Can You Drink Coffee While Deer Hunting?

by Derrick | Last Updated: August 27, 2021

During hunting season in many parts of the United States, it can be extremely cold. Sitting in New York during a hunting season in late November I can recall thinking “what am I doing out in this cold”, followed by “boy I wish I had some warm coffee or hot chocolate.”

Yes, you can drink coffee while deer hunting. Having a warm drink can help to calm the nerves and take away some of the boredom that comes with waiting for the game to appear.

Coffee While Rifle Hunting – A Handful Of Tips

I’ve taken coffee with me while rifle hunting, mostly when I was still hunting from a ground blind or an elevated hunting blind. These structures allow you a little more flexibility because it is hard for the deer to see you.

I would be less inclined to take a hot drink with me if I was hunting on the move or from an open tree stand because it’s easier for the deer to see you.

When I use my coffee thermos, I bring along one of those big 24 ounce “Café style” steel coffee mugs.

The first time I used it was during a New York deer hunt in early October. We had to break camp at 4:00 am and the temperature was probably 34 – 35 degrees Fahrenheit. I filled the mug with coffee, placed it on top of a camp stove, and kept it warm until I was ready to head out to my tree stand.

The main benefit of doing this is the mug helps keep the coffee warm and is easy to open and close the travel lid versus the normal twist-off lids.

This helps minimize the movement required to get to the coffee and therefore reducing the chance a deer will see any movement.

Coffee While Bow Hunting

Taking coffee bow hunting can be a little more challenging. Most people bow hunt from an open tree stand and generally, deer are a lot closer so even the slightest movement could alert the deer and spoil your hunt.

You really need to limit movement if you are going to bring coffee with you while hunting.

I would use the same coffee mug if you are bow hunting. I don’t think it makes sense to bring a thermos, then pour from it into a regular drinking cup.

Can You Drink Coffee and Still Get A Buck?

Yes, you can drink coffee in your stand and still get a respectable buck. I drink coffee when I hunt because it keeps me warm and helps keep me more alert. However, this is not the case for everybody.

If you take too many stimulants before and during your hunt, such as caffeine or energy drinks, then odds are you’ll move more than necessary and small twitches could scare away game.

That’s how deer sensory patterns work: they pick up on any human like patterns which usually works as a warning sign so they can sense humans are nearby.

In addition, too many stimulants could also cause slight movement when you are trying to aim, thus throwing off your shot.

Coffee Smell – Can Deer Smell Coffee?

Coffee will not spoil your hunt; it’s the movement that spoils your hunt.

Most of the smell associated with coffee is from brewing and you do that long before you get up in your tree stand.

Having your coffee in a travel mug will greatly reduce the smell as well.

Another tip is to keep your coffee simple. A more traditional coffee with milk and sugar gives off less aroma than a fancy flavored coffee (yes avoid that double mocha grande from Starbucks).

Personally, I don’t even use flavored creamer, but that may be a little overkill.

3 Tips To Drink Coffee and Ensure You Still Get That Trophy Buck

Avoid Movement

Sounds easy enough doesn’t it?

Remember deer have a keen sense of smell but utilize sight and sound to help sense danger. As we discussed the coffee smell isn’t likely a huge issue, but the movement associated with drinking it may. Additional movement is also likely to create more sound if you drop something, brush up against something or knock something over.

The #1 thing I can recommend is to limit your movement as much as possible and you will see deer.

Do Not Worry About The Small Stuff

Hunting site selection, sound discipline, and time in the stand (spent hunting) are way more important than worrying about having a couple of cups of coffee. Spend more time focused on these areas and enjoy your cup of coffee during your morning hunt.

Don’t Take Things So Serious

Many of us aren’t trophy hunters, we are average Joe’s out in the woods to relax, hunt, and enjoy ourselves. If you aren’t out to get a monster buck, have your coffee and relax. You’ll have more fun if you aren’t so serious all the time and trying to hunt like a machine.

Still Concerned?

You can always have coffee when you get back to camp, that way there won’t be any movement or smells while out in your stand. It won’t be the end of the world!

Alternatives To Coffee

You may decide that taking coffee isn’t worth the chance you many unintentionally scare away deer. There are a few alternatives you can use to take coffee’s place.

If you are using coffee to the caffeine boost, you could substitute with an energy drink which contains caffeine.

If you are using coffee to keep warm, you could substitute with something like a hand warmer packs which are lightweight and small but do not emit any smell that would alert deer.

You could also choose to drink water while you hunt which is an alternative to quench your thirst.

In Summary

Coffee can be a great way to stay warm while hunting and, if it is done correctly, will not spoil your hunt. There are two main tips to having coffee while you hunt.

Limit your movement as much as possible when it is time for that cup of joe. You just don’t need to be moving around a lot, ever!

Don’t take hunting so serious and enjoy yourself.