9 Best Gut Hook Knives for Hunting

Last Updated November 5, 2023
Top 3 Best Gut Hook Knives
Saddle Mountain Skinner
Gerber Gator Premium Fixed Blade Knife
  • Excellent performance and edge retention.
  • High-quality blade with proper care lasting for years.
  • Priced at the top of the market but offers lasting value.
Buck Knives Open Season Skinner Guthook Pro
Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner Knife with Hook
  • Full tang fixed blade game knife made from S35VN steel.
  • Ergonomically designed handle for comfortable use while processing large game.
  • Backed by Buck’s Forever Warranty, indicating a high level of confidence in the product’s quality and durability.
KA-BAR Game Hook Knife
Buck Knives Open Season Skinner Guthook Pro
  • Fixed blade full tang skinning knife made from DIN 1.4116 stainless steel.
  • Comfortable leather strip handle design.
  • Comes with a natural leather sheath and is priced reasonably for the features offered.
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Hunting is a time honored tradition that helps us get more in touch with nature while honing our own survival skills. Cleaning your kill is just as integral a part of hunting as the actual hunt. If you’re still using a standard fixed or folding blade knife you’re doing things the hard way. A gut hook skinning knife makes it easy to clean and skin your prey without the hassle that comes with less purpose built knives. Today we’ll be reviewing the best gut hook knives to try and find the best one for your needs.

Best Gut Hook Knife Reviews

Gut hooks are very simple little tools. It’s a curved blade that hooks underneath a piece of skin or muscle and slices through it while you pull.

It’s designed to safely open up the lining of the body cavity to remove all the organs and other non-meat parts of an animal without nicking or cutting the intestines or bladder.

Every hunter worth their salt should have a quality skinning knife with a gut hook. They make the job so much faster and easier than using a standard knife.

We picked out several great gut hook knives across the spectrum of types, prices, and materials to help you find the best gut hook knife for your game and style of hunting.

Gerber Gator Premium Fixed Blade Knife

Gerber Gator Premium Fixed Blade Knife
The Gerber Gator gut hook knife product picture

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Having ventured into the wild for numerous hiking and camping excursions, I’ve always felt the necessity of a reliable knife by my side. My search for a robust, trustworthy companion led me to the Gerber Gator Premium Fixed Blade Knife. The moment I unboxed this masterpiece, its aesthetics and build quality caught my eye, resonating with the craftsmanship I had come to admire in knives over the years.

The blade, a full 4 inches of CPM-S30V carbon steel, promised excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance, essentials for enduring the unforgiving wilderness. And it didn’t just stop at promises. The blade stood true to its claims, retaining its sharp edge through various expeditions, making field dressing a breeze.

The handle, a blend of glass-filled nylon with a rubber overmold, felt light yet firm in hand, weighing just 8 ounces in total. The grip was exemplary, almost molding to my hand, ensuring that the knife stayed put even in the wettest conditions. The modified drop point blade profile, coupled with a well-designed curve leading up to the gut hook, made field dressing feel less like a chore. The punch through at the end of the handle was a thoughtful addition, allowing me to attach a leather strap, further securing the knife.

But, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. The sheath was a bit of a letdown. It seemed to lack the same quality and attention to detail that the knife boasted. However, it was functional, and considering the premium feel of the knife, it was a minor hiccup easily overlooked by investing in a better sheath.

The Gerber Gator Premium comes at a higher price point, but every dollar spent resonates in the quality of the knife. It’s a small price to pay for a reliable companion that stands the test of time and the harsh outdoors.

On a recent camping trip in the Rockies, the Gerber Gator Premium was put to the real test. As dusk approached, we stumbled upon a game trail and decided to set up a temporary camp. The temperature was dropping fast, and a fire was crucial. The Gerber Gator was instrumental in quickly processing firewood. Its sharp, durable blade made quick work of the branches, and the ergonomic handle ensured my hand remained cramp-free throughout the task.

As fate would have it, we also managed to bag a deer the next morning. The gut hook on the Gerber Gator made field dressing seamless, reducing what could have been a tedious task into a manageable and efficient one. The grip remained sturdy despite the cold, wet conditions, a true testimony to its design.

This experience elevated my appreciation for the Gerber Gator Premium. It’s not just a knife, but a dependable ally in the heart of the wilderness, proving its worth when it mattered most. Each time I venture into the outdoors, the Gerber Gator Premium Fixed Blade Knife is securely sheathed by my side, ready to tackle whatever challenges nature throws my way.

I’ve used and owned several high-end knives, but the Gerber Gator Premium has carved its place as a dedicated hunting and field dressing knife in my collection. Despite the minor hiccups, it’s a knife I’d highly recommend to any outdoor enthusiast. Its performance and quality are testaments to Gerber’s excellence, making it not just a knife, but a trustworthy companion in the wild.


  • High-quality blade material (CPM-S30V carbon steel): Ensures excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance, vital for outdoor adventures.
  • Ergonomic handle design: The glass-filled nylon with a rubber overmold provides a comfortable, sturdy grip, even in wet conditions.
  • Effective gut hook design: Makes field dressing efficient and straightforward.
  • Punch through at handle end: Allows attachment of a leather strap for added security against accidental drops.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: The knife’s fit and finish is beautiful, meeting and exceeding expectations right from the unboxing.
  • Balanced Weight and Feel: The knife has a good heft and balance, making it comfortable to hold and use.


  • Sheath Quality: The accompanying sheath lacks in quality and durability, not matching up to the premium feel of the knife.
  • Initial Sharpness: Some users might find the knife not sharp enough right out of the box, requiring additional sharpening.
  • Price: On the higher end of the price spectrum, although justified by the quality and performance of the knife.
  • Packaging Concerns: There might be instances of packaging appearing tampered or the knife having smudges, though this might be an isolated issue.

Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner Knife with Hook

Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner Knife with Hook
The Benchmade Saddle Mountain gut hook knife product picture

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The Saddle Mountain Skinner knife is a variant of Benchmade’s popular Saddle Mountain fixed blade knife. It’s made using CPM-S30V carbon steel and has a 4.17 in full tang blade.

It uses traditional wood scales in a really nice dark pattern. The blade itself uses a drop point profile with a pronounced curve and large gut hook on the back. It weighs just under 5 oz and has an overall length of 8.73 in.

We’ll be honest, the Saddle Mountain Skinner is a really handsome knife. The steel has that perfect sheen to it, the wood comes looking freshly oiled, and the included natural leather sheath perfectly completes the look of a classic mountain blade.

The Saddle Mountain Skinner provides excellent performance and edge retention and is just the right size for processing game. It’s right at the top of the market price wise but you get a high-quality blade that will last for years with proper care.

Buck Knives Open Season Skinner Guthook Pro

Buck Knives Open Season Skinner Guthook Pro
The Buck Knives gut hook knife product picture

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Buck Knives has been making quality blades for over 100 years. Their Open Season Skinner Guthook Pro is a full tang fixed blade game knife made from S35VN steel.

It has a 4.5 in long blade that uses a drop point profile. The handle is made from O.D. green micarta composite and has a highly textured grip. Buck uses a squared off design for their gut hooks. It’s designed to provide better edge retention on the gut hook through long term use.

The angle of the handle is ergonomically designed to allow comfortable use while processing large game. It comes standard with a black leather sheath and is backed by Buck’s Forever Warranty. This is an industry leading lifetime warranty on workmanship and materials of their knife.

Overall the Buck Open Season GutHook Skinner is a high-quality skinning knife made from premium materials. It has a more modern look than some other such knives and is priced near the top of the market.

KA-BAR Game Hook Knife

KA-BAR Game Hook Knife
The KA-BAR Game gut hook knife product picture

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The KA-BAR Game Hook Knife is a fixed blade full tang skinning knife from the makers of the famous Marine Corp Fighting Knife. It’s made from DIN 1.4116 stainless steel and has a 3.25 in blade.

The handle is made from really nice leather strips and polished to a high gloss. It fits comfortably in the hand and has enough blade space to get the job done without adding additional weight. It has an overall length of 7.25 in yet weighs just over 3 oz.

It comes with a natural leather sheath with a button clip to hold the knife securely in place. The blade steel takes an edge easily and is corrosion resistant but isn’t quite as hard as some other gut hook knives.

The KA-BAR Game Hook Knife is a well designed skinning and gutting knife from a quality manufacturer. It’s not too expensive and gives you everything you need to process game effectively.

Case Gut Hook Hunter Knife with Mushroom Cap

Case Gut Hook Hunter Knife with Mushroom Cap
The Case gut hook knife product picture

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The Case Gut Hook Hunter Knife is a full tang fixed blade hunting knife designed for skinning and processing game animals. It uses Tru-Sharp stainless steel and has a 4 in blade.

It’s available in a number of different handle and color options with leather being the most popular. The mushroom cap refers to the small circular cap on the bottom of the handle that prevents the blade from slipping in your hand.

The Gut Hook Hunter Knife has an overall length of 8.5 in and weighs 4.8 oz. It uses a handsome natural leather handle and comes with a leather sheath that clips closed around it.

Overall this is a fine knife from a well known manufacturer. It’s about the middle of the pack price wise but gives you quality features and good workmanship.

Gerber Myth Fixed Blade Gut Hook Pro Knife

Gerber Myth Fixed Blade Gut Hook Pro Knife
The Gerber Myth gut hook knife product picture

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The Gerber Myth is a full tang fixed blade gut hook skinning knife. It’s made from 7Cr17MoV stainless steel and has a 3.75 in long blade.

It uses a drop point blade profile with a corrosion resistant coating on the blade. The handle is made from composite materials with a textured rubber coating. This gives you a lightweight blade that’s still quite sturdy.

It’s 8.5 in long total and weighs just 4.9 oz. One of the coolest features of the Gerber Myth is its puncture resistant hard plastic sheath. It holds the Myth securely with a double lock system and includes a built-in carbide sharpener to quickly touch up your blade.

The Gerber Myth is a quality full tang skinning knife with a well designed gut hook. It’s made from good materials and costs significantly less than many competitors.

Buck Knives Omni Hunter 12pt Guthook Folding Knife

Buck Knives Omni Hunter Guthook Folding Knife
The Buck Knives Omni gut hook knife product picture

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The Omni Hunter 12PT is a folding hunter’s knife with a built in guthook. It has a 4 in blade made from 420HC stainless steel and weighs 4.6 oz.

This gives you good corrosion resistance and reasonable edge retention. It won’t last as long as higher carbon steels but it is easier to sharpen and care for.

It’s designed with a prominent thumb stud to allow easy one handed opening. The blade is held securely in place with a spine lock.

The handle is made from black Dynaflex rubber and has an ergonomic shape that makes it easy to use for long periods of work. It comes with a nylon belt sheath that snaps closed around it when not in use.

The Buck Knives Omni Hunter 12PT is a quality folding gut hook knife. It gives you good performance for a reasonable price.

Gerber Vital Skin and Gut Knife

Gerber Vital Skin and Gut Knife
The Gerber Vital gut hook knife product picture

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The Gerber Vital Skin and Gut Knife is a highly specialized tool specifically for processing game animals. It uses an ergonomic handle and blade design to provide the fastest and easiest solution for cleaning game.

The blade is made from 7cr13 steel and is 2.8 in long. That doesn’t tell the whole story though as the blade is mostly curved, with a gut hook positioned on the back. It doesn’t have a point at all, instead relying on the rocking motion of your hand to separate the skin from the meat.

The blaze orange handle is made from glass-filled nylon with an impact resistant rubber overmold. It’s designed to fit comfortably against your palm with the blade sticking out more like a saw than a traditional knife.

It comes with a blaze orange and black sheath that’s easy to spot and securely holds your knife.

The Gerber Vital is one of the best field sized tools for skinning and gutting a game animal. It’s lightweight, ergonomically designed and extremely affordable.

Mossberg Skinning Knife with Gut-Hook

Mossberg Skinning Knife with Gut-Hook
The Mossberg gut hook knife product picture

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The Mossberg Skinning Knife with Gut-Hook is a fixed blade knife made from stainless steel. The blade is 3.5. in long with an overall length of 6.75 in. The blade holds an edge reasonably well but isn’t as sharp or as long lasting as a high carbon steel.

It has a pronounced curve to make it easier to separate the skin from the meat when cleaning. It has a composite handle in a woodland camo pattern and weighs just 3.5 oz.

It comes with a black nylon sheath with a snap closure to hold it securely in place. Probably the best thing about this knife is its price. It comes in at right around $10, significantly less expensive than similar tools.

If you’re looking for a low-cost entry level gut hook hunting knife the Mossberg Skinning Knife with Gut Hook should bear some consideration.

Buyers Guide to Buying the Best Gut Hook Knife

When it comes to gut hook knives there aren’t that many features you need to consider. The biggest ones come down to price, material, and size.

There’s also handle style and grip pattern but that’s more about personal preference than overall quality.


Gut hook knives don’t need to be fancy. They’re hard working tools designed for a specific purpose. Because of that they don’t need to use high end materials, fancy coatings or other features that up the price of knives.

You can get an entry level skinning knife with gut hook for around $10 and a top of the line one that will last a lifetime for $100.

Most gut hook knives will cost right around $50 to $80.

Full Tang or Folding

Gut hook knives are designed specifically for field dressing and gutting game animals. A full tang fixed blade knife is the best tool for this without a doubt but there’s definitely a place for folding gut hook knives.

Fixed blade gut hook knives are always going to be sturdier and heavier duty. It’s the difference between a latch and a solid piece of steel.

That’s not to say folding blade knives won’t work. There are tons of quality folding blade skinning and gut hook knives out there. You just need to balance portability against functionality.

Handle and Grip

The motion used to skin and gut a carcass can put a lot of strain on your hands. Many gut hook knives have a curved handle that lets you apply more pressure to your stroke without stressing your hand as much.

Most use either a polymer or traditional leather handle. The polymer handles have patterned grips on them that give you purchase even if the knife gets wet or slippery.

This makes it easier to keep working throughout the cleaning process.

Blade and Steel Quality

Gut hook knives are all straight blades knives, usually with a noticeably upturned curve to the blade. They have a gut hook on the back edge of the blade and are made from a variety of different steel types.

Less expensive versions use stainless steel such as 420HC or 8Cr13MoV. These provide a good balance of performance and corrosion resistance without breaking the bank.

They won’t hold an edge quite as long as a true high carbon steel but they’re a lot easier to take care of.

More expensive knives will use blade steel such as CPM-S30V, S35VN or VG-10. These are high-end steel alloys that contain a mix of steel, high carbon content, and metals such as molybdenum, chromium or vanadium.

These give you a very hard blade that will hold a razor edge well and stand up to corrosion. For that performance you should be ready to pay a much higher price.

Knife Size and Weight

If this is your first gutting knife you might be surprised at the size of them. A lot of people picture big 8-10 inch Bowie knives, when most gutting knives are under 5 inches long.

They’re designed for carefully skinning and cleaning a game animal. You don’t need a huge amount of blade space to do this effectively.

Most avid hunters recommend a blade length of between 3 and 4 inches. If you’re going after big game you might need something a little larger but as long as your technique is good you’ll do just fine with a smaller blade.

As for weight you want a bit of heft to your blade. That makes it easier to cut through membranes and separate the hide from the meat. Look for something around 5-8 oz.

That gives you a quality knife that’s not too heavy.

Is the Gut Hook Knife Part of a Field Dressing Knife Set?

Some gut hook knives come as part of a full field dressing knife set. These include skinning knives, gutting knives, bone saws, cleavers, and a variety of other useful tools.

If you want to fully process your game it’s not a bad idea to consider a full kit.


Depending on whether you go for a folding or fixed blade gutting knife a sheath will be more or less useful. For folding knives a pocket clip or other attachment point is often enough.

Fixed blade knives should always have a sheath and you should always store them inside it when not in use. The best sheath for you is going to depend on your personal aesthetics.

Some people like the more tactical look of kydex and polymers. Others go in for classic leather or worked hide.

Top Gut Hook Knives Video

FAQ: Best Gut Hook Knives

As avid campers and hunters, it’s essential to have the right tools in your arsenal, and a gut hook knife is undoubtedly one of them. However, we understand that you may have some questions about these specialized knives. In this FAQ section, we aim to address the most common queries and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision when choosing the best gut hook knife for your camping or hunting adventures.

From understanding what a gut hook knife is to learning about its uses, maintenance, and legal considerations, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to guide you. Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a camping enthusiast looking to explore new terrain, this section will help shed light on the various aspects of gut hook knives.

Read on to discover the answers to these questions and gain insights into selecting the right gut hook knife for your needs. Let’s dive in!

What is a gut hook knife?

A gut hook knife is a specialized tool designed for field dressing game animals. It features a sharpened hook on the spine of the blade, close to the tip. This hook is used to open the abdominal cavity of an animal while minimizing the risk of puncturing the internal organs.

Why do I need a gut hook knife for hunting or camping?

A gut hook knife is essential for hunters and campers who engage in field dressing or skinning game animals. It allows for quick and efficient processing of game without damaging the internal organs. It also helps prevent hair and debris from getting on the meat, ensuring a cleaner, more hygienic process.

How does a gut hook knife differ from a regular knife?

Unlike a regular knife, a gut hook knife has a specialized hook-shaped blade on the spine. This hook is designed to make a precise incision through the animal’s hide and muscle, without cutting too deep and risking damage to the internal organs. Regular knives are not specifically designed for this purpose and may not provide the same level of control or safety.

Are gut hook knives only for hunting?

While gut hook knives are primarily used for hunting, they can also be handy for various camping and outdoor activities. These knives can be useful for tasks such as cutting rope, opening packages, or performing small cutting tasks in the wilderness. Their versatility makes them a valuable tool to have on camping trips.

What factors should I consider when choosing a gut hook knife?

When selecting a gut hook knife, consider the following factors:

  • Blade Quality: Look for high-quality stainless steel blades that are durable, corrosion-resistant, and retain their sharpness.
  • Handle Design: Opt for a comfortable and ergonomic handle that provides a secure grip, even in wet or slippery conditions.
  • Blade Size: Consider the length and width of the blade, ensuring it suits your intended use and personal preferences.
  • Sheath: A good sheath is essential for safe storage and easy access to the knife. Look for a sheath that is sturdy, secure, and offers convenient carrying options.

Are gut hook knives difficult to maintain?

Not necessarily. Gut hook knives generally require the same care and maintenance as other knives. Keep the blade clean and dry to prevent rusting, and periodically sharpen the blade using a suitable sharpening tool. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance and storage to ensure the longevity of your gut hook knife.

Can I sharpen a gut hook knife myself?

Yes, you can sharpen a gut hook knife yourself. However, sharpening the gut hook can be a bit challenging due to its unique shape. Consider using specialized sharpening tools designed specifically for gut hooks. Alternatively, you can seek the assistance of a professional knife sharpener who has experience working with gut hook knives.

Can gut hook knives be used for self-defense?

While gut hook knives can be sharp and potentially used as a self-defense tool, they are not specifically designed for that purpose. There are more suitable knife options available for self-defense situations, such as fixed-blade or folding knives designed for personal protection.

Are gut hook knives legal to carry?

The legality of carrying a gut hook knife depends on the specific laws and regulations of your country, state, or local jurisdiction. It is important to familiarize yourself with the relevant laws regarding knife possession and carry in your area before deciding to carry a gut hook knife.

Best Gut Hook Knife Recap

Final Thoughts

As long as you know what type of game you’re using it for picking out the best gut hook knife is easy.

Set a budget, decide on what features you want and pick out the best knife for your needs.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a knife but you shouldn’t immediately go for something cheap either.

2 thoughts on “9 Best Gut Hook Knives for Hunting”

  1. I recently purchased the Gerber Gator Premium, and it’s an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts. The carbon steel blade is incredibly durable and retains sharpness through various conditions. The ergonomic handle provides a secure grip, even in wet weather. While the sheath could be better, the knife itself is top-notch. It’s a bit pricey, but for the quality and reliability it offers, it’s worth the investment. Highly recommend for hunters and campers alike.


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