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Finding Food

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Remember, although it might sound counterintuitive, food is your least pressing survival need. The average person can survive for several months without any food at all. If water is scarce, resist the temptation to eat, as the search for food and digestion consume a lot of your body's water. 

If water is plentiful or if you must eat, consider the following:

  • Insects are the easiest to catch and most are good to eat, but they must first be cooked. Avoid fuzzy insects, as some are poisonous.
  • Frogs are easy to catch and are nutritious. Snakes are more difficult to catch and are more dangerous, but are good to eat. Lizards are good to eat, but are very difficult to catch. Skin all reptiles and cook them thoroughly.
  • Most fish are good to eat.
  • Most bird eggs are good to eat.
  • Contrary to popular belief, rabbits and deer can be run down and caught. Although quick, these animals lack stamina.
  • You may be able to scare away prey from their catch by throwing rocks or making noise. Avoid trying this with dangerous predators, as they may decide to prey upon you.
  • If feasible, try setting a trap to catch animals.
  • Beware of sickly animals or those with a spotted liver, as they may carry a disease.
  • Avoid mushrooms, as many are toxic.
  • Avoid plants secreting a milky sap, as many are poisonous.
  • Cattails are good to eat.
  • Most roots and seeds are good to eat.
  • Acorn nuts from North American oak are edible.
  • Pines nuts are generally good to eat, but some pine trees are poisonous.
  • Although many grasses are indigestible, you can extract the nutrition by using it to make tea.
  • Learn to recognize poisonous plants. Avoid eating or even touching them.

For more detailed information about food procurement, see Chapter 8 ("Food Procurement") of the U.S. Army Survival Manual.


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