So you’re either lost in the woods, sh!t has hit the fan, or you’re just in the wilderness and you’re stomach is growling. Either way, you’re hungry – and guess what, you don’t have any food with you. What do you do?
Believe it or not, mother nature can provide you with pretty much everything you need until you are rescued or find a reliable food source, regardless of how harsh the environment is. Keep in mind, we’re talking about the forest here. If you’re looking into finding food in the desert or jungle, we’ll go into that later.
Finding a Basic Food Source in the Wilderness
So, you’re miles deep into the bush and you’re starving. The most important thing is to keep calm and avoid panicking. Your stomach may be growling, but chances are, you’ve got some energy stored up (in the form of fat) to keep your body going until you can find food. Realistically, finding a source of clean water is more important, but once you’ve secured water (and temporary shelter), food is next on the list.
So where can you find a basic food source in the wilderness?
You’ve really got one of two options in most cases. Believe it or not, ferns can be eaten and they have a fair amount of nutritional value. According to nutritional data from Self.com, basic tree ferns are an excellent source of fiber, Vitamin C, riboflavin, manganese, folate, Vitamin B6, and several other vitamins.
Another excellent source of food that might be more readily available in the foods is wild berries. Black raspberries and blackberries are present all along the western and eastern coast of the United States.
Berries tend to grow best in areas with full sun, so look along streams, lakes, or trails where there’s plenty of sunshine and there’s a good chance you’ll eventually find a honeypot of wild berries that are edible.
Besides berries and greens, you may be lucky enough to find nuts. Walnuts and acorns are typically somewhat available in the wilderness and they provide the protein and fat content that berries and most edible greens cannot.
Finding a More Sustainable Food Source
Berries and grasses are great, but eventually you’re going to need to move higher on the food chain if you want to survive. Despite what you may think about it, bugs and insects can and do make for a nutritious meal in an emergency. Crickets, locusts, earthworms, snails, and grasshoppers are just a few of the many insects you can eat in the wilderness.
Sure, it may not be ideal, but at the end of the day – you’re just trying to survive. So if you’re squeamish, then an emergency situation is the perfect time to get over your fears.
Just make sure to fry or boil the insects to kill any potential parasites that they may be harboring. The last thing you need is to unknowingly consume insects riddled with harmful parasites.
What About Hunting or Fishing?
If the circumstances enable you to fish, then you’re in luck. Fish are nutritionally dense, taste decent, and typically are fairly easy to catch with some effort. All you really need is a running body of water and the ability to setup a trap. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have string, you can create a makeshift rod and opt for that route.
Hunting for small game is a little more difficult. Throwing weapons like spears and arrows work, but they typically take a significant amount of training and experience before you can use them accurately.
Traps are the most efficient way at catching small game. Pit traps are especially effective, but they require a large amount of work.
The main idea is to dig a pit large enough to contain a target animal like a rabbit or squirrel. You should then disguise the hotel with sticks and brush. You’re hoping the animal will fall into the trap, and you can then kill, clean, and eat the game. You can sharpen sticks into spikes if you want to speed up the process, or you can hang bait above the pit trap to encourage animals to move towards the trap.
The most important thing you should remember is to stay cool, calm, and collected. The wilderness may be a lonely, isolated place to be, but Mother Nature can provide you with everything you need to survive until you can be found. If you’re ever lost in the wilderness, hopefully our advice can help you secure food until you’re found.