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

Best Gut Hook Knife

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 Gut Hook Knife

Buy from Amazon

The Gerber Gator Premium is a fixed blade gut hook knife. It’s made from CPM-S30V carbon steel and has a 4 inch blade. This gives you excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance.

The handle is made from glass-filled nylon with a rubber overmold. This helps keep the weight down, 8 oz total, while still giving you a sturdy handle and firm grip.

It uses a modified drop point blade profile with a great curve leading up to the gut hook. The end of the handle has a punch through that allows you to attach a leather strap or similar to stop yourself from accidentally dropping it.

The Gerber Gator Premium Fixed Gut Hook knife is definitely on the high end of the price range but for that you get a quality gutting knife that won’t let you down when it counts.

Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner Knife with Hook

Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner Hook Knife

Buy from Amazon

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 Guthook Pro

Buy from Amazon

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

Buy from Amazon

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 Mushroom Cap Hunter Knife

Buy from Amazon

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 Pro Gut Hook Blade

Buy from Amazon

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 Blade

Buy from Amazon

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

Buy from Amazon

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 Hunting Gut Hook Knife

Buy from Amazon

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.

Price

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.

Sheath

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.

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.