I think I may have found it. Let me place stress on the word “may”.
Before I get started, let me give you a full disclosure. I haven’t used the knife I am about suggest as the best folding knife for hunting in the field. Additionally, it may be quite some time before I actually do try one of these in the field as I picked one of these bad boys up and gave it away as a Christmas gift. This means I may change my mind, but having held this knife and inspecting it closely I don’t think it’s likely. At least until something better comes along.
With no further ado, the knife I am talking about is the Benchmade Grizzly Creek.
Okay. Okay. You maybe thinking that there is no way a folding knife can be as good as a fixed blade knife for hunting applications. Specifically, for breaking down and harvesting game. To that I say, you are right. I prefer a fixed blade. Every day, all day. In fact, my favorite hunting knife right now is the Buck Knives 537 Open Season Guthook Pro. But bear with me, I’ll make a good argument for a this Benchmade folding knife as a companion.
I’m all for having a fixed blade on/in my hunting pack. However, carrying a fixed blade on my person while hunting doesn’t always work. Fixed blades are just a bit more bulky. They require a sheath. To be honest, I’d rather leave a fixed blade in my pack and keep a folder on my person. If you share this sentiment, then keep reading. If you don’t, then keep reading anyway as you may change your mind.
It should be apparent that I like a gut hooks. However, most gut hooks on a fixed blade are generally placed along the spine of the knife near the tip. This can be a little inconvenient for tasks that require piercing of game like placing a tag or prepping it for lifting it on a hoist as the gut hook tends to snag after piercing. As such, I’d rather not have a gut hook on near the tip of the knife. This means carrying a separate gut hook, which as an idea I like even less.
This is where the Benchmade Grizzly Creek comes in.
Being a folding knife, it’s easy enough to carry in a pocket. There is no need for an additional sheath on a belt. Making this knife really easy to carry.
The main blade doesn’t have a gut hook on it at all. This makes piercing task easy as it doesn’t snag after piercing. Which is one of my pet peeves with a knife with a gut hook on the spine near the tip of the blade.
The gut hook is actually a separate tool that can be folded out when it’s needed and put away when it isn’t. This eliminates the need for a separate gut hook, which is yet another plus for me. Especially, when attempting to carry a separate gut hook on your person.
The blade itself is, in my opinion, the perfect size. The blade is 3.5″ long which is plenty long for all skinning and quartering needs for medium sized game. The blade length on a folder requires a handle of at least equivalent length and that length is the minimum I prefer to get a full grip on a knife. Honestly, this knife is extremely comfortable to hold and work with.
You maybe wondering about the blade steel quality which I’ve posted about previously. The blade on this knife is made from CPM-S30VN which happens to be a high-end steel. This steel offer very good edge retention, average ease of sharpening, average toughness, and good corrosion resistance. In my book, these qualities are just about perfect for a hunting knife. I can’t imagine it failing while quartering game after a very successful hunt.
The handle material is made from stabilized wood. The wood is beautiful and feels great in the hand. To be completely honest, I would have preferred Micarata or G10 handles over the wood from a practical perspective. However assuming the wood holds in the elements while covered in medium game biologicals, the knife should be near perfect while working.
One thing that does have me worried about this knife’s ability to perform is the sharpness of the gut hook’s guiding edge. It’s a bit on the rough and sharp side which could result in accidentally puncturing the gut sack when zippering game open. However, this maybe a none starter and I will need to confirm that on the field.
The other thing that has me concerned is the serviceability of the knife. Hunting knives get dirty. Fixed blades are easy to clean to dry. A folding knife offers lots of little nooks and crannies where game bits can get lodged and cause issues. As such, I don’t think it will replace the role of a good fixed blade all together.
With all of that in mind, I have to admit that I really like, and I mean really like, this knife. I plan on picking one up in the near future and giving it ago. I hope it ends up being the best folding knife hunting as I imagine it will.