Survival Food - Rodents and Insects

Survival Food - Rodents and Insects

It is rare to hike through the forest without seeing at least some form of wild game.  Mostly you just watch them or take pictures but in a survival situation, you would be looking at ways to get that happy unsuspecting squirrel out of the tree and into your fat belly.  Humans have hunted and consumed animals for thousands of years in the continuous battle for life.  Rules and laws don't apply when it comes to life or death where living means eating. I know that it's a hard concept for some to grasp but in order to remain at the top of the food chain, humans must harvest animals for food.  Don't get me wrong, we are all for protecting wild animals so that they are not wiped out or overhunted, and we agree that we need to regulate hunting and eliminate commercial poaching.  But what our society sometimes seems to forget is that wild animals are a valuable resource for all of us.

Anywho, when you get right down to it, finding food to eat can be as easy as turning over a rotten log or lifting up a rock.  It all depends on how hungry you really are.  I have no problem eating anything that moves with the exception of spiders.  I believe that you should never eat spiders and I know that rats are edible but I am pretty sure that I would eat the undigested berries from pig feces before I would eat a filthy disgusting rat.  It's a personal preference!

In this part of the world, you are pretty safe to eat just about any kind of squirrel. These can be captured with snares or traps or simply brought down with a carefully aimed rock or stick. As a rule, I try to cook anything that I eat if possible (especially the bugs).  It not only reduces the possibility of adopting a nasty parasite or pathogen but also provides a level of comfort and takes some of the creepy out of the crawly.  Cooking isn't always possible though, and for those times you pull the head and legs off, close your eyes, and hope that it doesn't get stuck on the way down. 

Squirrels and other rodents can be difficult to capture as evolution has taught them to trust nobody, create multiple escape routes, then never stray far from them.  The best way to catch a rodent is with a trap or snare.  You could spend the day chasing them about or you could set a few traps and wait for the return on your calorie investment. Catching them by hand is possible but you run the risk of injuring yourself or receiving a nasty bite.

Rabbits, now there is a good meal if you can catch the little bastards.  They run faster than superman and have scratchers that rival Freddy Kruger but are worth the effort if you are lucky enough to catch one.  Again, traps or snares are your best bet with these guys.  They are easy to clean and are a great source of protein for a weary traveler.  I have heard that you should stay away from Jack Rabbits because they can carry diseases. I think that I would eat one anyway but would cook the ever-living shit out of it first!

Insects for dinner?

Grubs found in logs or under the bark of a tree are my favorite because they taste as good as a bug can taste.  They are easy to find and quick to cook.  You can look in and around logs that are down on the forest floor and rotting. Tear away the bark or break the logs apart and you are bound to find some.  They are also a staple of the Black Bears diet because they are packed full of protein.  If you are lucky enough to find some big ones, they can make a pretty good meal.  Cook them for a few minutes, pull off the heads and rear ends, and swallow them down.  Another easy insect that you can eat is Grasshoppers.  If you are near a meadow, there is always a good chance that there will be an abundance of them.
 Because they are so paranoid, it can be very difficult to get close to them so I found it much easier to catch them if you have a coat or shirt to throw over them rather than trying to grab them with your digits.  Or, a big rock works pretty well too.  They can easily be thrown on a bed of coals and cooked till they are crisp as they can also carry parasites.  You should always avoid bright-colored or very stinky bugs as they may be poisonous or just completely unpalatable.

Birds are certainly hard to catch but occasionally, you can get lucky with a snare or rock.  An easier meal is sometimes found in a bird's nest.  Nests can be found in the trees or hidden in tall grass on the ground and 
you can usually tell when you are close to one when - all of the sudden - you become the main source of attention for one or more adult birds.  They may dive bomb you or simulate a broken wing in an attempt to distract you away from their nest.  It is kind of ironic that the strategy that they use to protect their nest is the very behavior that draws humans to it.  If you experience this, they likely have eggs or young nearby that can be a good source of protein in a survival situation.

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