Re: Quality Hunting Knives
I used to be a certifiable knife freak. Probably have around 80 hunting style knives. In my previous job I was involved in urban deer control and have probably field dressed around 400 deer with my blades.
Some will claim you don't need a big bowie knife to gut a deer. That a small pocket knife will do. That may be, but I always preferred a 5-8" blade. The longer blade goes deeper into the carcass, so my hand doesn't have to go in as deep.
Some blades have a lot of curve to them, some are straighter. My whetstones are flat, so I prefer blades that are more straight rather than with big, sweeping curves. I especially hate concave curves on blades.
I've got loads of cheaper knives and some pricier ones. Some of the knives I continued to go to year after year were made by Gerber, Schrade, A.G. Russel, and a few more obscure brands. Have some Buck knives. Always had a harder time putting a sharp edge on them. It's ashame they don't make Blackjack knives anymore.
There are trade offs. A blade that keeps an edge will be harder to sharpen than one from softer steel. Don't have many stainless blades, so can't comment really on if it's harder to sharpen.
Some personal prejudices: I don't like gut hooks or serrated edges. Never liked the look of tanto-style blades. Had a folding multi-blade knife that included a blade with a round, tear-drop shaped projection over the tip of the blade (blade tip was blunt & couldn't puncture the guts). I liked it for "unzipping" the abdominal cavity after I'd cut through the skin/fur. A blade with a "sawblade" edge is great for cutting through the sternum and pelvis bones.
Have some $100-$200 knives. The fit and finish of the parts is wonderful. They're great to look at and come with a razor sharp edge (unlike cheaper, factory knives). As far as getting the job done on game are they better than my $30 Schrade or Gerber? Probably not, but us knife freaks appreciate the difference.
Someone mentioned knives by Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT). I have a couple smaller, pocket knives from them. I like them a lot too. But heck, I like nearly all knives. Had a $5 knife from Pakistan that was a breeze to sharpen. For 2 or 3 deer, it had one helluva edge!
Never owned a ceramic knife. Don't know about them.