known for their durability and hardness, even though you’ll encounter many knives with the same 420HC steel.
Their secret? The exclusive heat-treat. Their blades are known for superior corrosion resistance and are very easy to resharpen.
2. Buck Knives 0536RWG Guthook Fixed Blade Knife
Here’s another top-quality gutting knife from Buck Knives made in the USA – the #536 model. It has a 420HC steel blade, which is incredibly hard.
It also has the ideal overall knife length of 8.25 inches, making it appear perfect in hand. The knife feels pretty lightweight, too, weighing just 4.9 ounces.
The blade has a well-made drop point with a gut hook, with a length of 4.5 inches. Of course, it’s full tang and is 0.150 inches thick.
The handle is also very attractive. It’s non-slip, DumaLux red-wood with a length of 3.75 inches. The knife comes with a polyester sheath.
3. Gerber Freeman Gut Hook Folding Knife
This folding knife is one of the most convenient gutting knives you’ll own. It’s perfect for both gutting and skinning and will cut a tour rope in a split second.
The knife features a 3.60-inch drop point blade with a gut hook. The blade is full-tang with a lanyard slot and is made of 5Cr15MoV steel. Since it’s basically a folding knife, it features a liner-lock mechanism to close the knife.
It has a sure-grip lightweight handle that eliminates nasty slips and comes in black color. A nylon leather sheath just sweetens the deal.
4. Benchmade Grizzly Creek #15060-2 w/ Gut Hook
This superb quality and attractive knife have a CPM-S30V stainless drop-point blade that folds away into the handle. There’s also a foldaway gut hook on the other side of the blade.
The knife weighs just 4.76 ounces and is 7.8 inches long. When it’s closed, the overall length is 4.34 inches.
The blade holds its edge extremely well. Its length is 3.50 inches, with a maximum thickness of 0.124 inches.
The handle is tough dymondwood. Benchmade also offers a lifetime sharpening and repair service to help your knife last a lifetime.
5. Gerber Myth Hunting Kit w/ Gutting Knife
This handy little dressing kit includes two steel-blade knives, giving you all you need when preparing your game in the field.
The kit consists of the Myth Fixed Blade Pro with a gut hook and the Myth Compact Fixed Blade in a sheath with a sharpener. They weigh just 6 ounces together and are small enough to clip onto your belt.
The full tang gut hook knife has a blade length of 3.75 inches. The full length is 8.5 inches, and it weighs 4.9 oz. The texturized rubber handle features a lanyard hole and ensures a safe grip.
6. Buck Zipper Gutting Fixed Blade Knife #191
The Zipper is a premium full tang gutting knife by Buck Knives. It’s a strong, well-made knife manufactured in the US, and they express that proudly.
This high-quality knife consists of a 4.125-inch drop point blade with a gut hook. The blade is made of 420HC steel, splendidly made for various field dressing and hunting tasks.
It features a good-looking DymaLux walnut handle. With a perfectly contoured grip along by the handle, it sure feels that way too.
For convenience and to sweeten the deal, it includes a brown leather sheath that perfectly matches the brown handle.
7. Case Mushroom Gut Hook Hunting Knife
Made with the ardent hunter in mind, this great-looking fixed blade knife has a concave ground 4-inch blade perfect for field dressing or skinning.
The blade is manufactured from Case’s distinctive high carbon stainless steel, so it holds an edge exceptionally well.
The knife weighs just 4.8 ounces. Also, your new knife will come with a leather sheath. The polished leather handle is attractive and durable.
8. Buck Gutting Knife #0691BKG
The drop point gut hook blade on these brilliant Buck knives is crafted with 420HC steel, giving excellent edge retention and durability.
The blade is 4.125 inches long, and the gut hook works beautifully. The handle is textured rubber for a non-slip grip even when wet in the field.
This knife weighs in at 6.3 ounces and comes with a strong polyester sheath. With a lifetime warranty, this knife is a great value for the money.
9. Mossy Oak Field Processing Gut Hook Knife
This full tang knife has an overall length of 9.5 inches. The 3CR13 steel blade is 4.5 inches and 0.3 inches thick.
One is used while the other two fold down. The 0.6 inches thick wooden handle material is of walnut. Also, the knife comes with a decent-quality leather sheath.
The knife feels strong and safe, thanks to the brass pommel that guards your finger. It has an excellent price, too, having it mind all the specifications.
10. Old Timer #2148OT Copperhead Gut Hook Knife
This great black folding knife is the perfect affordable option if you’re on the budget. And like most of the options above, it comes with a polyester sheath.
The blade is made of 7Cr17MoV Ti-Nitride high-carbon steel. The knife’s full-length is 7.8 inches, while the blade is 3.4 inches long.
The over-mold rubber handle creates an excellent grip on the hand. The liner lock makes the knife secure as well. Besides, I really like the design, too.
How to Choose the Best Gutting Knife
Before you can get around to preserving the meat of your kill, you first have to complete the critical task of gutting.
Also known as field-dressing, gutting means that you remove all the internal parts, including the intestines, liver, kidneys, and heart, among others.
This job needs to be done as soon as possible after killing the animal. Otherwise, bacteria have a chance to multiply inside the meat.
Fast and efficient gutting makes sure that the meat remains in good condition and makes it easier to transport the animal as it will weigh a lot less once the internal organs have been removed.
There are five important things to bear in mind when choosing the best gutting knife for all types of hunting, namely:
- The shape of the gutting knife.
- How long is the blade?
- The material the knife is crafted from.
- What is the handle like?
- What price range is the knife in?
The Shape of the Blade
The blade shape is vital when your job is to detach the hide from the animal’s meat. A lot of newbies think that a knife with a sharp point is the best, but this is not the case.
A sharp-ended blade may puncture the hide, damaging it in the process. It’s better to use a blunt-ended knife or one with a rounded end, as this will mean you can gut the animal without ruining the leather or the meat.
Gutting Knives Length
Most gutting knives are fairly short, as longer knives are awkward to maneuver and may well spoil the job. Of course, a longer blade is best for filleting the meat, but not for gutting.
A shorter blade provides more control and lessens the risk of slips and accidents. When you’re cutting the lower body section and removing the intestines, a short knife is less likely to damage the organs.
You’ll be able to finish the job confidently and with control, which will result in you getting some great cuts of meat.
The blade material quality will determine how long it can hold an edge for, and therefore how often you have to sharpen it.
A cheaper blade that gets blunt quickly will cost you in the long run because it will spoil the way you gut. It could even damage the hide and meat, too. Blades made from lesser materials can also be dangerous and lead to accidents.
As any experienced hunter will know, it’s vital to have a well-sharpened blade that keeps its edge even after being used a few times.
Characteristics and Comfort
If you’re new to the gutting process, the task will probably take you a little longer. This means that you will need a knife with a comfortable handle and a good grip.
It must be the correct size for your hands and must never slip, even when wet. Picking a handle that gives you perfect control is a matter of comfort and safety.
Gutting Knives Price Range
A serious hunter will always buy the best tools they can afford, and gutting knives are no exception. Nevertheless, whichever model you choose has to fit into your budget.
And spending heaps of cash on a knife doesn’t always guarantee you’re getting the best quality, anyway.
Choose your knife carefully, weighing up all the pros and cons. The most expensive knife out there may look pretty but might not be the one you really need to do the hunting tasks you have planned.
Plus, you could also use an ax to do some of the work, but be aware that it will not be as precise or safe.
Gut Hook vs. Clip & Drop Point
When choosing a hunting knife, the blade point is considered vital, especially in field dressing. This applies to gutting knives as well.
Which one you choose depends on the type of animal you’ll be hunting and the job you’re going to be doing with it.
You can choose from three types of points for gutting: drop point, clip point, or knives with gut hooks.
A knife that exhibits a clip point is usually very sharp and good for slicing and piercing. However, because the tip is so narrow, it is a weak point on the knife.
A drop pointed blade is widely recommended for deer hunters since the point enables easy skin-piercing, which usually has to be in a pinpoint location. This helps to reduce mistakes leading to meat destruction while gutting or skinning.
For gutting, it is recommended to use a knife with a gut-hook, especially for cleaning deer. Although many experienced hunters never used a knife with a gut-hook, I will give them a go!
Why Using a Gutting Knife?
Having a gutting knife is important for every professional hunter to ensure that he will not pierce internal organs that would later ruin the meat. It helps the hunter to cleanly skin the kill without incidental and unwanted penetrations.
These are the key factors why you should use a gutting knife, too:
For Speed of Use
A lightweight knife will be more comfortable to hold and allow you to cut through the animal’s skin with ease to give you fast access to the organs.
A good knife will let you do the task more precisely than if you used an ax or a machete while allowing you to maintain the meat quality.
For Your Convenience
The best hunting and gutting knives are comfortable to carry and more accessible than any other tool you’ll ever need.
They can fit into your pocket or kept in a sheath on your belt so you can begin your field dressing tasks straight away and without any fuss or bother.
For Reason of Sanitation
Keeping a specific knife exclusively for gutting helps maintain hygiene levels by keeping bacteria away from the carcass.
You should keep your gutting knives as clean as possible and always try to use gloves during the process to avoid infecting the meat as much as possible.
It is also vital to keep the knife very sharp so that you can finish the job quickly and safely.
For Safety That Lasts Longer
A good quality gutting knife is safer to use, protecting both you, the meat, and the hide. A lock-back knife is probably the most reliable option because the blade locks securely in place and won’t snap back and injure your fingers while in use.
Remember, a gutting knife should be durable and made from top quality materials. A great gutting knife will last for many years before needing to be replaced.
Field Dressing a Deer Using a Gutting Knife
A good hunter knows how vital it is to dress the deer as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s not the most pleasant process, but it needs to be done. Else the meat will spoil and consequently be wasted.
A good-quality and reliable gutting knife will help you get the job done fast and avoid the risk of bacteria building up inside the cadaver.
To sum up – to complete the crucial task of gutting safely and correctly, you need an excellent quality knife that stays sharp and is easy to carry.
Look for a fixed or folding blade or a gut hook, and make sure it has a durable and comfortable handle. Remember, a great knife is an investment that, as a serious hunter, you won’t ever regret.
Tips on Gutting Your Kill
Proper field dressing of your game helps prevent bacterial contamination, so it is an effective way of preserving the meat for as long as possible. Remember, your chosen method of doing this largely depends on the size of your kill.
For instance, a deer can be kept whole, but elk or moose may require halving or quartering to aid with quicker cooling. It also makes transportation easier.
So, what else should you carry along with you other than your field dressing knife?
- Additional Equipment for Field Dressing: To ensure a proper field dressing process, always carry a small hatched, sharp knife, a whetstone or steel for sharpening, rope or nylon cord, rubber bands, cloths or paper towels, a cheesecloth, large zip lock bags, black pepper, clean drinking water, a big cooler (snow or ice-filled), and disposable plastic gloves.
- Field Dressing Quickly: There are several different methods for field dressing your kill. Most differ on the incision size for intestine removal. However, the immediate gutting of your kill after shooting remains mandatory regardless of which method you choose. Immediate dressing helps prevent bacteria’s growth, aids rapid body heat loss, and enhances the meat’s quality.
- Bleeding Guidelines: Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t mandatory to always bleed your kill. Normally, a bullet wound to the heart, lungs, or liver is enough to wrap up this step. However, use your own judgment as some instances may require that bleeding is done.
It’s always a good idea to wear disposable plastic gloves while carrying out the field dressing process as this prevents exposure to potentially harmful diseases.
It’s also good practice to wash your hands and arms with water and soap before and after dressing the animal, especially if you do not have gloves.