Best Hunting Knife: 8 Features of the Perfect Knife

Is there such a thing as the perfect hunting knife? Our four legendary knife experts say there is, and explain why these 8 features make it better than any other blade.

LENGTH
"Four inches, give or take half an inch, is about right. If the point is too far from the hand, it's difficult to control during precise cutting actions." --Michael Janich
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BLADE STYLE**
"My favorite blade style is what I call a modified semi-skinner design, popularized by Bob Loveless. In my opinion, it is the perfect all-around hunting knife blade shape."
--Tim Wegner
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SPINE**
"The spine should have jimping--or grooves--in key places so you can have security with many different holding positions."
--Edmund Davidson
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STEEL**
"Crucible CPM S30V is stainless and has great edge retention. I have no use for a hunting knife that will not keep its edge for an entire elk or moose."
--Tim Wegner
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CHOIL & GUARD**
"A subtle, understated guard provides enough of a stop to protect the hand without adversely affecting maneuverability and dexterity."
--Michael Janich
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DESIGN**
"A fixed-blade knife is as useful and reliable as an all-around tool as it is for breaking down an animal carcass. In that respect, it's a practical design."
--Edmund Davidson
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HANDLE**
"I like an ergonomic handle because hand fatigue during field dressing or skinning can be the cause of serious injury. Anything that makes the knife easier to hold on to is a plus."
--CJ Buck

SHEATH
"A custom-molded sheath made of Boltaron or Kydex is impervious to the elements and holds the knife securely in place with a snap fit."
--Michael Janich

Pictured: A Bill Siegle fixed-blade drop point, slightly modified by Dan Frazee. Approx: $250.