You can go weeks without food, however hunger can weaken you, and impair your “will to survive”. Lack of food can also increase your chances of hypothermia, and effect your overall health and feeling of well being.
In this section we will go over the very basics of finding food. Hunting mammals, gathering plants, and other advanced techniques will be covered in greater detail in future updates.
Insects & Snails
Insects are one of the best survival foods available; they are easy to find & catch, and are high in protein and fat. In a life or death survival situation you need to get over the yuk-factor and do what it takes to survive.
Slugs, snails, grubs, earthworms, mealworms, ants, termites, locust, grasshoppers, and crickets are some examples of creatures that can be eaten. Insects can usually be eaten raw (grasshoppers, locus, and crickets should be cooked to kill parasites), but will taste better if fried, roasted, or boiled.
You can find insects inside of rotted logs, and under tree limbs. There are always insects to be found around water, and under leaves.
If you don’t know what your eating, don’t eat it! Watching what animals eat proves nothing; some animals can ingest toxins that are harmful to humans. Choosing plants for food is beyond this basic survival guide, for an advanced plant gathering guide check out our “Advanced Gathering” survival guide.
Don’t eat mushrooms unless you are 100% sure that it is safe!!! Mushrooms can kill the untrained.
Fish, are the next easiest to catch food source. Turtles, frogs, snakes, newts, salamanders, lizards, mollusks, crustaceans, shrimp, and ells are some of the available food that can be found near fresh & salt water.
The best times to fish is before dawn, and after dusk.
Use bait (small fish, worms, etc.), or create a lure out of a shinny piece of metal to attract fish.
You can make fish hooks out of natural or man-made materials
You can make fishing line from plant or cloth fibers. Some materials that work well for fishing line are the inner bark of trees, hemp, nettle, milkweed, yucca, and reeds.
- Gather the fibers together and tie one end together.
- Tie the strands onto something solid (tree branch, etc.).
- Separate into two separate strands.
- Twist each strand clockwise.
- Wrap the strands together in a counter clockwise motion.
- Tie the lose end together.
You can also set out trot lines, and check them every hour.
You can also make a fishing spear out of many man-made & natural materials.
You can make a fish net for catching smaller fish, or pulling large fish to shore.
You can also make several handy types of traps for catching fish.
You can even poison fish by dumping a lot of lime into the water. Heat coral, or shells till brittle, and beat into a powder to create lime (or use lime stone).
We will only cover a few types of traps here, for more hunting techniques visit our “advances hunting guide”.
A noosing wand can be used for catching a variety of animals including lizards and nesting birds.
Below are recommended methods for cooking various foods.
Fry, boil, or eat raw (grasshoppers, locus, and crickets should be cooked to kill parasites).
Skin, cook, and eat the whole body.
Skin, gut, and eat.
Cut of the head, gut, skin, cook, and eat.
Skin, gut, cook, and eat. Small lizards can be skewed and cooked whole; meat is done once skin bubbles and cracks.
Pluck feathers, gut, cook, and eat.
Skin, gut, cook, and eat.
Tip: You can skew small animals, and burn off the hair; this will help to kill parities, ticks, and fleas that may carry diseases.
Gut, remove scales, and cook. (You can fillet the fish, but cook and eat all of the remains.).
One of the fastest ways to cook something is by skewing it, and cooking over open flames. You can boil many foods to remove unsavory flavors, and to retain many of their vitamins and minerals.
If you don’t have a pot available for boiling, you can use natural and man-made materials.
Rock Method for Boiling
For non-fireproof pots, you can heat rocks and place in your water. Keep replacing cooled rocks with hot rocks until your food has been adequately boiled.
Warning: Porous rocks, water logged river rocks, and concrete may explode when heated.
Animal Hide (Skin)
Wool, or other water resistant material