8 Tips for Maintaining a Hunting Knife

Hunting Knife

Tough as they may look, hunting knives need proper maintenance for them to continue delivering results as intended. Going for a hunt or a camping excursion with your trusted hunting knife in bad condition will make the trip unbreakable, considering the many applications that hunting knives are used for. The maintenance but is not even that complicated; they are all things that you can handle without any outside help.

We will look at the reasons you need to maintain your hunting knives and the many ways you can get that done. So if you have a nice collection of hunting knives that require some attention, stick around to the end and see how you can get that done quickly.

Why Maintenance is Necessary

Knife in Hand

There are many reasons why you have to take care of your hunting knives. Conducting regular maintenance every few weeks is necessary because of the following reasons.

  • To keep them sharp: Every time you use a hunting knife, it loses some sharpness as it cuts through skin, flesh or when used to split wood for kindling. The dullness may not be noticeable at first, but if you continue using the knife for long, you will start noticing that it is changing. Sharpening the knife every few weeks is part of maintenance, and it ensures the knife continues performing.
  • To stop rust: The knife may be made of steel and other high-quality materials that are rustproof, but that doesn’t mean you neglect cleaning and polishing the blade. Rust is not the only thing that can affect the blade’s integrity; sediment build-up due to coming into contact with all kinds of objects is common and, if left unchecked, may make the blade weak.
  • For aesthetics: Nothing beats that shiny gleam that you get when you clean and polish your hunting knife; it even makes the hunting experience feel even better. The temptation to brandish a knife every two minutes just to look for it is something every hunter can’t resist.
  • To check for faults and damage: A damaged hunting knife can lead to serious harm if used with too much force. This is the reason why you have to check the knife before heading out to hunt. Maintenance will help you detect any physical damage like a loose blade or spoilt handle that could lead to cuts if handled in the wrong way.
  • To Get rid of discoloration: Discoloration is a common defect that affects most hunting knives, and this is due to the fact that hunting knees are used to cut so many things, from plants to animal flesh, and with time, it is fairly common for the blade to start getting a distinct tint that changes its appearance. Constant maintenance will help keep the blade discoloration at bay.

Maintaining a Hunting Knife

Having looked at why you have to keep your hunting knife in tip-top condition, the following are some of the recommended ways you can use to do some proper maintenance of your hunting knife before heading out.



Lubricating a hunting knife involves the addition of a lubricant along moving parts of the knife, in this case, a foldable hunting knife that has several joints and movable pivots that keep moving all the time when the user unleashes the blade. The lubrication reduces friction and makes the movement of the blade much faster. To avoid creating a mess with the lubricant, make sure you only apply a small amount at a time and wipe the excess off with clean tissue paper. Many knife lubricants are designed specifically for this job, and you can find them in online shops.


This is the most important part of knife maintenance. Hunting knives have to be sharp for the heavy tasks they handle and for emergency reasons. You will be amazed at how fast work can get if you have sharp knives with you. They cut through animal skin like butter, and this makes you use less energy in the process. Using a blunt knife, on the other hand, is pure headache. You will find yourself needing to exert more effort when cutting even the softest of items in the wild. This could even lead to injury. There are special sharpening tools for hunting knives, don’t go around sharpening the knife against a rock as that will spoil the blade and give it an uneven look.


You wouldn’t want to go on the next hunting trip with a hunting knife that still has blood from the previous hunt caked in. This is unsanitary, and it could affect how efficiently the hunting knife would be in the field. Washing the knife doesn’t involve a lot of work, and since most blades are made of non-rust materials like steel and carbon, you are free to use as much water as you want. Use some soap and a soft cleaning cloth to gently clean the knife all around until you are satisfied with the results. Once it’s all clean and gleaming, let it air out to dry completely.

Correct Usage

Skinning Knife

Using the hunting knife in the right way as it was intended is also another form of maintenance. The biggest mistake most hunters make is using their hunting knives for the wrong jobs. For instance, you cannot use a skinning knife to split wood for kindling; the latter requires a bigger and stronger knife. If you want a knife that can handle all tasks without any issue, then go for a huge fixed blade rather than specialized foldable pocket knives. Using a knife in the correct fashion is what makes it durable enough to serve you for years before you start entertaining the idea of replacing the knife.

Avoid Handling Repairs on Your own

Hunting knives are not candidates for your DIY projects; they are sophisticated in terms of design, and some, like foldable ones, come with so many moveable parts that will spring out in all directions the moment you unscrew things. There are some damages and complications that you cannot handle on your own, and this requires you to take the hunting knife to the nearest shop or back to the knife manufacturer to have it looked at. Most experts have better machines and tools that they can use to repair your knife and make it operational again.

The Handle

Wooden Handle

Knife handles are unique and should be treated separately from the rest of the knife. They are usually made from various types of materials that range from wood, plastic, aluminum, rubber, and many others. Depending on the material, you have to use different cleaning methods for each. The bottom line here is that the handle has to be kept clean at all times because allowing dirt to accumulate is what causes the grip to become loose and slippery every time you come into contact with moisture.


A Hooked Knife

Hunting knives are expensive, and the thought of having to replace them can be jarring at times. Accidents do happen at times, and your brand new knife may get damaged while being used. Rather than buy a new one, you can have the damaged part replaced. This could be the blade or the handle. All you would need to do is get it to an expert who can check it properly and install it the right way. Again, it is important to note that handling this level of repairs and replacements should be left for the expert. Tinkling with the knife on your own will only make things worse.


Storage is the final and most important part of hunting knife maintenance. For foldable knives whose blades can be turned back into the handle, they still need to be placed into a protective case which ensures that no one else gains access to it, especially children, and they get to stay away from moisture. Fixed blades can be stored in sheaths and placed in their case, too, when not in use. Storage is what keeps the knife far away from being exposed to the elements. If you don’t have a case for the knives, then find a cloth you can use to wrap the knife in after use and store it away in a cool, dry place until the next hunting expedition.

The Bottom Line

Your hunting knife is the most important accessory to your arsenal of tools. Being out in the world can be unpredictable, and you will find yourself having to improvise once in a while. A hunting knife brings the right kind of versatility to the table, increasing the chances of success as you prowl on the hunt.

If you are new to the hunting game and are looking for the right kind of hunting knife for your first trip, check out our extensive catalog and find the perfect hunting knife that will suit your needs.

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