Having the right multi tool in the field during the hunt might prove to be as important as having a good rifle or a bow.
This statement might seem a bit exaggerated to you at first, but every experienced hunter will tell you it’s spot on. Whether you’ll want to gut a deer, skin it or simply adjust or clean your weapon of choice on the spot, a good multi tool will always have your back.
Once you get used to carrying one and see what these little guys can do in a pinch, you’ll never leave without it. There’s a thing or two you should keep in mind once you hit the stores. Not all multi tools will fit your needs, so the point is picking one that will. I’m here to help you with that. Being a passionate hunter for a better part of my life, I think I have a couple of things I can share, that will make your life a hell of a lot easier.
What’s my general rule of thumb
When it comes to hunting multi tools, I demand only two things, simplicity and practicality.
I’ve learned over the years that less is more when it comes to these gadgets. Pick one that has all the functions you’ll need and nothing more. I want to be able to use all of the features my multi tool possesses all the time. You might be tempted to go for the fancier versions featuring gazillions of unnecessary tools, but you must fight that temptation.
It will cost you more, and it will slow you down. When was the last time you needed tweezers while hunting? That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
The part about practicality speaks for itself. We want a tool that’s versatile, well made and functions without any difficulties. We want locking blades, easy to access tools, sturdy construction and a firm grip. One-hand opening is a great option too, especially when you’re trying to skin your catch. All of the tools must be high-quality, but we’ll go into details about that later.
Now that we know what kind of multi tools we require in general we can delve into some specifics.
How to handle your catch?
Ok, now we’ll go over some serious stuff that your new multi tool must excel at. We’re talking about skinning and gutting your catch in the field of course.
As far as skinning goes, your number one friend here is your multi tool’s blade. It should feature a curved tip that will allow it to effortlessly separate skin from the meat, and cause no damage to the muscle or slice away too much meat by accident. The materials we want here are the ones that are known to hold a sharp edge for a long time cause let me tell you, skinning a deer is no walk in the park. So, surgical or stainless steel is your safe bet here. These blades can prove to be difficult to sharpen though without an adequate sharpener, which you’re not going to have. That’s why carbon steel blades are slowly emerging as the new favorites of deer hunters.
For a big game animal to be successfully skinned your multi tool blade should be short, thin and curved. The grip must be super firm, so pay attention to the design of your multi tool’s handle. It must sit comfortably in your hand and provide enough traction for a safe grip. This one goes to your safety first and to the prevention of accidental piercing of the stomach or such second.
So, after all this let me just hit you with something you probably already know. The skinning blade must be sharp as hell and hold its edge for very long time.
That’s what makes a good skinning blade, and that’s what your multi tool must have.
Gutting your catch is a whole different matter.
Perforated intestines or punctured stomach while field dressing are regrettably all too common sight for any hunter. Stomach contents spilling all over the meat, fecal matter getting into the abdominal cavity… It’s just a mess. Gutting takes skills, of course, but getting the right tool for it is half the work at a minimum if you ask me.
Gut hook is a must-have in your multi tool. This is a tool that’s very difficult to pick so buying from the proven and well-known manufacturer certainly helps. You don’t want a cheap multi tool with a gut hook that gets all clogged up with fat and hair after the first few incisions.
You want a multi tool that has features dedicated to gutting, period. Doing it with a simple everyday blade just won’t cut it. Actually it will, even more than you want to. Sharp points can easily penetrate internal organs, which brings us back to that messy story from the beginning.
Even the sharpest of blades will have trouble with splitting the ribs, pelvic bone or skull capping. That’s why your multi tool has to feature an aggressive bone saw. They’ll usually feature a flat part at the end of the blade, specially designed to prevent puncturing the guts. That’s a tool you’ll want when tackling a caribou for example.
Pruning shears are a great addition to your hunting multi tool, especially if you’re into bird hunting. They will clean up bird games in no time.
How to handle your weaponry and surroundings?
Your weapon of choice will need a certain tune-up somewhere along the way. It’s a fact.
Your trusty multi tool won’t fail you here also. There’s a bunch of different multi tools specially designed for weapon tuning and maintenance. So, choke wrench, sight adjusting tool, bow adjusting tool are just some of the functions you have at your disposal. Scraper tool could also come in quite handy if you missed cleaning your weapon before taking off and need to do it in a pinch.
Pruning shears can be very useful in cutting those pesky branches and clearing a shooting gallery.
Well, I think I gave you a pretty good idea what to look for in a multi tool for a hunting situation. Buy from a proven manufacturer, follow my instructions and you’ll be able to enjoy the thrill of the hunt without any technical difficulties.