Review: Estwing Hatchet Hunter’s Axe With Gut Hook
Russ Chastain 07.24.18
The Estwing name means quality, and this Estwing hatchet is no exception. The Hunter’s Axe was, naturally, designed for hunters. It can be used to maintain your camp or deer stand area, and can also be used to dress your critters.
When I first saw this at the SHOT Show, I knew I needed to try it out for the sake of our readers, and I’m glad I did.
I used the Estwing hatchet on game at the earliest opportunity, which was on a nice fat Georgia whitetail. The oversized gut hook worked fine, even “unzipping” the hide down the hind legs for skinning purposes. The molded-on rubbery “shock reduction” handle provides excellent grip. It’s tapered so it’s fatter at the base, and that helps keep it in your hand.
Gut hooks can be too small. I’m reminded of a great-looking little frame-lock folder with a small gut hook, which I tried to use on a deer once.
The tiny gut hook just kept filling up with hair and getting jammed up. That is not a problem with the Estwing Hunter’s Axe.
Here are some specs:
- Solid Steel
- Hand-sharpened edge
- 3″ edge
- 14.25″ length
- 2.75″ gut hook for field dressing large game
- Orange or black Shock Reduction Grip®
- Black nylon sheath included (Made in Taiwan)
- Hatchet is made in the U.S.A.
It also works well for chopping light brush, although there are better hatchets for that job. I say that because the length of the cutting edge is rather short for the size of this hatchet. It’s more of a game-dressing tool, and that’s where it works the best.
That said, I did need to use the back side of the Estwing hatchet to hammer on the hinge pin for a farm fence gate, and although it was not made for hammering on stuff, the only casualty was some of the black paint — which brings me to my next point.
The black paint you see on this hunting axe is far from permanent. Not only will it chip and flake off due to abrasion as mentioned above, but the axe itself will rust and bubble up the paint. You can see in these photos that the hatchet, which unfortunately got wet in the back of my truck, had a lot of the paint lifting when I dug it out to write this review — and then I removed the loose paint pretty easily with fingernail & knife blade. The before & after photos show it all.
And while it’s true that I shouldn’t have stored this hatchet in a damp location, it’s equally true that hunting gear gets wet, and potential buyers should know what to expect from this axe’s finish. It’s still a good hatchet.
And finally, the sheath isn’t great, but it will suffice. The exterior, including the pouch for the sharpening stone, consists of a Cordura-like black fabric. The liner is made of cheaper stuff, some sort of black vinyl that feels as if it has a cardboard backing. This sheath is sadly made in Taiwan, unlike all of Estwing’s tools which are made in the USA, and it does provide good coverage of the blade and hook for transport.
The sharpening stone probably won’t see a ton of use as I generally don’t use stones to sharpen axes, but its curved surfaces might make it perfect for touching up the gut hook. You certainly want to use something curved/rounded for that job.
All in all, the Estwing Hunter’s Axe is a hunting hatchet that should last a lifetime and then some, and ought to be home trimming brush around your hunting spot, making tent pegs, splitting lighter-wood for kindling, or shucking out big game animals. If you agree, swing by Amazon and pick one up today.