This year, I worked exclusively with Hogue Knives. Because both fixed-blade and replaceable-blade knives have their place, I used the Hogue Extrak Fixed-Blade Knife and the Hogue Expel Scalpel Knife on all my hunts.
While both fixed-blade and replaceable-blade knives have their advantages and disadvantages, there are several reasons why a fixed-blade knife might be considered better for mountain hunting:
- Durability: Fixed-blade knives are typically more durable than their replaceable-blade counterparts. They lack the additional moving parts that can potentially fail, making them better suited to handle the rigours of mountain hunting.
- Strength and Reliability: Fixed-blade knives are usually more robust and reliable than replaceable ones. They are better equipped to handle heavy-duty tasks like cutting through tough animal hide, bone and other materials typically encountered during hunting. If you need to work with wood for any reason, you’ll appreciate having a “real blade.”
- Safety: In terms of safety, fixed-blade knives are generally considered to be more secure because they do not have any moving parts that might break or malfunction during use. This can prevent accidents that may occur when a blade unexpectedly detaches from a knife during a critical moment. The fact that a fixed-blade knife can be sharp without being as crazy-sharp as a scalpel is a positive. For this reason, I let my daughter cut with the Extrak but not with the Expel Scalpel knife.
- Versatility: Fixed-blade knives are often more versatile in terms of their applications. They can be used for various tasks beyond just skinning and field dressing, such as splitting wood, building shelters, or preparing meals in the wilderness.
However, it’s essential to note that there are also advantages to using a replaceable-blade knife, such as the convenience of quickly changing out a dull blade for a sharp one without the need for sharpening tools. This can be particularly helpful when maintaining a consistently sharp edge during extended hunting trips.
Ultimately, the choice between a fixed blade and a replaceable-blade knife for mountain hunting depends on personal preference, specific hunting needs, and the individual’s comfort and familiarity with the tool. I prefer to carry both knives to ensure I have my bases covered. Because both knives are built with the mountain hunter in mind, the weight penalty for carrying two knives is negligible.