One of the integral tools of a hunter is a hunting knife, and it is expedient to know how it works and the functions of its features. Have you ever asked why do hunting knives have notches? This article informs you of the reason why hunting knives come with notches. In addition, you will learn the functions of these notches.

Why Do Hunting Knives Have Notches - Function of Notches

Why some hunting knives have notches and others don’t

When you check a hunting knife thoroughly, you will discover that it comes with many notches. It is crucial to note that the notch’s design and location determine its purpose. And not all hunting knives will have notches.

One of the reasons why some hunting knives and some kitchen knife brands have notches is for sharpening purposes. Other reasons are cutting, strengthened grip, and aesthetics. Even though notches have various functions, they are not vital as they offer improved convenience, especially during hunting animals or sharpening fishes.

Why some hunting knives have notches and others don’t

Knowing the function of a hunting knife with its notches

When you are out on a hunting expedition, you need to know the purpose of notches on a hunting knife. Some of them are important while others are not. Hunting knives are available in different shapes, designs, and sizes. And not all knife makers include notches on their hunting knives.

Sharpening choil

You might find a notch design on a hunting knife’s sharp edge. This is the point where the sharp edge meets the blade’s Ricasso. The blade’s Ricasso is the flat portion of the blade between the sharp edge and the handle.

The sharpening choil’s purpose is to give an endpoint where the knife’s sharpening edge stops. Most times, it is challenging to sharpen a knife blade up to its plunge line because not all sharpening tools can achieve this.

Hence, the sharpening choil is present as a notch that provides a good stopping place before getting to the plunge line. A knife or knives with saw backs with this notch is easy to sharpen on a whetstone.

Sharpening choil

Thumb jimping

Thumb jimping is a series of notches on the blade’s spine. If they are for aesthetics, they are found down the blade. However, if they are located close to the handle, there’s a function. The thumb jimping notch helps to give your forefinger or thumb a strengthened grip when you hold the blade’s spine.

Even though the notches are not utterly important, you will need them when a particular grip stance is needed, especially when cutting meat, fish, etc.

Thumb jimping

Gut Hook

Some hunting knife sets have a gut hook notch in the knife’s blade spine. This notch is found at an angle pointing in the knife’s tip direction. And the notch’s bottom, which has a curved edge, is sharpened.

The purpose of the gut hook notch is to cut fishing lines and other light cords easily. You can cut the fishing line by hooking it into the notch then pulling the knife towards yourself.


Why does my hunting knife have notches?

Hunting knives have notches for different purposes. Some of them help to strengthen your grip; others help for smooth sharpening amidst other functions.

What is the choil’s purpose on a hunting knife?

The choil’s size determines its purpose. If it is small, it acts as a stopping point to protect the handle when sharpening. In comparison, if it is large, it works as a forward finger grip.

What is the function of a thumb jimping on a hunting knife?

Jimping prevents your fingers from sliding when you are using the hunting knife.


Now that you understand why do hunting knives have notches, it is important to always watch out for them when you buy a hunting knife. If you need for any of the notches types, do your research before buying any hunting knife.