Top 5 Hunting Knives | Jonas Blade

What Are The Top 5 Hunting Knives?

I have always found the term “hunting knife” somewhat irksome. It tends to be used as a vague catchall for any sort of small to medium sized knife that doesn’t specifically fit into any other category. While knives of this size are ideally suited to the work demanded of a knife that is used for hunting, more often than not there is nothing about it that makes it unsuited for anything else. 

When I display my work at shows, a question I get more often than I would expect is, “what do you do with these?” My answer is always the same: “cut stuff!” After all, that is what any knife is for, by definition. So a hunting knife might well be used for hunting, yet it also makes an excellent tool for a much broader range of cutting demands—hiking, camping, gardening, whittling, fishing, and picnicking, to name but a few. In short, a hunting knife is just an all-around excellent piece of gear for just about any outdoor activity where you might need to cut stuff. 

I have made many hunting knives over the years, and there are certainly some standouts. 

  1. One of my top five hunting knives is this simple piece: The Two-Tone Hunter

This knife comes to the hand and immediately feels at home. The knife features my signature 45-layer “Texas wind” damascus steel and stabilized amboyna with white G10 for the handle. There is nothing overly complex or fancy about the knife itself, but the design and materials make it everything it needs to be.

  1. My “Wind Hunter” is another standout that belongs on the list of my top five hunting knives: The Wind Hunter

The “Wind Hunter” features a more refined version of the same “Texas wind” damascus, but with a much higher layer count (800, compared with 45) and a finer polish, the effect is shimmery and chatoyant. Paired with walnut burl, fine silver, and heat-blued wrought iron, this is a capable knife that makes for a great companion on the hunt.

  1. The “Peregrine” is one of my earliest and most favorite designs, and it definitely is one of my top five hunting knives. Here is an excellent example: The Peregrine

I designed the original Peregrine to be my own EDC (every day carry) knife. It features a 3.5” blade and a 3.5” handle. Coming in at 7” overall, it is compact enough to wear in a front pocket. The steep angle between the handle and the blade offers outstanding cutting leverage, and the curvature of the blade packs in more edge length than one would expect on a knife so small. It is a stylish and potent design.

  1. Another design that fits into my top five hunting knives is the humble “Stub:” The Stub

This design was inspired by a challenge that I set for myself. I had a short offcut of damascus steel, and I wanted to see if I could make a knife out of it that still had some real utility. Hence the “Stub” was born. This would typically be called a skinning knife, with a broader blade and more belly to the edge. It is very compact, but it really carries a lot of utility with it.

  1. The final entry on my list of top five hunting knives might be a bit of a cheat—it is actually a set of five knives itself: The Legacy Trail Set

This set makes my list both because I like the knives, but also because of what the set represents. These were commissioned by a father for himself and his three children, so the set represents family and shared adventure. There are four hunting knives and one bowie, all in high carbon steel and stabilized mesquite burl, with nickel silver guards. The bowie and one of the hunters—for dad—are a 120-layer ladder damascus. This was a fun set to make, and I know that the knives are used and well-loved, so this set makes my list of top five hunting knives. 

If you are now feeling inspired, feel free to reach out to me to discuss commissioning a custom blade!

About The Author

Zack Jonas was born and raised in Massachusetts in the 1980’s and is still a New Englander today. With his growing love for art over the years, he took an introductory bladesmithing class at MASSart. It was there that he learned one of his most valuable lessons, which is that everyone has some insight worth learning. Today, he is a full-time bladesmith and feels incredibly fortunate to have found his calling