How to Sharpen a Hunting Knife: The Ultimate Guide

Your hunting knife was all good when you first bought it, but of late, it is causing you some trouble, and being precise, it is now losing its sharpness and becoming dull, and you just don’t know how to bring it to life once again.

If this is your problem, then you are at the right place for the solution because in this article we will show you how to sharpen a hunting knife.

The best ways to sharpen a hunting knife will also be shown to you, as well as some super cool hacks to keep your knife looking stylish.

Sharpening a hunting knife is not very easy, and we will be honest with that; you do need a fair amount of skill and time to do that.

You can also practice sharpening knives with some spare blades which you don’t use anymore and just use them to get good at sharpening the knife of your choice.

These days hunting knives are made up of rugged steel, which enhances its edge retention, which is vital in resisting the dressing of an entire animal without being required to sharpen it in the field.

A golden nugget you must always keep in mind is to make sure to sharpen your knife before your knife becomes dull.

Another thing you must keep in mind before sharpening a blade is nailing the angle of the blade. The hunting knives, survival knives, and pocket knives should be between 25-30 degrees. Boning knives, kitchen knives should be between 18-25 degrees while razors should be between 12-18 degrees, and machetes should be between 30-35

So, now with that bit of information out of the window, let’s fill you in with some valuable tips that will help keep your hunting in the best condition possible.



Whetstone is a pretty old sharpening stone. Back in the day, or we should say since the dark ages, whetstone was used to sharpen and shape different types of knives.

Beginners should always start with a whetstone as they are a bit more forgiving than ceramic and diamond stones, which are also brilliant, but they are not very polished and take out more material from the blade as well.

Seasoned artisans mostly use ceramic and diamond stones as they have reasonable control and are aware of the different angles that are needed for sharpening a hunting knife.

You must also remember not to use any sort of power-driven grinding wheel to sharpen your outdoor knife as it is meant to sharpen the standard kitchen knives and chef knives, but you do risk burning the blade’s temper.

How to Make Sure your Whetstone is ready for use?

To make sure that your whetstone is ready for use, you need to follow the instructions below.

First, you must clean the stone as residues like oil or metal shavings can make the stone untidy, which can have a negative effect on the sharpening process.

With the help of some hot water, clean the stone, then scrub it with the use of a brush until the dirt is gone.

True to its name, the whetstone must remain wet and soaked in water with a hose or a bucket for at least five minutes.

Whetstone is a very unstable stone and very often slides around when someone is using it. However, you can make a holder to keep it stable, or a rag underneath should also work just as fine.

Add a teaspoon of oil onto the stone as well because the oil will lessen the heat produced by friction while also keeping the metal shavings at bay.

Sharpie as a Sharpener

Using a sharpie as your blade sharpener is a very convenient way of sharpening your knife and probably the easiest way as well. Take your sharpie and just draw a line over the angle of the knife.

After this, you need to stroke your knife over a stone for a while. This is where getting angles right is critical, as holding it at the right angle would mean that the sharpie mark over the blade would disappear, but it won’t go if your angles are wrong.

If the bottom of the knife has some markings, but there is no marking on the top, it means that the angle is too flat, and you should increase it.

Similarly, if it is the other way around, you just need to lower the angle.

Extra Tip

Many prefer a coarser grit first and then go for a finer grit, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.

Knives with a soft metal tend to wear faster in which one should go for coarse grit and then a finer grit but remember not to leave the edges rough.

Knives that are hard wear down slowly as they are very durable and sturdy. A fine grit or a medium grit should be just right for you if you carry a stiff knife with you.

Should you be Counting Strokes?

Although this question is very much up for debate as you cannot precisely know how many strokes you should go for when stroking your knife.

According to most experts, it is generally agreed that your knife needs at least five strokes on each side. To sharpen a blunt hunting knife, one must make up at least 15 strokes on each side.

Experts also agree that you should always make the same amount of strokes on each side because if you do it unevenly, you risk shaving too much material from one side and not much from the other.

When Should You Go for a Finer Grinding Stone?

When you use a coarser grit, obviously, you run the risk of shaving too much material off your knife, which is certainly not what you want.

A burr should be an indicator for you to use a finer grit which basically appears when you sharpen them on one side, and the material gets collected upon the other edge.

Most of the time, a burr appears when you use a coarse grit, that is why it is not easy to spot a burr when the grit is finer. The burr may be a bit hard to find, but it can be felt; that is why never run your finger down the blade as you will cut yourself.

A much better way to see if you are making any progress is to run it from the spine to the edge of the knife. You will have to go on and use a finer grindstone when you cannot see or feel a burr.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to sharpen a curved knife?

Sharpening a curved knife is certainly not as difficult as it seems and is basically just like Sharpening a straight knife. It is just that the products are a bit different. Most straight blades are sharpened with a flat stone, but since a curved knife-like Kukri or hawkbill has an inward curve, they must be sharpened with a round-edged stone. The angles and the sharpening process are all the same, but it is just that a round-edged stone is crucial because it can contact the blade ideally.

Why do you need a coarse-grit sharpening stone?

The coarse stone is probably one of the most dependable sharpening stones out there. If there is a blunt edge in your blade, this is the stone that will help you the most. The more delicate stones are required when you have to refine the edge and make it more sharper.


We hope our in-depth guide on how to sharpen a hunting knife has provided you with the help and value that you were looking for.

Remember, the golden of sharpening your knife before it gets dull because if it keeps on becoming stale, it will be a mammoth task to point it. Also, dull knives are very dangerous as they are much exceedingly harder to work with, so keep that in mind.

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