How to Sharpen Your Hunting Knives

A good hunter has strength, wisdom, and great instincts. But he wouldn’t be venturing into the woods without all of his equipment. He needs all the right tools so that he’s ready for those fleeting moments wherein he comes within range of his game. And even after he ends up claiming his prize, he still needs a lot of hunting essentials to maximize his victory. One such tool is a hunting knife.

Each time you require a knife, you will need it to be sharp. It can be used for skinning, caping, deboning, butchering, and a lot of other tasks, so as a hunter you must keep your hunting knives in perfect working condition.
And while it is recommended for beginners to have their knives sharpened by a professional, you can always opt to do it yourself. You just need a few tools and the right knowledge to properly execute the sharpening process.
Luckily, this guide has you covered on the knowledge department. Here you will learn the basics of sharpening your knives, so that you can hunt to your fullest potential. Get your knives ready, folks.

Usual Tools
There are many sharpening tools out there that you can buy for your knives. They may vary in terms of service, so here we will guide you on their differences.

The most common way of sharpening your hunting knife is by using an Arkansas stone. It is an all-purpose stone that is suitable for maintaining a sharp edge for all of your tools. This is usually made up of two stones with different levels of roughness that are glued together. Before using this, you will have to lubricate the Arkansas stone with oil.

A ceramic sharpener is also a viable option, although this is more commonly used when finishing the sharpening process. The advantage of these sharpeners is that they do not require lubrication.

If you want to do it quicker, you can always go for a diamond sharpener. We all know that this is the hardest substance on Earth, so what better way to get your knife into shape than by rubbing them against these heavy-duty sharpeners? Do keep in mind that diamond is considered an ‘aggressive’ tool, so be careful when using these on your precious hunting knives.

Sharpening Your Knife
Now sharpening your knife is a simple process if you know how to do it. But in order to achieve razor-sharp edges, you will have to be very careful and consistent.

When using an Arkansas stone, you must start with the coarser stone and work downwards to the finest stone. Lay either the heel side or the tip of the knife on the stone at the correct angle. Then begin gently sweeping it down to the tip of the blade, as if you were slicing. You know you are doing it right if you are producing an arc shape while doing so.

It is usually enough to do eight to ten swipes, but you can repeat this process until you get your desired results.
The angle at which you do this is crucial to the success of your sharpening session, because it may come out with a variety of results. What you need to know is that knives usually come with bevels on both sides. That means if the instructions tell you to sharpen it at a 20 degree angle, you must do so for both sides. There are certain knives that are only beveled on one side, so you only need to sharpen that side on a 20 degree angle.
Other than that, just remember to be consistent with the number of swipes you do on both sides, and your knives should come out looking good as new.

It is not easy keeping this consistency while sharpening your knives, so you can always use an angle guide while doing this. The sharpening process is something that must be mastered, and executed very carefully. Come to think of it, it’s no different from hunting. You must be observant and precise, keeping all your movements calculated to get the most favorable result.