best field dressing knives

The Best Field Dressing Knives

A sharp blade and the right technique can make field dressing easier. Here are five tools to help get the job done.

The Best Field Dressing Knives

If your main goal with hunting is getting delicious, long-lasting meat, then you need to be knowledgeable about field dressing. This crucial step must be properly done to prolong your meat’s life and to avoid health risks for yourself and others around you. Properly field dressing your meat can help you keep and enjoy it for over a year.

Field dressing involves removing the internal organs and entrails from a game animal so that the meat may cool down quickly. This vital action needs to happen soon after you take the animal so that the meat doesn’t go bad.

Bacteria begins to grow on meat almost right away, but field dressing will make sure that your game stays bacteria-free and clean. Once you have done this initial step, the meat must be kept in a fridge under 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Let’s look at some of the best field dressing knives on the market.

Our Top Field Dressing Knife Picks

  1. Buck Knives 113 Ranger Skinner
  2. ESEE Junglas Blade
  3. KA-BAR Fighting/Utility Serrated Edge Knife
  4. Gerber Myth Field Dress Kit
  5. Buck Knives 393 Omni Hunter

These knives were chosen because of their reputation, customer feedback and overall user satisfaction based on performance and durable quality. Read below to learn more about each knife.

 

 

Editor's Choice

ABuck Knives 113 Ranger Skinner

Buck Knives 113 Ranger Skinner.jpg

The 113 Ranger Skinner Hunting Knife is a compact, sturdy fixed blade product with an Ergonomic, American walnut handle and brass bolster.

The knife weighs 5.2 ounces, was made in the United States, and comes with a Buck Forever Warranty. The steel drop point blade on the knife has excellent edge retention and strength and the knife is 7.25 inches long. The knife has a genuine leather sheath and lanyard hole.

“This is my personal favorite hunting knife,” said Sean McCoy over at Gear Junkie. “Last year, I used it to quarter and process an elk, and at the end of the fairly significant job, it was still usefully sharp. Not many knives can do that job and still retain a keen edge.”

The visual layout of this knife, with its brass guard and wood handle is reminiscent of a classic style, while the blade has a well ground, high-quality profile. The leather pouch is simple, offers a snug fit for the blade, and was made in Mexico. The knife feels great in your hand with a sturdy blade that comes sharp out of the packaging. It can be used to fillet fish easily and without struggle.

This fine knife has a hollow ground blade with a perfect edge right out of the factory. Keep in mind that some may find that the handle is a bit small and too square for their tastes.

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ESEE Junglas Blade

ESEE Junglas Blade.jpg

The overall length of the ESEE Junglas Blade is 16.5 inches and the length of the blade is 10.375 inches. The USA-made blade has a black finish and the handle is made from Gray Micarta with a durable sheath.

The Junglas gets its name from the Colombian Jungla Special Operations unit and was designed for Latin American counter-narcotics operations.

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

The knives are crafted from 1095, high-carbon steel which is ideal for professional cutlery but still stands up to harder uses. It will not stain or rust, particularly on the edge itself, if you care for it properly.

Make sure you always keep your knives properly cleaned and lubricated and use a rust inhibitor. Leave your hatchet at home for your next hunting excursion and instead bring this blade along with a light folding saw.

It can be used to process firewood as it batons and de-limbs effortlessly, slicing through hard knots easily. Even after using it to maintain a fire for hours at a time, it’s sharp enough to take off the hairs on your hand.

The well-made sheath sits nicely on your belt and will retain the blade well, but does take some time to get accustomed to drawing out single-handedly. Use the integral lock to keep it in place so you don’t have to worry about losing it on the trail.

The knife may feel slightly bulky at first but you will get used to this after a while. Even while cutting rope, the knife will keep a great edge. It has a good finish and fit with an impressive length. Keep in mind that while striking hard wood, some transfer will happen.

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KA-BAR Fighting/Utility Serrated Edge Knife

KA-BAR Fighting Utility Serrated Edge Knife.jpg

 

For those seeking a knife fit for service and military members, this 100-percent synthetic, imported option is a great choice. The utility knife is black and comes with a partially serrated blade.

The blade is easy to sharpen and is crafted from 1095 steel. The blade is 7 inches in length and has a 20-degree angled edge. The knife weighs 0.7 pounds and has an overall length of almost 12 inches.

“The length of the blade is slightly larger than normal. And it’s because this field dressing knife also poses as a military combat knife,” said Tony Lohman at Outdoor Hole. “That means you get a multi-functional tool that you can rely on completely to perform all kinds of tasks.”

This is a knife that you can expect to outlive you or even your grandchildren if it’s maintained properly. The ratio of quality to price is incredible and comparable products cost much more.

The Kraton grip on this blade will last for ages and comes with an excellent grip. The hard, tough sheath does exactly as it should in terms of mounting durability and practicality. It secures the knife’s cross-guard, allowing for inverted carrying with an unbuckled hilt strap.

The blade comes with rounded serrations meant to minimize the risk of catching on obstacles between your skin and the blade, such as zippers or cloth.

The serrations also offer utility and the ability to create wood shavings (feather curls) for a campfire. Since the knife has a perfect balance at the pointer-finger grip point, it allows for reliable, easy throwing free from spin.

You can expect the blade to hold up to plenty of use and sharpen it easily with any sharpening diamond, ceramic, or stone. The sheath included will repel both dampness and water very well.

The blade comes sharp right out of the packaging and the hard, rubber-like grip is solid even in wet conditions. Its ergonomic design ensures that it fits into your hand perfectly.

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Best Field Dressing Knife Kit

Gerber Myth Field Dress Kit

Gerber Myth Field Dress Kit.jpg

 

For those looking for something a bit more portable, the Gerber Myth Field Dress Kit is an ideal option. This field dress kit is perfect for the modern hunter with its compact design, textured rubber handle, and integrated, built-in carbide sharpener in the sheath.

The piggyback sheath will keep both knives perfectly secure and fits securely into your belt loop or backpack. The knife has a blade of 3.75 inches, a sturdy rubber grip, and weighs just under 5 ounces.

This knife can be used to field dress deer and will work well for making cuts, while the hook on the bigger knife makes it easier to dress and open up the skin of the animal.

This is one of the only field dressing knives that comes with a built-in carbide sharpener, which makes it the perfect hunting companion as you won’t need to wait until you get home to sharpen your blades.

It can be used for both large and small game hunting and the blade is perfectly sharp immediately after unpacking it. The set has a reasonable price and the knives are sharp and well built.

Rest assured that your blades will be held in place in the blind or on long day hikes. The large one clicks into place while the smaller knife comes with a strap to secure the blade.

The belt strap is thin and flatly stitched, which some might have an issue with as it doesn’t leave much slack on the belt loop.

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Buck Knives 393 Omni Hunter

Buck Knives 393 Omni Hunter.jpg

Buck knives are extremely well made, and the 393 Omni Hunger 12pt Guthook is no exception.

The 4-inch blade offers excellent corrosion resistance, edge retention, and overall strength and will be your constant field dressing companion out on the hunt. The knife weighs 7.8 ounces and is 9.75 inches in total with a full length tang. The handle is heavy duty with an ergonomic shape and a groove for your index finger.

The knife comes with a snap closure, black nylon sheath, was crafted right here in the USA and comes with a Buck Forever Warranty. It has a lanyard hole for simple attaching so you don’t lose it out on the trail.

The handle has grip ridges and is contoured and rubberized for safe handling. These knives are ready to take out for hunting and surgically sharp right out of the box. Just strap it on and you’re ready to dress your first elk of the year.

While other knives can be easy to lose your grip on, this one’s indentation will keep it held securely in place. With such quality, you’d expect an outrageous price, but this blade is very reasonable.

The knife is full tang which can be verified by looking at the metal in its cutout, near the handle’s end. Many knives cannot be used immediately but this one is ready to use right after buying it.

The rubber handle stays warm even out in freezing temperatures and although the knife is a bit heavy, it makes up for this in durability and overall quality.

The camouflage pattern on the knife’s handle goes well with plenty of other hunting gear and won’t give away your position. Give it as a gift to the hunter in your life or buy it and enjoy it yourself. This blade is sure to last for years and years with proper care and maintenance.

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Tips for Proper Field Dressing

Field dressing your game properly is a crucial step to both preventing bacteria and preserving the meat for as long as possible. Methods for doing this depend on how large your kill is.

For instance, while deer can be kept whole, moose or elk may need quartering or halving so you can transport them home, and to aid in quicker cooling. So, what else should you bring out with you, in addition to your field dressing knife?

  • Additional Equipment for Field Dressing: In order to make sure you’re field dressing properly, bring a small hatched, sharp knife, steel or Whetstone for sharpening, rubber bands, nylon cord or rope, Clean paper towels or cloths, large Zip lock bags, a cheesecloth, black pepper, a big cooler filled with snow or ice, clean water (for drinking), and disposable plastic gloves.
  • Field Dressing Quickly: Several methods exist for field dressing your kill. Many people differ on the size or manner of incision for intestine removal, but regardless of the method you use, you must eviscerate your kill immediately after shooting it. When you dress it right away, you will prevent bacteria from forming, ensure rapid body heat loss, and make the meat quality better.
  • Bleeding Guidelines: Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always necessary to bleed your kill. Usually, a bullet wound to the liver, heart, or lungs is enough to complete this step. However, in some cases, it may be necessary so always use your best judgment.

Keep in mind that while field dressing, wearing disposable plastic gloves is crucial in order to prevent exposure to harmful diseases. If you have no gloves, make sure you wash both your arms and hands in water and soap both after and before you dress the animal.