Those who hunt, whether it’s for food or for sport, need specialized equipment to get it done the right way. This certainly extends to the knives that are carried by a hunter. Not just any knife will do – it needs to be sharp, easy to carry, versatile, and durable.
Damascus steel is known for its ability to hold a sharp edge and maintain its durability, which makes it perfect for making hunting knives. But before you buy a Damascus hunting knife, take the time to familiarize yourself with Damascus steel, hunting knives in general, what to look for when buying a Damascus hunting knife, and how to care for it once you’ve bought the perfect one.
Best Damascus Hunting Knives
So, let’s check out some of my favorite Damascus hunting knives.
The Damascus Steel Butcher’s Daughter Knife from Divine Knives features a six-inch camel bone handle, a curved 10-inch blade, full tang construction, and a gut hook on the back spine of the knife.
The handle is colored in three portions: red on the top, blue in the middle, and light brown at the end (though these colors may vary from one knife to the next).
It’s got kind of a classic design that I find to be manly and tend to use this one when I’m out with the guys more than when I’m just out with one of my sons on our property.
- The blade is curved for easy skinning.
- The guthook on the back spine helps to split and remove skin, as well as remove the insides of the animal without affecting any of the meat.
- The camel bone handle is beautiful with its tri-color design, sturdy, and will not retain moisture as much as a wooden handle would.
- The full tang construction lends strength and stability to the knife.
- This knife is designed specifically for skinning. When it’s time to cut the meat, you’ll need an entirely different knife to accomplish that purpose.
The Snake Eyes Damascus Steel Bowie Hunting Knife from DKC Knives features an 11-inch blade, a six-inch wooden handle, a Damascus steel bolster, brass inlay, a leather sheath, and more than 250 layers of steel.
The handle is made of snake eye hardwood, and the blade features a wavy pattern with loops that give the appearance of bubbles.
This one is very well balanced in the hand and I personally love the blade design.
- In the Bowie knife style, the blade’s edge is mostly straight and slightly curved towards the top. This makes it ideal for both skinning and cutting.
- The Damascus steel bolster and brass inlay make the knife very sturdy.
- More than 250 layers of steel give the blade strength.
- The handle is made of hardwood, which can retain moisture. It will have to be kept dry at all times to avoid rusting the blade, which could be difficult when skinning and cutting an animal.
- The blade is kept safe with a leather sheath, which absorbs moisture and can lead to rusting.
The Handmade Damascus Bowie Knife from Nescole features a 10-inch blade, a walnut wood handle, and a leather sheath. The edge of the blade is curved for skinning, and there is also a straight edge portion for cutting.
I find this one to be a very solid go-to knife if you feel like bringing only one.
- The knife arrives well-oiled and carefully wrapped, with a plastic cover protecting the tip.
- The knife is multi-purpose, with a curved blade for skinning and straight edge for cutting. This makes it an excellent all-around knife for hunting.
- The walnut handle can retain moisture, making it difficult to keep the blade rust-free.
- The leather sheath will absorb moisture, adding to the rust problems.
- The handle is bulky and unstable.
The Handmade Damascus Steel Bowie Knife from Poshland Knives features a six-inch blade, a five-inch hardwood handle, a leather vertical carry sheath, and 176 layers of steel.
The blade is slightly curved with a serrated portion at the bottom and a straight edge on the back spine. The handle is made of walnut hardwood with a fat grip.
I personally love the grip and the way it feels in the palm.
- 176 layers of steel make the knife strong.
- The vertical carry sheath includes a belt loop, which makes it easy to transport the knife.
- The knife can be used for a variety of purposes, due to the curved blade, straight edge, and serrated portion of the blade.
- The handle is intended to be easy to grip, hold, and use.
- The walnut handle will absorb and retain moisture, as will the leather sheath.
- The metal snap button on the sheath is exposed on the inside and scrapes against the blade, causing scratches.
The Fixed Blade Damascus Hunting Knife from Vintage Gentlemen Company features a four-inch blade, a four-inch wooden handle, full tang construction, and a leather sheath. The handle has notches from top to bottom, which makes it easier to grip and use.
The blade is curved and features notches on the back spine. The notches are definitely a nice feature that I wish more knives included.
- Full tang construction gives the knife strength, stability, and durability.
- The notched handle makes it easy to hold and use.
- The wooden handle and leather sheath absorb moisture and contribute to rusting of the blade.
- The blade is smaller than most hunting knives at four inches. This makes it perfect for small game, but insufficient for larger game.
- Because the knife is meant for skinning, there is no straight edge for cutting meat.
The Handmade Damascus Eight-Inch Bowie Knife from Nescole features a four-inch blade, a four-inch bone and wood handle, full tang construction, and a leather sheath.
The blade features a standard curved edge. The handle is made of both camel bone and walnut wood, with alternating stripes of light brown walnut wood, black camel bone, and white camel bone.
It’s a little bit similar to the first knife on our list in design, so as you can guess, I also really like this one and have used it many times.
- The Damascus steel blade combines with the brown, black, and white handle to create a beautiful yet useful hunting knife.
- The full tang makes the knife very sturdy and durable.
- The handle has an ergonomic shape that makes it easy to grip and hold.
- The four-inch curved blade is only meant for skinning small game.
- The handle is only partly made of wood, so it may resist moisture to an extent. However, bone can still absorb some water, and the wood portion will definitely absorb water. The leather sheath will contribute to rusting as well.
- The sheath seems too long for the knife.
- The loop on the sheath does not fit into a regular-sized belt loop and has no locking clasp.
The Custom Handmade Damascus Steel Skinner Hunting Knife from GladiatorsGuld features a four-inch blade, a wooden handle, a guthook, and a leather sheath.
It took a while for me to get used to this one as I wasn’t initially used to the shape. But after using it a few times, I actually really like the shape and sometimes prefer it.
- The guthook makes skinning easier.
- The knife is well-balanced.
- The blade is only meant for skinning small game.
- The wooden handle and leather sheath retain moisture and cause rusting on the blade.
- The sheath is too narrow to fit on a belt.
- The rivet on the sheath breaks off easily.
The Handmade Damascus Hunting Knife from Custom Knives Brazil features a three-inch blade, a four-inch handle, a Damascus bolster, a leather sheath, and over 500 layers of steel.
The blade is small and features a standard curve for skinning. The handle is made of buffalo horn and secured with brass and mosaic pin. The sheath is made of genuine cowhide leather.
It’s a very well-crafted little knife all around.
- The handle is made of buffalo horn, which may resist moisture more than a wooden handle would.
- The Damascus bolster and mosaic pin lend stability to the knife.
- More than 500 layers of steel make the knife very strong and durable.
- The blade is very small and is intended to skin small game.
- The leather sheath absorbs moisture.
The Custom Handmade Tracker Knife from TR-1166 features a five-inch multi-purpose blade, a five-inch black micarta handle, 176 layers of steel, and a leather sheath.
The blade has three parts to it: a small straight edge for cutting, a curved portion for skinning, and a notched blade on the back spine.
- The curved blade, straight edge, and notched blade provide versatility, so you can tackle any task during the hunt.
- The micarta handle resists water and moisture, keeping your handle dry and your blade rust-free.
- 176 layers of steel make the knife strong and durable.
- The sheath can be worn on the belt either vertically or horizontally.
- The leather sheath absorbs moisture and may cancel out the moisture-resistant properties of the handle if not kept dry.
- The blade provides various edges for different purposes, but each edge is small, so you can still only use them for small game.
- The blade seems to rust easily.
- Paint on the handle chips off easily.
What is a Damascus Knife?
Damascus knives are made of Damascus steel. This name refers to the process of making the knives, rather than a type of steel itself. Damascus steel is typically made by creating an alloy of iron and steel and folding the alloy into layers, or else by layering iron and steel before forging it into swords, knives, and other blades. The number of layers can vary, ranging from around 200 all the way up to one million.
Because of its iron and steel composition, Damascus steel is very strong and durable. Its most notable characteristic is the pattern that runs throughout the metal, which often resembles a wavy or watery pattern. These types of knives are often custom-made, so each knife will have a distinct and unique pattern.
Advantages of a Damascus Knife
There are many advantages to using a Damascus knife, including:
- Smooth, Flawless Blade
What is a Hunting Knife?
A hunting knife is a type of sharp knife that is used during hunting. It is typically used to skin an animal and cut up meat. It should not be confused with a hunting dagger, which is used to kill small game.
There are two basic types of hunting knives: fixed-blade and folding. Folding knives are safer and easier to conceal and carry. However, if you are going to be skinning large game, you might want the strength and stability of a fixed-blade knife.
Within these two categories of hunting knives, there are a myriad of designs. Most hunting knives have a single sharp edge with a slight curve. There are other designs that are intended for specific purposes, such as skinners, which have a rounded point that won’t damage the skin of the animal. There may be extra features like guthooks as well. Additionally, you might find multi-purpose hunting knives, consisting of a curved edge for skinning and straight edge for cutting.
Damascus Hunting Knives Buying Guide
No two Damascus hunting knives are alike. More importantly, not every hunting knife will be perfect for your specific needs. There are several factors that you need to consider in order to find your perfect hunting knife. These include:
- Utility: What will you be using the knife for? Skinning, cutting, or both? Make sure you know exactly what you will use the knife for so you don’t buy an inadequate knife or pay for features you don’t need.
- Convenience: How will you be carrying your knife? Pay attention to the sheath, case, or cover that you carry it in. Leather sheaths absorb moisture and will rust the blade quicker.
- Handles: This will determine how much extra work you’ll need to put into caring for the knife. Wood handles are beautiful and more natural, but they retain moisture and must be kept completely dry at all times. Make sure you get one that has a comfortable and secure grip, so the knife won’t slip during skinning and cutting.
- Appearance: Is the appearance important to you? Make sure you are happy with the design and pattern you choose since these knives are meant to last for a long time.
How to Care for Your New Damascus Knife
Damascus hunting knives require special care. These tips will help your knife last for a lifetime:
- The blade should be washed and dried immediately after use to prevent rusting. Don’t put it in the dishwasher, and make sure to keep the handle dry.
- Store your knife in a dry, moisture-free place away from extreme temperatures.
- Sharpen the knife prior to each trip.
- Keep it well-oiled.
- Polish the blade often to prevent dust build-up.
A Damascus steel hunting knife can provide a great boost in the field. There are many versions available though, so it’s important to know which type of knife will serve your needs best.
Whether you settle on a special skinning knife or a versatile multi-purpose knife, you will need to take care of it so it will last. The above guide will help you find the perfect Damascus hunting knife and maintain it.