Never Leave the Snack Behind: Team onX’s Favorite Hunting Snacks

Snacks are an important factor in a successful day of hunting. Here are some favorite hunting season munchies from onX team members.

We’ve all been there. Five hours into a long hike through the mountains, heading upward in the search of elk, and suddenly your legs are heavy. So heavy. Your energy reserves are gone, and the idea of a hot meal and warm bed at home sounds outright tempting. Or maybe you’re into hour four in the tree stand, and have exhausted all your immediate entertainment. You’re cold, cramped, and kind of over it.

Enter the almighty snack.

Staying fueled during the hunting season doesn’t just equate to a happy stomach—it’s also a critical part of a successful hunt. With the right snacks in your pack, you’re prepared to hike further and hunt longer. Nutrition is a key cornerstone to being active, and we’re firm believers that the right snack at the right time can make your attitude swing a u-turn, salvaging a rough day into something great.

We all have our snack secrets, but a few onX team members were persuaded to share their tactics for fueling in the field.

Jen M., Customer Success Technician 

I have a weakness for sweets, so when it comes to hunting snacks for my family it usually involves chocolate! Monster cookies are my favorite for trips because the oatmeal and peanut butter help add a bit more protein to keep us going throughout the day. Whenever I feel the hunger coming on or need to pass the time waiting for that buck to come into sights, cookies are usually what I grab from my bag!

Monster Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ½ C softened butter
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 C + 2 T brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 C peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
  • ¼ t vanilla
  • ¾ t light corn syrup
  • 4 ½ C oats (instant or old fashioned, depending on preference)
  • 2 t baking soda
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¾-1 C chocolate chips
  • 1 C M&Ms

Directions:
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth, beating well. Add eggs, peanut butter, vanilla and corn syrup; beat well. Add oats, soda, and salt, mixing well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough on lightly greased cookie sheet leaving 2-3 inches between each cookie. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Makes  about 2 ½ dozen.

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Tom A., Financial Data Analyst

Hunting with kids, I make sure my phone is charged so if he gets bored and restless he can play a game vs. fidgeting and spooking animals. Maybe that isn’t ideal for how to spend time in the woods but when they are  around 10 years old, you have to do what you can do. I also bring a second set of binos, a knife, flashlight, etc. for him so he feels like he is as much a part of the hunt as I am. We also pack fun snacks; Pop-Tarts or something else to make it fun, and plenty of hand warmers to keep him warm. Cold kids don’t want to stay in the stand long. That is my main goal for when they are young—make it fun so they want to go out again.

For snacks, I’ll ask him before we head out so I can get the flavor of the day, but he loves Pop-Tarts, beef jerky, and gorp (good ole raisins and peanuts) with M&M’s in there too. I’ll usually do something special before or after, like take him out to eat at a place he loves to make the whole day fun and tie positive memories of the whole day together (not just the hunt, but the whole day experience). My father used to take me to Waffle House for breakfast before we went hunting… it was one of my favorite places as a kid.


Jared L., Marketing Specialist

Come November, I’m planning to sit in a tree from dawn to dusk. To do so, snacks are a must. I typically keep it pretty basic: peanut butter sandwiches, apples, Snickers, and a variety of granola bars. But on those long, cold days, there is nothing better than a thermos full of chili, pizza rolls, or a burrito! If you need snack inspiration, go check out Sam Soholt on Instagram, and #nevergosnackless.

Ryan N., SEO Writer

For shelf-stable, high-calorie hunting and hiking fuel, my go-to is homemade Pemmican. Pemmican comes from the Cree word pimîhkân, which is derived from the word pimî, meaning “fat, grease.” I like it because I’m already making dried venison jerky from most of the animals I harvest and I have access to high-quality bison suet from a local butcher, so the ingredients are not hard to get. I also like the taste and the fact it won’t melt like chocolate, doesn’t need to be cooked, and a little bit goes a long way.

Pemmican

Ingredients:

Note: most Pemmican recipes call for a 1:1 mixture (by weight) of dry ingredients and wet ingredients. With that in mind, no specific amounts are given below.

  • Jerky (beef or venison)
  • Suet (I use bison, but beef also works. I avoid using lard.)
  • Dried fruits (Dried cherries and blueberries are my favorites.)
  • Nuts, chopped, optional (Pistachios work great.)
  • Sweetener, optional and to taste (I like a touch of honey.)

Preparation:

Using a food processor and/or blender, grind the dried jerky until you get a powdery, sawdust texture. I hand-chop the dried fruits and nuts, but you can also mix these ingredients in with the jerky to chop more finely.

Next, render the suet into tallow by heating small chunks over low heat. It’s important to use low heat to avoid burning the fat. It may take a couple of hours to render properly. Strain the leftover hard bits and impurities through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer so only clear liquid remains. Let it cool before adding it to your dry mixture.

Working in small batches, combine equal amounts (by weight) of dry and wet ingredients. You want a consistency that doesn’t crumble but doesn’t feel soggy. Add your sweetener to taste. After you’re done, pack the mixture in a small baking dish and cool it down in the refrigerator for a few hours. Cut into bars and store. Because of Pemmican’s high fat content it can be stored in an airtight container in a pantry and lasts almost indefinitely.


Sarah A., Customer Success Technician

Our family always has snacks. My daughter’s new nickname is the Gremlin if she is not fed every few hours. Fruit snacks or Pure Fruit Bars is a must for us.

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Zach C., Marketing Automation Specialist 

I’m not always the best breakfast eater, but if I know I’m either going to be spending a day putting on miles or it’s going to be cold, I make sure to eat a good breakfast. Typically it’s either bacon and eggs or some good stick-to-your-ribs biscuits and gravy that my wife makes.

There are three things I try not to go without when hunting, and the first one seems pretty obvious: water. When it gets cold people tend to overlook hydrating, but staying hydrated is very important to keep a cold Montana day from turning miserable. During archery season I run a CamelBak, but once the freezing temps of November are here I just carry Nalgene bottles in my pack. The second item is peanut butter and honey sandwiches. They’re super easy to make and I actually like them better once they’ve sat in my pack a few hours. The third—and it can be a bit heavy so I don’t always take it—is trail mix. I’ve tried all the goos, gummies, and gels that runners use but I’ve never had the immediate impact from those like I do from a couple handfuls of trail mix when I’m starting to feel low on energy.

All that being said, I don’t go anywhere without my MSR Windburner (it’s basically a Jetboil). With that I always have the option for coffee, to boil water or melt snow, or to cook up some meat if I happen to knock something down.

Nick T., Social Media Specialist

Protein balls are a solid snack I take on backpacking trips. There’s also something about having some “comfort” food while hunting, especially when the hunt isn’t going that well. A warm meal  at the end of the day—in the form of a Mountain House or Peak Refuel meal—goes a long way. You can only eat so many protein bars!

Protein Balls

Mix together, then form into balls: 

  • 1 C  protein powder
  • 1 C oatmeal
  • 1 C peanut butter
  • 1/4 C honey
  • And as many chocolate chips / Craisins  / raisins as you want


Cole S., Software Development Engineer 

Snacks are crucial to my success in the field. My favorite snacks to carry are candy bars (Snickers and Twix are my favorite), PowerBars (the more calories the better), and jerky from last season’s success. I usually add as many bars to my pack as I can carry; extra to share and the more you eat the lighter your pack is. Bringing jerky from the previous season is a good luck charm for me; it’s an easy reminder of why I’m out in the field and the lasting benefits hunting brings me.

It’s always good to have a recipe for home cooking with meat from the mountains. Here’s a favorite:

Elk Steak Fajitas

Ingredients:

  •    I lb.  elk steak
  •    1 package flour tortillas
  •    3 bell peppers (mix of colors, chopped to preference)
  •    1 sweet onion (chopped to preference)
  •    Olive oil
  •    Steak marinade

Steak marinade:

  •    2 T olive oil
  •    ¼ C orange juice
  •    ¼ C lime juice
  •    4 cloves garlic, minced
  •   ½ t cumin
  •    ¼ t chili powder
  •   ½ t oregano
  •    ½ t smoked paprika
  •    2 T cilantro
  •   ½ t liquid smoke

Optional toppings:

  •    Shredded cheese
  •    Sour cream
  •    Sliced avocado
  •    Cilantro
  •    Limes

Instructions:

1) Add marinade mix and steak to sealed container and refrigerate overnight
2) Add olive oil to sauce pan and cook chopped onions and peppers till crispy and tender
3) Remove veggies from saucepan and add steak; cook throughout
4) Add veggies and some of the reserved marinade back to the saucepan and simmer for two minutes
5) Use a saucepan with lid to warm up tortillas
6) Build fajitas with optional toppings and enjoy!

73

Jess McGlothlin

Before taking the role of onX Communications Writer, Jess McGlothlin worked as a freelance photographer and writer in the outdoor and fly-fishing industries. While on assignment in the past few years she’s learned how to throw spears at coconuts in French Polynesia, dodge saltwater crocodiles in Cuba, stand-up paddleboard down Peruvian Amazon tributaries and eat all manner of unidentifiable food.