How to Find Food in the Woods to Survive

How to Find Food in the Woods to Survive
You can only work and operate at optimum performance for a few hours without food. You can survive a day or two without it before developing a cloudy train of thought. After a few more days, however, you will start to feel debilitating fatigue and weakness. Thus, finding food in the woods is a serious concern when in a survival situation.


Difficulty: Moderate

Finding Food in the Woods

Things You’ll Need:
  • Hunting stick
Step 1
Identify the places where food may be found. Stands of trees, low bushes, meadows and streams are excellent places to start since these typically have a variety of food sources.
Step 2
Limit your search to a few different kinds of food when you locate an area for gathering. If you are in a stand of trees, limit your search to food typically found near trees, such as nuts, seeds and fruits. However, keep a lookout for game too. If you are near a stream or meadow, game will be the principal item to look for.
Step 3
Know how to gather your food properly. Some foods, like stinging nettle leaves, are edible when they are rolled up with the top of the leaf facing out and then placed in your mouth--touch only the outside. If you are hunting game, use a short hunting stick 16 inches long by 2 inches in diameter to throw at and stun the animal. Kill it quickly before you touch it to prevent being injured by it. Fish can be hunted with a pointed, broken stick by stabbing them in the water.
Step 4
Choose only positively identified foods--don't eat it if you don't know it. Stick with safe foods like pine needles, acorns, walnuts, nettles, wild hares, squirrels, onions and wild garlic.
Step 5
Be wary of poisonous foods. Never eat white berries, mushrooms, fungi or parsley-like plants. If birds are eating it, it is probably safe for you.
Step 6
Cook all foods properly. If you are eating meat, always cook it completely by roasting or boiling it. Never eat entrails; rather, stick with meat from the legs, ribs and arms. Fish can be cooked whole, however. In general, any edible plants found underground, such as onions or garlic, need to be cooked to ensure that they are safe to eat. Berries, nuts, and pine needles may be eaten fresh, but edible green-plant leaves and stems should be put into a soup to kill bacteria and destroy any toxins. Nettles are a good example since the stalks are edible when cooked.

Tips & Warnings

Pick up guides at your library when starting to look for wild edibles and memorize the foods that are safe to consume.


Article Written By Justin Chen

Justin Chen is a freelance writer and photographer with 6 years of professional experience in outdoor activities, extreme sports, travel and marketing topics. His professional work experience includes publication with KOMO 4 News Seattle, Fisher Interactive Network, and Demand Studios. He is a current Pre-Med student at Walla Walla University.

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