Hunting Knives Versus Bushcraft Knives

When compared roughly by profile, a general purpose drop point hunting knife and similar drop point bushcraft knife, camp knife or general “EDC” everyday carry knife may look similar but there are differences in construction for ideal performance between specific hunting and sporting tasks and other more general and often demanding purposes.

A drop point hunting knife often is the most popular blade configuration for good reason – a more keen, acute trailing point is risky when field dressing a game animal as puncturing the entrails is a danger to the quality of the meat – a drop point is somewhat less likely to pierce than a more pointed design, while still having adequate acuity at the point to easily perform all required tasks.

The same reasoning and factual assessment apply to a camping or general purpose bushcraft knife – a very fine point, either with multiple intersecting grinds to reduce weight and add acuity to the terminal point of the blade, or a simple trailing point blade knife itself – any case where the steel is reduced in section in more than one dimension at a time – leading to lack of reinforcement and relative fragility during hard usage can be a liability.

An additional metric to compare a hunting knife to a bushcraft or EDC knife is the likelihood of any prying or lateral forces being applied to the blade. In a hunting application there is very little chance of a blade being misused – all cuts are either piercing motions or slicing ones, circumferential cuts around forelegs or detailed small precise caping operation movements. A hunting knife is used as an edge only, not to split, wedge, or be forced through a cut.

Conversely, for an EDC knife or bushcraft knife which will be subjected to rough use, or even a larger bowie or “camp” knife for general purpose cutting and chopping tasks oftentimes leverage is used for the knife to finish a splitting operation, to wedge material apart, for batoning through firewood either across or with the grain – all more severe operations where a more robust single grind is of greater durability and utility. This can be partially sidestepped by only using the more reinforced base or mid point of a blade for hard usage, but that brings the final consideration to mind – the edge geometry.

A hunting knife is ultimately designed to cut hide, meat, fat and tendons – all soft to relatively soft materials, and the terminal edge can be taken to a near zero dimension before sharpening. The similarity to a kitchen knife in this regard exists – without abuse, for slicing and piercing operations only a properly designed chef’s knife would suffice entirely well in a hunting knife application. The knife can be made thinner, and therefore be easier to sharpen and maintain, as well as lighter, and utilize a higher target hardness of the blade steel.

A rough use EDC knife, or general purpose bushcraft knife will be typically of a greater thickness immediately behind the cutting edge, and in addition to this thicker terminal point the entire blade is often of a greater thickness for more durability during lateral pressure, during prying operations or any emergency use utilizing maximum force. Additionally the target hardness of the blade steel will often be some points lower on the Rockwell scale to optimize the ductility of the entire blade with some sacrifice of edge-holding due to the reduced hardness and specific properties being trade offs.