You don’t have to starve to death if you get lost in the bush with no resources, mother nature can provide you with everything you need to eat until rescue arrives. In this article you’ll learn about feeding yourself in the wild and what you need to know to make sure you stay fed even in the harshest environments.
The scope of this article only covers a woodland forest type situation. If you are interested in finding food in the desert, a jungle, or arctic locations check back soon as these will be added in the weeks to come.
The Quest to Find a Basic Food Source:
So you realize that your stranded and in a bad situation, the best thing you can do is stay calm and keep yourself comfortable until rescue arrives. What happens once you get hungry and it’s time to find some chow?
Plants are some of the easiest food sources to find in the forest because they’re stationary and can thus be had without exerting much effort. A great number of things from nuts to berries to ferns can be eaten in just about any situation. Remember one of the key factors to survival is conserving energy. Harvesting plants requires almost no energy and will help keep something in your stomach.
Make sure you know exactly what it is you’re eating. Just as nature is full of edible items, it also has its fair share of poisonous inhabitants that could do you more harm than good.
A Short List of Wild Plant-Based Edibles:
Dandelions, Gooseberries, Daylily, Rasberries, Blackberries, Pine Needles, Wild Asparagus, Elderberries, Mulberries, Blueberries, Hazelnuts, Clovers, Wild Truffles, Acorns, Butternuts, Milk Thistle, Chicory, Goosetongue, Coltsfoot, Mullein, Wild Grape, Wild Garlic, Hickory Nuts, Watercress, Many Species of Mushrooms.
Eat Cambium Found In Trees
Cambium the layer underneath tree bark that helps to deliver nutrients from the roots to the branches. It tastes fairly neutral and can pack a good range of vitamins and minerals.
Edible cambium can be found in birch, willow, maple, spruce, pine & fir trees.
Moving on to Higher Food Groups:
For a menu that’s slightly higher on the food chain, bugs and insects can also make for a nutritious meal in emergencies. Crickets, locusts, grasshoppers, earthworms and snails are just some of the things you can consider for your next meal. If you’re squeamish, then an emergency situation is as good a time as any to get over your fears.
Insects are convenient because you can often just pick them off plants or wherever they happen to land. Rotten logs, old tree stumps and the undersides of leaves are some of the favorite hangouts of edible insects.
Make sure to boil or fry insects whenever possible so to kill any parasites that they might be harboring. Insects are a great survival food because you don’t need to exert much energy to find and eat them.
Need An Easy Protein Source? Try Fishing:
Circumstances allowing, fish are a great food option for emergencies. They often taste good, have a wealth of vitamins and nutrients, and depending on location are easy to catch. All you have to do is find a running body of water and then set up a trap, or go fishing with a string and a makeshift hook.
Trapping fish will depend on what materials you have available. Typically, a makeshift dam with a trap door is effective, although relatively time consuming to make. A measure of fabric stretched out and attached to a stick can also function as a net to catch smaller fish. Trapping is advantageous because it lets you catch some food even if you’re tired or injured and have limited mobility.
If you need to make a fishing hook, you can use something like a bit of wood, to make a gorge hook. A gorge hook is extremely primitive and easy to make, but still very effective! Remember to always test your line before fishing with primitive equipment or you may lose dinner!
Bait the hook with a worm, or attach a shiny object like a coin or a piece of metal to the hook assembly. A small safety pin can make a great hook for small fish, it just takes a bit of bending. You may be lucky enough to have packed a couple of fishing lures in your survival kit.
If you have no equipment you can fashion your own line out of reeds, hemp, cattails or tree bark.
If you want to keep fishing while doing other tasks you can make a fish trap or setup a trot line. A trot line is attached to a signal item such as a bell that will alert you if a fish is taking the bait. The best option is a primitive fish trap like this one:
By setting up a few of these traps you’ll have a very good chance of catching some fish without having to watch your line all day long.
Hunting Guide – How To Catch Small Game:
Land-based animals are the hardest food sources to get a hold of in an emergency, primarily because they are the most difficult to catch. Crudely running through the forest after a hare or a deer will likely waste a lot of the energy that you should be trying to conserve, so be sure to turn to more sophisticated and less tiring methods.
Throwing weapons such as spears, arrows, slingshots and throwing sticks can be very effective. The problem with these methods is that they take quite a bit of training before you can use them accurately.
Traps are the best means of catching small land-based animals, you can setup multiple traps and then simply check on them once a day. Keep in mind the bigger your target animal is, the harder it will be to trap. So while hares and squirrels are quite straightforward to catch, something like a hog or deer will take a lot of preparation and energy. Learn the art of snaring, it is a very effective means of catching game while exerting little energy.
Pit traps, are only effective in certain situations. The idea is to dig a pit large enough to contain your target animal, disguise the hole with sticks and brush and then wait for something to fall in. You could even put spikes at the bottom or add water to the hole to make sure the animal won’t be able to get out easily. This method works best if you use bait and hang it over the pit just out of reach of the animal. The downfall of setting pit traps is that it takes huge amounts of energy to prepare; imagine having to dig that large a hole and then finding enough material to cover it! On top of that you may not even catch anything.. This isn’t the option to take if you’re tired, hungry or dehydrated.
The best option is to setup multiple small snare traps aimed at catching small game such as squirrels, raccoons, or rabbit. Ideally you want to find a water source where these animals come and visit regularly. You should be able to spot the path they use leading down to the water, this is the perfect spot for a snare!
Remember The Most Vital Keys To Survival:
The most important thing to do in an emergency survival situation is to stay calm and always keep your presence of mind. Remember, your resources at hand are limited and nothing should go to waste. You need to conserve energy as much as possible and focus on getting back to safety above all else.
Digging pit traps and running around with spears trying to kill large game is a foolish strategy that will quickly burn all your energy. Initially it is wise to stick to consuming edible vegetation and insects. Once you have this basic food source you can start fishing or setting up some snares to trap and catch small game.