Obtaining Food In The Wild…The Good And Bad
Whether you are in a bug out situation or a wilderness survival situation you will have a limited water supply so dehydrated/freeze dried foods are not recommended because they do require water and a heat source in their preparations. In this situation you could carry lightweight foods that are high in calories like food ration bars and small cans of tuna fish, sardines and canned meats because these are easily packed and are good supplemental protein sources.
However, if you are in a bugging out situation and you have a safe haven already chosen and have a reliable water source then by all means carry some dehydrated foods with you. MRE’s are very light weight and you can carry quite a bit with you. Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) are ideal because each package is a complete meal that includes snacks, condiments and utensils. The packages are easily carried and lightweight. Typically, each adult needs two MRE’s per day but in extreme cases, you can survive on one meal if you supplement by foraging for foods. Each meal is approximately 1,200 calories.
Canned foods such as soups, spaghetti and stews for example are heavy and bulky. You will have limited room in your bug out bag that could be better used for other survival supplies like a first aid kit, clothing and survival tools like Knives, hatchets, weapons and ammo. Have a look at what the basics I carry in my bug out pack, everyone’s pack will be different but the basics will and should always be the same.
Dried meats such as jerky, peanut butter and nut mixes are ideal survival food as well. But keep in mind, once the foods you have packed in are depleted, you will obviously have to obtain more from your environment. Food can be obtained by fishing, trapping, and by finding edibles plants, berries and nuts as well as gathering insects. In this article I am going to cover some of the animals in the wild that can be easily caught as well as some of the animals you should stay away from.
Food For Survival
Fishing is one of the quickest ways to obtain food in a wilderness environment. All fresh water fish is edible if cooked properly to destroy any bacteria or parasites that may be present. There are several different ways to catch fish even if you don’t have fishing tackle with you, here is a detailed post about survival fishing on survivalblog.com. Snakes are also edible once cooked. Just be careful when you are playing with snakes, if you get bit by a poisonous one, the last thing you will be worrying about is eating.
2 Turtles To Stay Away From:
Most other reptiles you would encounter with the exception of the common Box turtle and the Hawksbill turtle.
The Hawksbill turtle can also cause sickness or worse from eating its flesh because the turtle’s glands contain a toxin that can be present in the flesh.
The Box turtle dines on mushrooms that are poisonous to humans and the toxins can remain in the turtle’s flesh even after cooking.
Delicious Edible Insects…Not!
Grubs, crickets, earthworms, termites and termite larvae, ants and earthworms are edible. Scorpions are edible as well as other stinging/biting insects but it is recommended unless you are in a crisis to avoid them. Other insects to avoid are fuzzy ones, brightly colored ones and ones that emit a foul odor.
In an emergency, all but crickets can be eaten raw. Cricket intestines can contain the tapeworm parasites. Once you have gathered the crickets up pull the heads off, this will remove the intestines reducing your chances of ingesting the parasite. Skewer the crickets on a stick and roast.
Grubs: These can be eaten raw and they can be found in rotting logs and just under the turf. For better flavor, you can skewer the grubs or wrap in leaves and place close to a heat source for roasting. Ants can be gathered and eaten raw but remove the heads before placing in your mouth to avoid being pinched or stung.
Termites: can be found in and under logs that have contact with the ground or in mounds. Run a slender stick into the mound and quickly pull it out. The termites will gather on the stick as it enters the mound. Avoid destroying any termite mounds you may encounter in the wilderness because they play an important role in the eco system and are a food source for various species of mammals and reptiles.
Earthworms: can be found just under the surface, in piles of wet leaves and other forest debris and under rocks and logs. They can be placed in hot water and steeped to make a high protein broth, roasted and in emergencies eaten raw. It is recommended that you always attempt to cook any insect you may find to reduce the risk if ingesting bacteria or parasites that may be present.
Frogs and toads: are considered amphibians and there are close to 5,000-recorded species. Some species are toxic. Either they secrete a toxin or it may be present in the flesh. Unless you are an expert and can readily identify a bullfrog for example, it is recommended you avoid them as a food source.
The Bufo (also known as a Cane toad) is toxic to both humans and most mammals, toad is found in Southwest Florida and other swampy areas. The toad was originally brought in to battle insect problems in certain areas. The Bufo toad is not native to the United States. It breeds quickly and can conceivably be found virtually anywhere the climate and food sources can sustain the species. You may encounter species not indigenous to an area in any wilderness environment so you are cautioned never to consume any animal or plant unless you are sure it is safe.
There are plenty of food sources in the wild, you just have to use your imagination and be educated about what you put in your mouth. You would be amazed how good a roasted cricket tastes when you are starving. I’ve not yet eaten a worm but my guess is that they taste like chocolate when your starving…that’s what i will be telling myself anyway.
In my next post I will cover some of the wild foliage that is edible. And some that you should stay away from. If I missed something in this post or you have eaten a wilderness delicacy leave a comment and let us know. The thing I love about the prepping community is how everyone helps each other out by sharing their knowledge.