Acquiring Food

You can only make it three weeks without food. You will feel the effects long before the three week mark though. It won’t take long before your mind becomes clouded, your body becomes weak, and you just won’t be functioning very well. There are many different ways to acquire food. As always these depend on your environment and the tools available to you.



If you have the tools and skills to hunt animals life in the wilderness will be much easier. Knowing how to cook, prepare, and preserve food is also important.

Large Animals

Larger animals such as deer, moose, bear, or wild pigs are ideal sources of food. Just one of these should last you a long time. They do take more effort to hunt and may or may not even be viable options depending on where you are and what tools you have at your disposal. You may be starving and you may not even have any of these larger animals near you. Know what to expect and plan accordingly.

Small Animals

It may be easier to hunt smaller animals such as squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and more. These are also very likely easier to find. You will have more choices when selecting a sufficient weapon to hunt them with as well.


If you are somewhere warmer where you have access to reptiles, the these can be a great source of food. Anything from lizards, snakes, and turtles can make an excellent meal. Don’t eat them raw. I can’t think of any instance where it is safe to eat any type of reptile raw. Obviously eating them raw would be better than starving but if you can cook them, do so.


Birds are yet another great source of food. Smaller birds are a viable source of food and probably very abundant almost anywhere in the world. Larger birds like turkeys are a little bit harder to find but will provide you with a much better source of food. If you can have wild turkey for dinner I would say that counts as living in comfort.


Frogs are super easy to “hunt”. We don’t even know if we should really call it hunting. If you need a food source fast, catching and cooking frogs can be a good solution. They taste great too. I can speak from personal experience when I say that they are delicious.


Trapping is another great technique. You can trap just about anything including large mammals, small mammals, birds, and even fish. If you do happen to have a pre-constructed trap bought at a store, great use that. If you don’t there are tons of different methods constructing your own traps from the things you find in nature. You will have an easier time if you have rope, string, or wire with you.

Deadfall Trap


Fishing is another method of acquiring food that isn’t too hard under the right conditions. If you have fishing gear it will be a lot easier. If not you can construct your own fishing gear. For example you can make a hook out of a safety pin. You can also carve one out of bone, wood, or thorns. My favorite method of catching fish though is to use a hand crafted wood spear. These can be easily constructed out of materials found in the woods. With enough patience it is possible to catch fish with your bare hands too. Also, fish can be trapped. You have a lot of options.

Spear Fishing Peru Amazon Basin

Fishing Methods:
  • Hook and Line
  • Spear
  • Net
  • Your Hands
  • Trap


Foraging for food is another important skill. You can find all sorts of things just waiting to be eaten. This is a huge component to food acquisition.

Edible Plants

Knowing what plants are edible and how to find them is an important skill to have. Depending on where you are, this skill will be more or less relevant. If you are somewhere tropical, this is an extremely useful skill. If you are camping on top of a glacier, this is a somewhat less useful. In either case you should make a point of being familiar with edible plants, especially in your area.

Mushrooms and Other Fungus

Mushrooms are a great source of really delicious food. You can find them growing all over the place.

WARNING - If you aren’t absolutely 100% sure that you can identify a mushroom, don’t eat it. Some mushrooms are edible, some are poisonous. Some have look alikes. That means you need to be able to identify the mushroom for your current location. In some cases a person may be able to identify a mushroom with certainty in their own region of the world but there may be look alikes that only exist in a different region of the world.

Easy Animals

Some animals are really easy to find and provide great, convenient sources of food. Many of these are overlooked which is unfortunate as they can be lifesavers in a survival situation. That, and many of them just taste really good.


Insects are an excellent source of protein. They are packed with all sorts of nutrition. Assuming you aren’t out in the freezing cold the are usually really easy to find too. This may save you a lot of trouble if other methods like hunting, fishing, or trapping are taking too long. They can hold you over until you can get something else of you can just keep eating them because they are a delicious and efficient source of food.


Worms are highly nutritious. This is probably not the first thing that you think of but worms are usually really easy to find. You may or may not like the idea of eating worms but they do provide a good source of protein and depending on where you are may not be hard to find. If you are stuck out in the wilderness and hunting, trapping, and fishing have all been ruled out, eating worms may save your life. They are also a fast source of food. If you do have worms in the area, it shouldn’t take a lot of time to find them. This makes them a quick solution. We do recommend washing and cooking them first, seriously.


If you are near the ocean or a sea, this can be an easy source of protein. Collecting shellfish doesn’t even necessarily require any tools. Crabs, clams, mussels, and snails are all easy targets.

If the only close by body of water is freshwater, you still may be able to find shellfish. Many lakes have fresh water mussels. Crayfish can be found in a variety of different places from small streams to big lakes. Some parts of the world are even home to river crabs.


These are another easy food source. If you are in a temperate or tropical area near water, chances are it will be easy to find frogs. We aren’t sure whether or not we would call catching frogs hunting. It is a really easy source of food and they are really delicious over a fire.