To take to camp I just use a skinning knife, a boning knife, knife sharpener, and zip lock bags. I have a couple coolers and frozen gallon jugs of water.
For back home I have a grinder, sausage stuffer, smoker, and vacuum packer. There really aren't a lot of tools needed. My next purchase will either be a bigger stuffer (at least 10lbs) or a sausage mixer.
A very sharp skinning knife with a gut hook, diamond sharpener, alaskan 1/4 game bags, 120qt coolers with frozen gal jugs of water, 50 feet para cord, latex or nitrile gloves, stout pack frame, and the same sausage making gear trapper mentioned.
The number of tools is not as important as the quality, a good pocket knife in the right hands...
I use the gutless/complete bone out method as I make it all (except for the tenderloins) into sausage anyway. And it also cools quicker and weighs lots less for the pack out to the truck. The para cord is to tie back legs out of the way and hanging the filled game bags in trees to cool while I make my trips to the truck.
I've never hunted mule deer, so I can't say directly. Most of our whitetail hunting is close enough to home that we have a gambrel available.
However, on a few trips for hog and deer that I take from a campsite, I usually have a couple of knives rather than a knife and a sharpener. The weight seems about the same. Other than the knives, I take a Svensaw that I added a "meat" or bone blade to (and left the wood blade too). It's been a fantastic tool in the camp and on the game; I can't speak highly enough of it.
In the field my knife is a Welcome to Havalon Knives® with replaceable blades no need to sharpen anything and no steel to carry just a few extra blades that fit into the sheath. Game bag/bags I do the gutless removal of the meat, I will also debone in the field if I have enough light. No bone saw needed if you just separate at the joints cut the ligaments and the bones separate easily much faster than a bone saw and no mess with the bone marrow. A 15' of 3/4" nylon strap in blaze orange to tie the animal up if I'm on a steep hill. At home I use a double edge fillet knife along with my Piranta. Paper towels, pen, and a vacuum sealer or butcher paper with plastic rap.
Thanks Lefty for the followup on my post. I was wondering if I needed any new stuff. Sounds like I'm pretty set except for game bags. Maybe the wife wont notice if a couple of pillow cases are missing Ha Ha.
Lately I've been lazy and as far as butchering in the field all I carry are two tools for that.. First my S30v blade Buck Knife with a gut hook. It can do pretty much everything I want it to except I keep the blade away from bones, for that I use just a SOG Jungle Primitive it's a big bowie knife with a wood sawblade on it and partially seretted, anything I need to hack through bone with i use my SOG, and even if I need to seperate between joints (hips, shoulders, or even cutting through the ribcage). Two different sized knives but they both do the trick and I've field quartered more then a few deer like that. Once I get it back to camp where I have some other knives it's really all about using a quality knife that you can put nice edges on for butchering it out... That's just my opinion anyways
wife bought me one of those replaceable blade knives. seems to be the trick. it is light and orange handle so i don't lose it. have to be careful but I am good at that. I do a lot of backpack hunting so the weight and size is ideal. I bone the meat out and prep it at home with a wusthof boning knife. nice. i don't think you really need anything else other than some bags or wraps and maybe a bone saw. the cable type saws have worked fine for me and are light and small. you don't really need a saw if you are experienced though.
Thanks again guys:wavin hello: theres a lot of info to ponder. When my mind is clear after working at a USCIS office I will hopefully will be able to pm some of you guys in the future. I have a Gerber multi blade knife which is fine on birds . I don't know what model it is other then i bought about 3 years ago for about$70. i have no idea how it would do on big game so i may have to buy one of the above mentioned knives. I like the idea of not carrying a sharpner. I didn't think of frozen jugs of water vs ice but it makes sense since ice packs do leak. Nobody mentioned dry ice which with a protective layer seems like the way to go but i could be wrong.