How To Sharpen A Hunting Knife

Learning how to sharpen a hunting knife is a key skill to becoming a good hunter. A dull hunting knife is good for nothing more than a belt ornament. The good news is, sharpening a hunting knife is relatively easy with the right tools. Humans have been hunters from the first time we realized "hey we're hungry" and "hey, I'm tired of leaves and berries." Sharpening a hunting knife is so simple, our earliest ancestors figured how to do it. Well, first off they invented sharpened objects to use for cutting and stabbing. Then they figured out how to maintain the sharpness of those objects. All they had were rocks to rub together. We've got specialized tools to make sharpening hunting knives more efficient. It's the technique that matters more so than the tools.

What you can use:

  • whet stone
  • ceramic brick or bar
  • steel bar
  • flat stone


  1. How to sharpen your hunting knife with a whet stone.  Whet stones are probably the most recognizable tools used in sharpening hunting knives. It's nothing more than a smooth grayish colored rectangular shaped stone. You can find these at almost any hunting store. Notice how your knife blade usually has one side that's more angled. This side is is the side you'll be rubbing against the stone. So here it goes. First, soak the whet stone in water. Gripping the knife with the blade facing away from you. Rub the angled side of the blade against the whet stone at about a 60 degree angle. You can tell you've sharpened the blade when you can barely touch it with your thumb and you can feel a poke from the blade. If you have a blade with two angled sides to it, just flip it over and follow this technique.
  2. Ceramic brick or bar. These things resemble the sharpeners that come with a home knife cooking set. They work just as well at sharpening a hunting knife as a whet stone. You should use the same swiping technique that you'd use with the whet stone. You don't, however, have to soak the ceramic tool in water.
  3. Steel bar. The technique to sharpening a hunting knife with a steel bar is a little different from the other two. With a steel bar, you need to actually swipe the blade at about a twenty degree angle and pull the knife towards you. Then you flip the blade and do the same if it's necessary. Ten swipes should do it.
  4. A flat stone. If you're out in the woods and, for whatever reason, you've forgotten your whet stone or ceramic brick you can use the flat surface of a stone in a pinch. The only problem with sharpening a hunting knife with a stone found in nature is the imperfections on the stone. This is probably the least efficient way of sharpening a hunting knife but it can be done. Grip the knife like you would when sharpening it on a whet stone. Use the whet stone sharpening technique. Don't get frustrated, this method takes a little more time. But hey, if our less advanced ancestors could make it work so can you
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