Knives come in a multitude of sizes, shapes and strengths so that they can reliably perform a given task. Therefore, any given knife use has a knife designed for it. One of the most common inquiries we get is "what is the best knife for hunting?" While there is always an element of personal preference, here are some of our thoughts on a great hunting knife.
It all starts with the blade style. Skinning knives tend to have an accentuated curve about a half inch from the tip or at the "belly" of the knife. Slight curvature is necessary to do smooth, short, sweeping cuts when separating the hide from the meat.
Next up is length. Bigger is not always better in this instance. When the majority of the knife work is going to be on the inside, a smaller blade will maneuver better and easier. For this reason, keep your hunter around the four-inch mark to maintain easy control of the blade edge.
You want a knife with backbone! What is too often overlooked is the back or "spine" of the knife. A proper hunting knife will have some form of jimping or filed notches to grant multiple, secure positions with which to hold the knife. Not only does this add versatility to your approach, it looks great too!
When skinning, things can get awfully slippery, awfully fast. For this reason, a small guard to keep the fingers from sliding past the handle is an absolute boon. A roughly textured handle can also help in maintaining a sure grip, because for ACC every little bit helps.
Finally, and really most importantly in any knife purchase, is the knife steel. You want something that has amazing edge retention. Few things are as inconvenient as having to switch knives halfway through a job because of a dull edge. Worse still is having only one knife and having to stop and resharpen! There are many sturdy stainless steels that meet this requirement, or if you don't mind showing some TLC to your knife a high carbon blade is always a good bet.