Need advice from deer hunters

Dec 15, 2003
My brother is just getting started in bowhunting, and he's out to bag a deer. I'd like to get him a hunting knife. I'm not a hunter, so I don't have a clue.

What's out there for under $100 that would do the job well?

One thought was the Cabela's Alaskan Guide series Buck Vanguard in S30V.

The thread Matt references has lots of good advice. I have three different knives that I use for field dressing, but they're all homemade. Here are the qualities I'd look for in selecting a good hunting knife:

- A three to four inch drop point with a narrow blade profile.
- Fixed blade (vs. folder) for ease of cleaning.
- No gut hook (they just seem to get in my way).
- A good, hard steel that will retain its edge.

The Cabela's Buck Vanguard looks like it meets those criteria to me, I'm sure it's a fine knife.
I use 2 knives. The one that I use the most is a Gerber Gator. It has rubber handles so that you can get a good grip. It also has a good "belly" which to me seems to make the job easier. I also keep a Buck Night hawk around, just in case.
I actually like the Gator so much that I bought an extra one in case something happened to the one I'm using now. I've been using the same for over 10 years with no complants.
What does anyone think of the Spyderco Bill Moran Featherweigh series? They are the FB01 and FB02.

I've been looking at them and they look light, relatively cheap and solid. I haven't felt one in my hand, but they seem like a great deal. The VG-10 blade for ~$50 seems like a great deal.

One of them, can't remember which seems like a good hunting/skinning knife. Anyone have experience with one of these?

Here's a link to each.
Spyderco FB01
Spyderco FB02
I like the Blackjack Small for whitetails. I have the maple Small and it's a beautiful knife, takes a very nice edge as well. It also has one of the best sheaths of any production knife I've owned.
As for the Moran fixed blade Spydercos, I can't speak specifically as to how they work as skinners. My grandfather was a deer hunter, as are my step-son and his friends (for some reason, my father didn't hunt, so I didn't have a model to follow. But, when anyone kills it, I'm more than happy to grill it :D ).

My step-son and his friends have, more than once, commented on how the Moran drop point that I have (camping and kitchen duty) would make a great field dressing knife...
I think that when getting a hunting knife, a lot of people seem to get one that is just too big. Like the one guy said, for gutting out a deer, you want a blade that is 4" max in length and has a thin plade profile. Big, wide blades tend to get in the way IMO.

The Buck Woodsman is the knife that I have used for hunting for years, and I think it is pretty much perfect. The blade is 420HC, which a lot of people around here will probably look down upon, but for a knife that you use a couple times a year to cut skin/guts, it is more than adaquate. It's been years since I sharped mine, and the deer I gutted this year was no problem.

Its not flashy, but for practicality, its pretty hard to beat.
I have used the Vanguard on several deer and 2 black bear.Although mine is not s30v since I bought it before that was offered.I love mine for hunting.The edge holds up well and it just feels right.