Typifying a hunting knife is literally impossible. If you’re carrying it and you’re hunting, it’s a hunting knife.
Now, that said, some knives are better designed for hunting and the jobs it entails than are others. Push daggers make pretty poor hunting knives, for example. I don’t think you’ll encounter a lot of resistance on that front.
So, let’s shift the focus here to a specific manufacturer – Kershaw, and, specifically, figure out if there are any good models that make a good “Kershaw hunting knife.”
Kershaw is better known for SpeedSafe Assisted Opening and Composite Blade Technology than it is for making knives for sportsmen. It’s also pretty well known for its ergonomic designs that are great for urban carry or for throwing in a trunk box as a backup.
But for hunting knives? That’s more the realm of Buck, OKC, and ESEE, or maybe even Cold Steel, is it not?
Yes and no – it’s really about what makes a good hunting knife, and for the record, there are some Kershaw models that would qualify.
What Makes a Good Hunting Knife (or a Good Kershaw Hunting Knife, Specifically)
There are a couple of qualities that make for a good hunting knife.
One might say that the blade must be “sharp” because a dull knife can be dangerous, but that goes without saying. Besides, almost any steel alloy can be made sharp and that’s on the hunter to provide.
Others might say it should be fixed, and we’d tend to agree. There are plenty of popular folding knives out there, like the classic Buck 110 Folding Hunter, but generally, and especially for breaking down larger game, a fixed blade is more reliable.
The other thing to keep in mind with fixed blades is that they are easier to clean. Folders have pivots and washers and moving parts that can get gummed up with blood, fat, grease, fur, feathers, and all sorts of other nasty things. That makes a fixed blade easier to use and clean.
A hunting knife should also have adequate scales, preferably made from a material that will not absorb blood or oil, like phenolic, G10, Micarta, or even carbon fiber. Ideally, the scales should be textured to provide a better grip in the cold or when wet or greasy.
Small handles are a no go here. You need an adequate purchase on the grips. Also, crossguards are up for debate; they protect your fingers from sliding forward on the blade when they might be bloody or oily, but let’s be honest. Anyone who has ever cleaned so much as a rabbit knows that crossguards not only get in the way, they limit the flexibility of your grip on the knife.
A stainless steel blade is not a must, but if you are using a knife with a non-stainless alloy, like 1095, to clean game, you had better clean it off and dry it before putting it away, or the next time you go to draw it, it might be fused to its sheath.
While very small knives can be used to process very large games, there is a happy middle ground. A 3 to 5-inch blade is generally all you need, for everything from squirrels to deer. Also, a swept blade, like a skinner, is more practical than a clip point or something kitschy and specialized like a needlepoint – although spear points are highly utilitarian in the woods.
With these parameters set, there are a few Kershaw knives that meet the bill.
What Are Some Good Kershaw Options?
If you’re looking for a Kershaw hunting knife, try out some of the following:
● Kershaw Brace
● Kershaw Camp 5
● Kershaw Bear Hunter
● Kershaw Skinning Knife
● And even the Kershaw Zipit Pro, which is not quite a knife but more a tool specialized for skinning.
Remember also that any of Kershaws folding knives can make serviceable hunting knives, especially for backup. A knife is a knife; it won’t care whether you’re using it to cut boxes or quarter small game.
Where Can I Get a Kershaw Hunting Knife?
If you’re looking for any of these options as a Kershaw hunting knife, or perhaps would like something more specialized, check out White Mountain Knives at WhiteMountainKnives.com.
They have a huge collection of knives – including from Kershaw and countless other brands, as well as survival, camping, hunting, and even kitchen knife collections that are offered at fair prices – with free shipping in the U.S.!
Take a look through their collection and get in touch with them at [email protected] if you have any questions.