May 15, 2010 at 11:13 am #1258978
Ok, so obviously those Man vs. Wild episodes tend to show the bizarre side of outdoor survival (really, a dead Yak's eyeball?), but after sifting through the ridiculous, there are a lot of good tips for finding food in the wild.
For one, I had always heard about getting water from a cactus, but had no idea what kind of cactus to look for, would it come gushing from the center, etc. His video showed what kind to look for, how to get at it, etc. Obviously, that option is if you are in survival mode. If you go camping in the desert, you should know to bring water.
But getting back to the original intent of this thread: do any of you here have alternative methods for finding food on the trail? Do you supplement the food you carry with food you can find to save weight or is this just a big, flat out no-no for the LNT types? Not to mention the added danger of not bringing enough food by depending on the trail to provide nourishment.
Just wondering what kinds of tips you might have.May 15, 2010 at 12:12 pm #1610072
Since us modern city dwellers lack the wild food knowledge that the natives of the world have, IMO you would basically spend more calories trying to get food than you will take in.
Some exceptions might be on coastlines in tropical areas where there is an abundance of seafood and fruit etc.
The 3 top pure survival items are shelter, water, fire, although fire could come before water if you have to boil it. All 3 are about as equally important depending since hyperthermia or hypothermia can both kill you PDQ.
The desert is an entirely different story where you need massive amounts of water to fight off hyperthermia and regulate body temps.
There you really need an intrinsic knowledge of the surroundings and how to find water almost anywhere because it is so vital.
I watched a Ray Mears program about the first guys to cross Australia in the 1800's. Good program on survival.
He has a few other good ones too.
Go to youtube and look up Cody Lundin. He is a desert rat and has a lot of good survival tips. He says one of the best survival tools is a mousetrap.
As far as augmenting food, I have done it, but not to a large degree. Only when I am sure what I am picking and eating, watercress, dandelions, berries etc.Jun 29, 2010 at 12:20 pm #1624550
@scribblesLocale: Atlanta, GA
I hear that maggots boiled in a sock taste like wild rice…Jun 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm #1624556
Don't it have to be a dirty sock to give the "wild" flavor?Jun 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm #1624575
@antigLocale: Pacific Northwest
I learned from Bear Grylls that it's important to always write the number of room service in the back of the hotel key.Jun 29, 2010 at 1:49 pm #1624585
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I hike in areas with a lot of berries in season and it has been on my round-to-it list to learn more about wild edibles in my area. Mushrooms are gathered commerically, but I have no idea of the actual nutritional value of a mushroom is, and the danger of poisioning myself puts me off from trying to gather them. I'm looking more at what roots, nuts, and fruits can be gathered safely.
The Native Americans gathered camus root in the Pacific Northwest, but it needs some intensive processing to be edible. It is a starch staple much like Hawaiian poi, which also need s lot of prep work.
Fish can be plentiful in some areas. I carry a small emegency fishing kit with a few pre-tied leaders, split shot weights and some Spectra line– carried in a pharmacy give-away pill box about the size of a match book.Jun 29, 2010 at 3:06 pm #1624603
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Unfortunately, the steelhead trout in my area have been fished to almost extinction and are an endangered species now. I could fish on a coastal hike on the ocean, however, am I on a hiking trip or a fishing trip? Probably gathering mussels would be the easiest way to supplement my diet. Could eat the sea weed, too, I suppose.
There are no palatable berries to speak of where I live. Oh I'm sure we have some, but not in the kind of abundance like the berries in Washington.
Acorns require a lot of processing to be edible, as do some of the other supposedly edible things like manzanita or toyon (if they are even edible, I don't really trust these books that make it sound like all the native Chumash ever did was drink tea).
There are edible cherries about every other year. They are mostly pit but they are really tasty. I have eaten them with abandon those years when they're plentiful.
There is miners lettuce which I have added to cooked meals on occasion. I don't care for it raw, but cooked it tastes like spinach.
Wild onions I have eaten with abandon when found.
I've eaten the flower of the yucca whipplei but I didn't like it much.
Wild rosehips are mostly just a bag of seeds and don't make a very good tea in my opinion. But I suppose if I was dying of whatever that disease is, I'd be drink as much tea as needed.
Unless I had the wherewithall to hunt squirrels or rabbits, I think I'd mostly starve trying to eat in my backcountry.Jul 2, 2010 at 8:40 pm #1625884
@red_foxLocale: South Florida
When I do trips that are 5 days or longer I usually bring my Slingshot and/or fishing pole to supplement one of the days worth of food with small game or fish. I've done this several times and never went hungry. Here in Florida, squirrels and rabbits are plentiful, so I usually hit at least one or two to supplement the missing day's worth of food. I seem to have less luck with fishing so a slingshot is my preferred route. The Florida Trail along the north part of the Ocala National Forest always has wild red berries if you know where to look. I usually eat a couple of handfuls of those as well. This is about as close to Bear Grylls' style as I have gone while backpacking. I have tried different insects before as well, the only thing I found that bothered me a little was the texture but I got over it. The taste wasn't really bad.
-SidJul 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm #1628618
@al_t-tudeLocale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
While backpacking and canoeing portage linked lake loops in British Columbia, Salmon Berries made up such a substantial portion of our diet that our "waste" began to resemble the local bear scat. Our's was so loaded with berry seeds that we must have been approaching their diet. This definitely cut down on our daily food weight and $ budget.Jul 13, 2010 at 5:03 pm #1628694
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Probably gathering mussels would be the easiest way to supplement my diet."
Be very careful about mussels, Piper. Red tide is present in the warmer months and, sometimes, even in cooler months. Gathered at the wrong time, your first supper could end up being the last supper. When they are safe to eat, you can also gather goose barnacles and limpets off the same, or nearby, rocks.
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