Big game field care can be separated into two major steps—field dressing and all the rest (skinning, quartering and boning). The initial removal of the internal organs, hopefully performed shortly after the animal’s demise, is an essential first step to insure the quality of the meat. Unless you have to pack the carcass back to camp or trailhead, generally skinning takes place somewhat later. However, due to their size, game animals like elk, moose and caribou may have to be skinned, quartered and even boned-out on the spot. The one thing all of these chores have in common is the need for a sharp edge.
One Knife Does It All
While it’s possible to perform the entirety of field care with one knife, having alternate choices makes the job easier. For several years, I carried a number of different edged tools to the field. For initial evisceration, there was either a drop-point pattern fixed-blade, or a similar lock-blade folder on my belt. In my pack I also carried a fixed-blade skinning knife and a small axe or bone saw. While there have been many attempts at combining essential game care tools into a single, compact unit, the new Browning Kodiak F.D.T. (Field Dressing Tool) Three-Blade Knife (Model 629), allows the hunter to carry one folding lock-blade cutting implement that contains a drop-point main blade, a gutting blade and a very aggressive saw blade. All three blades, as well as the liners are all stainless and the handle scales are black anodized aluminum.
The main blade in this 3-in-1 package uses a back-spring lock, while the guthook and saw blade have button-liner locking mechanisms. The main blade features a drop-point pattern, which has been deeply hollow-ground. Opening the blade is accomplished by means of a traditional nail nick. The lock mechanism is part of the back spring, with the release identified by a short section of jimping on the very end of the locking bar on the back of the handle. Thumb studs on the guthook and the saw blade provide access to both.