Obtaining food is one of the most important survival skills. Thankfully, the wilderness is full of edible plants and animals.
The best way to know what to eat is by carrying around a book on edible wild plants in your region that has pictures for easy identification. Also, cook your food to kill parasites and to preserve nutrients.
Look for Water
In the wild, water is crucial to survival. The human body can only go about three minutes without oxygen, a few days without water, and a week or so without food. Therefore, finding and obtaining water should be your top priority.
Running streams are a good source of drinking water, as are lakes and rivers. However, you should note that these sources can be tainted by microorganisms.
Other options include hunting and fishing for fish and amphibians that aren’t poisonous to eat, such as frogs, geckos, salamanders, and snakes. You can also hunt deer, rabbits, squirrels, and hares for meat.
In a pinch, you can also collect rainwater. However, you should remember that it can be tainted by dust and dirt, so it is best to filter or boil it first. You can also find water in the crotches of tree limbs and in rock crevices, but these sources are not always reliable.
Look for Food
The act of looking for food in the wild is called “foraging.” Foragers harvest edible plants from their natural environments for free. Foraging can be done for fun, as a hobby, or as a survival skill.
Foraging can be a dangerous activity, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions. The best way to practice safe foraging is by finding a field guide that includes easy-to-identify photos or line drawings of the edible species in your area. It’s also important to remember that not all plants look the same, so never eat anything you’re not 100% sure about.
Foraging can be a great way to get more protein in your diet. In addition to fruits, vegetables, and herbs, you can also eat insects, which are rich in protein if cooked right. However, it’s important to be careful when foraging for insects, as some can be deadly. For example, avoid eating ants and scorpions unless you’re absolutely sure you can kill them safely.
When it comes to wild food, a survivalist’s first priority is to make sure they can identify what they are eating, especially plants. For example, the orange, yellow or red nasturtium flower, commonly found in park and street-side flowerbeds is not only beautiful, but every part is edible, from the leaves to the seeds. Likewise, hairy bittercress and plantain (Latin name: Plantago) are common, cool-weather wild edibles that can be cooked or eaten raw, as are weeds and grasses like yarrow.
Foraging is a valuable skill to learn if you plan on spending extended time in nature. The key is to know when each plant is at its best. For example, acorns and cattails are available all year, but their peak is in fall. Other seasonal options include berries, roots and tubers. It’s also important to note that some plants are poisonous if eaten in the wrong season or even in small amounts. Always try a new plant one at a time, and eat only as much of it as you can tolerate to avoid becoming ill.
Look for Shelter
While it is possible for humans to survive in the wild for quite some time without food, the body needs nutrition to function properly. Similarly, it is not wise to go too long without shelter since it can also lead to malnourishment and even hypothermia.
If possible, look for abandoned human-made structures such as houses, barns, cabins, or even mines. If these are not in your immediate vicinity, search for a cave, gulley, ravine, canyon, or abandoned animal den as shelter. Make sure to cover your hole with a large rock or log to prevent atmospheric heat from entering your cool, underground space and to conceal your food from hungry animals in the area.
Another option is to attract wildlife by creating a brush pile. This can be a good habitat for many different birds and other animals in the area. Be sure to stop mowing part of your yard and turn the leaves, twigs, and tree limbs into a brush pile for wildlife to use.
A solid shelter can help keep you warm and protect you from rain. Look for natural caves or hollows where you can tuck yourself away. These places will also be naturally camouflaged, making them easier to find by rescuers.
It’s important to know which wild plants are safe to eat, and this is one area where it helps to learn more before you go out on your own. A good way to do this is to study the plant life in your area, paying particular attention to both toxic and edible varieties.
Learning the nuances of the wind is another great survival skill. Spend time wandering all around your land, experiencing the different winds and identifying where there are sheltered nooks and crannies. Then, mark the locations for future use. For instance, you could mark the North facing nooks and crannies with rocks so that food placed there will remain unaffected by buffeting winds.
Navigate Unpredictable Situations
In a survival situation, the first thing your body needs is shelter to protect it from the elements. From there, you need hydration and then food. Taking care of your most pressing needs will help you save energy for hunting and foraging. If possible, look for natural shelters that will temper extreme heat or cold and also camouflage you from rescuers’ eyesight. I bet that you’ll love this article at Survival Tip which can help you on many occasions.
When searching for food, you should learn about wild edible plants and master hunting, fishing, and trapping techniques to expand your options. Remember, though, to prioritize safety and respect the environment, accurately identify food sources, and avoid depleting wildlife populations.
The ability to understand the fundamentals of wilderness survival is critical for navigating unpredictable situations and maximizing your chances of thriving. By obtaining a clear understanding of the importance of shelter, fire, water, and food, you can venture into unpredictable environments with greater confidence. Shelter offers protection from the elements, while fire provides warmth, cooking capabilities, and a way to signal for help. Water is a vital resource that requires careful sourcing, purification, and conservation to prevent dehydration and waterborne illnesses.
Look for Fire
A thriving fire can be critical in the wild, both for cooking and providing warmth. Having the skills to build and maintain a fire in a survival situation can help you conserve your energy while increasing your chances of surviving in the wild.
In addition to helping you cook food, a fire can also be used to gather more food. For example, a fire can be lit to attract insects to your camp and then killed to capture them as a source of protein.
It’s important to know what plants are safe to eat before you go foraging in the wild. You can learn how to identify edible wild plants by reading survival books or taking a survival course. You can also rely on local knowledge to know which plants are edible in your area. Some plants may have toxic look-alikes or might contain poisonous stems and bark. In addition, it is best to avoid any plant that has been contaminated by chemicals from nearby busy roads or treated land.
Whether on purpose as part of a wilderness expedition or in an emergency, foraging is a necessary survival skill. It provides the nutrients that many modern diets lack, and it teaches children to respect food as a gift from nature rather than a commodity to be bought in supermarkets.
A good way to learn about the plants that are edible in a given area is to keep a foraging journal over months or years. This allows you to see the seasons in a year and know what will be available when. It also helps you to avoid wasting time looking for a food that isn’t there.
It’s important to use all your senses when foraging, especially taste and smell. Many wild edible plants have look-alikes, and if you can’t identify a plant by sight alone, try other ways to tell it apart like touch or smell. Hairy bittercress, for example, is a common cool-weather wild edible that looks and tastes a bit like spinach and makes a delicious cooked green or tea.