Field dressing knives are essential for performing field dressing on animals after a hunt.
The difference between a mediocre and excellent field dressing knife is night and day, which is why hunting enthusiasts will want to purchase a high quality knife.
It is not possible to perform field dressing hours after the hunt, because there is too much body heat loss by then. It must be done in the field, which is why a field dressing knife is so crucial (Source).
But finding the right knife can be difficult. Every knife manufacturer markets their product as the best for a specific purpose. But it is not always the case.
That is why we created a guide to help you choose your ideal field dressing knife for your next hunt.
Best Field Dressing Knives 2018
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Field Dressing Knives 2018
- 2 1. ESEE Junglas Fixed Blade Knife w/Kydex Sheath – Best Overall
- 3 2. ESEE Knives 6P Fixed Blade Knife w/Molded Polymer Sheath – Best Knife for Hunting
- 4 3. ESEE ES4PMBDE-BRK model 4 – High Carbon 1095 Steel Field Dressing Knife
- 5 4. Buck Knives 119 Special Fixed Blade Knife with Leather Sheath – Best Budget Field Dressing Knife
- 6 5. Buck Knives 113 Ranger Skinner Hunting Knife – Stainless Steel Drop Point Blade
- 7 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Field Dressing Knife
- 8 Our Final Word
|ESEE Junglas Fixed Blade Knife w/Kydex Sheath|
|ESEE Knives 6P Fixed Blade Knife w/Molded Polymer Sheath|
|ESEE ES4PMBDE-BRK model 4|
|Buck Knives 119 Special Fixed Blade Knife with Leather Sheath|
|Buck Knives 113 Ranger Skinner Hunting Knife|
1. ESEE Junglas Fixed Blade Knife w/Kydex Sheath – Best OverallThe ESEE Junglas Fixed Blade Knife is the best option for field dressing, as it provides all the necessary qualities needed in a hunting knife. It is made out of high-carbon 1095 steel, one of the most durable and sharp materials around.
The knife has a blade length of 10.5 inches, making it the longest knife on our list. Some may find the length is too long, but we believe that it is perfect for slicing and hacking at larger game, such as deer.
It features a drop point blade, which is a blade style known for piercing through flesh with ease. And the blade has a matte coating, which means that rusting will not be an issue. And the handle has Kydex sheath on top, ensuring moisture will not be a problem while gripping the knife.
2. ESEE Knives 6P Fixed Blade Knife w/Molded Polymer Sheath – Best Knife for HuntingThose who prefer a slightly smaller blade size will love the ESEE 6P Fixed Blade Knife. It is an incredible knife to bring on a hunt, because it is invaluable for field dressing and other purposes.
Like its bigger brother, the ESEE 6P is made of high-carbon 1095 steel. It is a durable material that will not rust, as the blade has a matte coating. This knife has a blade length of 6.5 inches, which is perfect for many hunters who want to field dress and skin game.
The ESEE 6P has a drop point blade style, which is very sharp and known for how easily it can skin and field dress game – even larger animals such as deer. The handle on this knife is made of Micarta scale and is very easy to grip.
3. ESEE ES4PMBDE-BRK model 4 – High Carbon 1095 Steel Field Dressing KnifeAnother sensational option from ESEE, the Model 4 knife is perfect for field dressing smaller animals. It may not be as effective with larger game, such as deer, but it will work very well with rabbits and game of a similar size.
The blade length on this knife is 4.5 inches, while it has an overall length of nine inches. It is made of the same high-carbon 1095 steel that has made ESEE such a famous name in the hunting community. It is an American made product that is known for its quality.
Like any steel knife, it is possible that rusting will be an issue. It is why the user must ensure they are properly lubricating the knife after most uses. But the product is very durable. Most people who have used the knife say you would have to work incredibly hard to damage it!
4. Buck Knives 119 Special Fixed Blade Knife with Leather Sheath – Best Budget Field Dressing KnifeBuck Knives is one of the most famous companies in the hunting community, having produced great products for more than 100 years. The company offers a lifetime warranty on all its products, because it stands by its quality construction.
The Buck Knives 119 Special Fixed Blade Knife has a six-inch blade that is ideal for field dressing and many other purposes while hunting or camping. It is a budget-friendly option, which many hunting enthusiasts will appreciate.
The knife is made of 420HC stainless steel. While it is not as high quality as the ESEE knives, it is still a very sharp and durable material that will last for years. If it is properly maintained, rusting will not be a problem.
With a clip point for skinning and slicing, this knife is perfect for field dressing. The black phenolic handle features palm swells, designed for optimal grip. It is not the type of knife that will slip during field dressing.
5. Buck Knives 113 Ranger Skinner Hunting Knife – Stainless Steel Drop Point BladeThe Buck Knives 113 Ranger Skinner is one of the top options available for hunting enthusiasts who want a field dressing knife. It is a “Made in America” knife from one of the most respected brands in the industry.
The 1113 Ranger Skinner is a compact knife that only weighs 5.2 ounces. It is the lightest knife on our list, which may be important to some people. If you are comfortable skinning and slicing game with a small, easily maneuverable knife, you will love this product.
It is made of 420HC stainless steel and features a drop point design. It is extremely sharp, will retain that sharpness for a long time, is resistant to corrosion and comes with an American walnut handle.
The knife’s ergonomic design means that it is very comfortable to hold. Even though some worry that wooden handles are hard to grip, these issues are not present with this model. Anyone who has used the knife comments on how easy it is to grip, even in sweaty situations!
Things You Should Know Before Buying a Field Dressing Knife
People hunt for all kinds of reasons. Some love the thrill, while others are enticed by the strategy. For many, hunting is about the delicious, long lasting meat that you get to enjoy after the hunt is over.
To get such meat, field dressing is so important. It is the step of removing the internal organs of a hunted animal. And it is a step that must be completed in the wild. If you wait too long to perform field dressing, the body temperature drops too much and it can impact the quality and safety of the meat from that animal.
Another benefit to field dressing is that it drastically reduces the weight of an animal, as their internal organs have been removed. It is much easier for a hunting enthusiast to carry the body of larger game when field dressing is performed.
Knives for Field Dressing
It is not necessary to have a huge knife to perform field dressing. In fact, most hunting enthusiasts prefer smaller knives as they are easy to transport and maneuver. What is more important is the sharpness of the knife. If the blade is too dull, it will be almost impossible to perform clean and quick cuts on the animal.
Field Dressing Safety Tips
Some hunters prefer to use gloves when they are performing field dressing. It ensures that blood and body fluids from the animal will not get on your hands. Using gloves is a good way to ensure better sanitation when performing field dressing in the wild.
What Can You Do With a Field Dressing Knife?
The beauty of field dressing knives is they can perform a variety of functions when you are hunting or out in the wild. These knives are ideal for gutting, skinning and deboning game.
Gutting is the process of removing the internal organs from an animal, as mentioned earlier. The knife must be sharp enough to pierce through the skin of the animal.
Skinning involves removing the meat from the fur of the animal. It provides easier access to the meat, while also reducing some of the weight if the animal is too heavy for a single hunter to carry back.
Deboning involves removing the meat from bones, which can also be done with a field dressing knife. Those who are camping or spending a few weeks in the wilderness may want to debone the animal on the spot, ensuring they can cook the meat on an open flame. But most people who hunt and bring their game home can debone later.
Choosing a Field Dressing Knife
Here are some of the criteria that can help you determine what field dressing knife to choose.
Hunters can choose between fixed blade knives and folding knives, when they are selecting a field dressing knife.
While a folding knife will do the job, especially if it is very sharp, a fixed blade knife is the preferred option. It is more durable and has less failure points. Folding knives can become loose from the locking mechanism, which can slow down the field dressing process or cause injury.
It is tempting to buy a very large knife, especially if you are new to hunting. But any experienced hunter will tell you that a bigger blade just means you have more chance of hurting yourself.
The blade size on a field dressing knife can vary from three to eleven inches. Anything larger will be hard to balance during use.
Those who are unsure about buying a knife with a small or large blade may want to try performing basic field dressing actions with both. Some are more comfortable with a blade size around 9 to 11 inches, while others prefer 3 to 5-inch blade sizes.
The best field dressing knives are made of durable and sharp materials, such as high carbon steel or stainless steel. The only issue with such materials is rust. But that problem can be solved through proper maintenance of the weapon.
While it is great to buy a field dressing knife with a stylish handle, what matters more is the ergonomics. The handle should be comfortable to hold and very easy to grip. You definitely do not want your knife to slip as you are attempting to field dress or debone game!
Our Final Word
Field dressing is one of the skills that every hunting enthusiast learns during their first few hunts. And anyone who has gone through the process of removing the internal organs of a deer or other animal in the while knows that it requires precision and a quality instrument.
With the right field dressing knife, you will have a much easier time field dressing right as you kill an animal in the wild. It will be much easier for you to ensure that you have quality meat from the animal, which you can cut up and portion when you get home.
We hope that our guide will help you choose the best field dressing knife for your needs. There are great field dressing knives available with various blade sizes. If you prefer a larger blade, the ESEE Junglas is the ideal option. Those who want the same quality but with a slightly shorter blade will love the ESEE 6P.
If you are a hunting enthusiast and have used any of these knives for field dressing, please share your experiences below. We would love to hear from our readers about their impressions of these products.