Jerky or OCP? Our Favorite Deer Stand Snacks

To paraphrase Napoleon, “The Orange Army marches on its stomach.”

After some major investigative reporting work, we can confirm most deer hunters enjoy treestand snacks. In fact, many hunters think success comes down to being comfortable in the stand, and what adds more comfort than food? In addition, eating in the stand can appease superstition, help keep you warm and simply add more fun.

We asked QDMA staff members and friends from around the hunting and conservation world to tell us their favorite treestand snacks. Here’s what we learned.

Kyle Bennett, QDMA member and volunteer, Louisiana: I’m not superstitious about many things, but a treestand snack is one of them. I have to have a honeybun and a thermos of black coffee in the tree during every morning rut hunt. Goldfish crackers and bologna sandwiches keep me going on all-day sits, and, if I’m hunting anywhere in the Midwest, you better believe I’m tracking down a Casey’s General Store for breakfast pizza as a midday snack.

Sam Soholt, Public Land Bus & Tees: My favorite treestand snack is a little out of the ordinary but quite delicious. Hot sausage gravy kept warm in a Yeti bottle, poured over biscuits, will lift spirits on even the slowest day in the woods.

Biscuits ‘n gravy to go.

Josh Hillyard, QDMA: Venison jerky is the best treestand snack, hands down! It’s hard to beat reminiscing on previous successful hunts as you bite into that piece of jerky and patiently wait on this year’s deer to walk through and offer you a shot. Then hopefully you can repeat that year after year!

Spencer Neuharth, MeatEater: Apples are my favorite treestand snack when temps are above freezing. Although they’re loud, they don’t cause a mess, require any special packaging, and won’t compromise my scent control. Jerky is a close second and a must-have for all-day sits.

Kip Adams, QDMA: I used to be a Pop Tart guy, but now I prefer granola bars. They’re healthier, easy to pack, and much more enjoyable to eat if they get crushed.

Mike Hanback, Big Deer TV: Jack Links beef sticks. I usually wolf down three around 10 a.m. and another three on the afternoon sit. Low-carb, makes me feel better about sitting all day with little exercise!

Matt Dye, Land & Legacy podcast: My favorite treestand snack would have to be the delectable Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie! They are best on a cold day, they firm up and don’t crumble. Without a doubt a great addition to the hunting pack.

Hank Forester, QDMA: A couple seasons ago, I had a buddy show up at deer camp with a box of Smucker’s Uncrustables, and there was a time where I considered it a perfect morning deer stand snack. Now, I’m on an RXBAR kick. If I am making something, I’ve been eating a few almond butter, avocado and sriracha sandwiches.

The Hank Forester Special: almond butter, avocado and sriracha hot sauce sandwich.

Mike Higman, Down South Hunting podcast: Fudge-dipped Chewy Granola Bar. I’m pretty much a fitness freak. If you didn’t know, Chewy Granola Bars have oatmeal in them, which is really healthy. Chocolate has anti-oxidants. Afterward, I will usually reward myself for making good food choices by having an Oatmeal Creme Pie. Eating healthy is not a single decision, it’s a lifestyle.

Brian Grossman, QDMA: Pretty much the only snack I pack to the stand, unless I have some fresh venison jerky, is individual bags of trail mix. It has to be Kar’s trail mix, which has just the right mix of sweet and salty with peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins and chocolate.

Cuz Strickland, Mossy Oak: Man, I love food so much it’s hard to choose, but my go-to snack nowadays is a Slim Jim beef stick unless there’s cold leftover fried backstraps wrapped in foil with a two-day-old hard biscuit. That’s my all time favorite, but not always available because the crew I hunt with a lot doesn’t leave many leftovers. Slim Jim is meat and a little spicy and seems like a real treat that is almost real food, and no, I don’t worry about the scent spooking the deer. If the wind is wrong, you’re done anyway

Rick Counts, QDMA: Number one is Lance ToastChee peanut butter crackers and a Diet Dr. Pepper. Number two is peanut M&Ms with a Diet Dr. Pepper. You can put them in your pack and eat them if and when you need them.

K.C. Smith, The Element podcast: For me, you just can’t beat trail mix! I prefer the unsalted kind so it doesn’t dry me out. Some chocolate-covered coffee beans are a nice ingredient to have in there as well. Now, if we are talking an all-day rut hunt, I’ll build two sandwiches the night before composed of thick bacon, black pepper, and crunchy peanut butter on toasted 12-grain bread. It’s tasty and hardy and helps me push through those long sits.

Jeff Lindsey, The Lindsay Way: Picking one would be tough, but I guess the king of deer-stand snacks would be the Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie (OCP)!

The Deer Stand Snacker himself, Jeff Lindsey.

Matt Ross, QDMA: Honeycrisp apple, because they smell like they belong in the woods, they pack well and they’re delicious.

Michael Hunsucker, Heartland Bowhunter: I’m not a big stand snacker, but jerky is probably one of my favorites. Lots of protein! If you’re looking for a treat, gotta go with Cosmic Brownies!

Mark Kenyon, MeatEater: I do jerky a good bit, nuts, dried fruit, peanut-butter filled pretzels, granola bars. Nothing stands out – but all of these are relatively unmessy, easy to take a quick bite of, and can be packaged in a small quiet bag. They also all either have a good bit of sugar or carbs, which usually give me the energy boost I need to stay warm and awake during a long sit.

Homemade venison jerky: light, durable, delicious, fortifying.

Corey Slater, QDMA: Personally I like a good deli meat sandwich. Filling, quiet, easy to put down in a hurry when you have a buck coming in quick during the rut. Clementines are alright too but a bit messy to put away in a hurry. Another classic is the Oatmeal Cream Pie. The only downside to those are the noisy wrappers, and they can get smashed in your pack. 

Ryan Bronson, On Gravel podcast: Bite-size Halloween 3 Musketeers.

Jake Grages, QDMA: I typically have some granola bars and mini candy bars unwrapped and in a zip-lock bag – quieter than a wrapper!

Lindsay Thomas Jr., QDMA: Homemade venison jerky. It’s tasty, low-fat, long-lasting, and it’s quiet: no plastic wrappers to crinkle and crackle in the stand. It’s also durable. There have been times when I put my hand in the pocket of my hunting coat and found a piece of venison jerky from the previous hunting season. Brush off the pocket lint and you’re good to go! There’s also something mystical about consuming the gifts of a previous hunt while you are in the woods on a new pursuit.