There is a practical approach, and an artistic approach. Most of us don’t have the artistic flair for a sharp edge, so lets concentrate on the practical. The goal is to maintain the cutting edge as fine as possible.
Blade angle is the key to “Sharp”. When a butcher uses a steel, it’s an art that most people can’t replicate. Think about running the blade up and down the steel, it’s extremely difficult to maintain a constant contact angle throughout the up and down stroke on both sides of the blade. Most of us pretend we can judge that angle in space, but most of the time the edge is rolled over, and never really gets truly sharp. There are a number of tools from Lansky and Russell that can be kept in a pocket and put a fine edge on a blade in no time at all. Both these tools will retain a 25° angle, which I think is a good compromise for a hunting knife. Check ‘em out, use ‘em, I think you’ll like them.