Kershaw makes a lot of great knives. There probably aren’t many outdoorsmen or collectors that will argue with that statement. They’re affordable, reliable, and made from high-quality components.
Kershaw has also led the pack in terms of technological innovation. It was Kershaw that brought the knife community SpeedSafe Assisted Opening and Composite Blade technology, even if they didn’t “invent” the ideas.
But if there’s one thing that Kershaw hasn’t done as well as some other knife makers, say, such as ESEE or OKC or Buck, it’s been the production of hunting knives for sportsmen that take their knives afield expressly for the purpose of skinning, gutting, and breaking down their harvests. If you’re looking for a Kershaw hunting knife, there just aren’t that many great options.
This isn’t to say that Kershaw isn’t great, because it definitely produces some of the most popular models in the industry.
For better or worse, Kershaw has leveraged most of its resources to develop pocket knives for EDC and collectors. They’re great knives, but they’re better for cutting through seat belts and breaking down boxes than they are for hunters.
By and large, hunters use fixed blades to gut, skin, cape, and quarter. Folding knives are convenient but there’s a lot of area for blood and grease to gum up the action. Plus, fixed blades are much more structurally sound.
And yes, Kershaw has developed some really high-quality fixed blades like the Camp series – think the Camp 5 and Camp 10, for example. They’re extremely durable knives, but a little large for most hunters. Great for loggers, perhaps, but not hunters.
Now Kershaw has given us something really useful, and we’re confident that hunters are going to love it. It also appears to be designed expressly for them, actually.
Enter the Kershaw Deschutes. It’s equal parts Kershaw-tactical-DNA and Canadian Belt Knife, and 100% practical.
This knife is styled as a caper – making it great for skinning, and the design of that knife will uphold that claim.
It’s 7” overall and features a 3.3” D2 blade that is .5” wide. The D2 steel used in this model is extremely tough and holds an edge for a while. It’s not perfectly corrosion-resistant, so if you get one be conscientious about exposing it to moisture; always clean it before storage. It also takes a razor-sharp edge.
The blade profile is just as the name suggests – it’s a caper but it has a fairly fine point, which gives it some added versatility for hunters. It can be used for gutting as well as skinning. You just need to exhibit some extra caution with that finer point to avoid making unwanted punctures to the hide or viscera as you’re working.
That said, the wide, swept belly is great for making long, arcing cuts needed to separate the skin from a carcass or to remove cuts of meat from the bone. There is adequate jimping on the spine, not only right before the grip but also above the point of the knife, giving even better control.
The knife sports an olive polypropylene handle with a rubber overlay and is aggressively textured. The drab color is perfect in the woods – it won’t give you away (just be careful you don’t set it down amongst the leaves) – and the texturing will afford you a sure grip, even if your hands are wet, cold, or slick with blood and fat.
It’s also only 1.7oz (3oz with the sheath) and comes with a glass-filled nylon sheath that has webbing straps, a removable belt strap, and a drainage hole – making it perfect for hunters, lightweight, and MOLLE-compatible. It can be mounted any way you need.
It’s refreshing to see that Kershaw has finally released a Kershaw hunting knife that’s actually influenced by the needs of hunters – and made for them.
If you want to get one at a great price, now’s the perfect time of the year. Fall is only a few months away. Visit White Mountain Knives online at WhiteMountainKnives.com. They offer great prices on all of their Kershaw knives and tools (not just this one) and offer free shipping in the U.S. as well.