Reptiles such as turtles and snakes are relatively easy to catch for food. Avoid box turtles as they eat poisonous mushrooms and those toxins can build up in their flesh. Avoid poisonous snakes, alligators, crocodiles as they can be dangerous to the health of a survivor. Cook to kill any parasites.
Fish are another good source of protein and don’t require the expenditure of a lot of energy. If you didn’t pack a few hooks and 15 LB. test fishing line in your survival kit, hopefully you packed some 550 parachute cord and possibly a few safety pins. The 550 parachute cord can be broken down into individual strings that can be tied together to form a line. The safety-pin can be turned into a hook. You can also use a pin, nail or a piece of wire to create a hook.
A piece of hard wood can be sharpened at each end with a notch in the middle where you tie the string. This is called a gorge. Bait is placed along the length of the gorge. When a fish swallows the bait it also swallows the gorge which will get lodged in the fish when you pull on the line. There are no poisonous freshwater fish, but you may have to avoid bones. Cook all freshwater fish to kill any parasites or protozoa. Bon appetite!
A few hooks, some tippet line, 15 LB test fishing line, a couple of sinkers, and maybe a couple of ring hooks don’t weigh a lot and don’t take up much room in your survival kit. You also might want to pack a couple of artificial flies like an elk hair caddis and a couple of zebra midges. Sorry, the fly fisherman in me is coming out.
There are several saltwater fish that you will need to avoid including porcupine fish, triggerfish, cowfish, thorn fish, oilfish, red snapper, jack, and puffer. These fish can have poisonous flesh which in some cases occurs seasonally. Any saltwater fish caught within a reef or near a source of fresh water should be cooked to kill any parasites.
Birds are another source of food, including their eggs. All birds are edible, although some are going to taste better than others. During the nesting season some birds will not leave their nests, even when approached. Pigeons can be removed by hand from their roosts at night. Birds will typically have a pattern that they follow, going from roosts, to water to sources of food. Knowing these patterns can help you set up nets across their flyways to capture the birds. You can use snares and traps around watering holes and roosts as another means of capture.
Mammals are the most recognized food source, but require a lot more effort to be successful unless you have a slingshot, crossbow, bow and arrow, or a small-caliber weapon. Using some of these will require a bit of practice to become an effective hunter. Another option might be to utilize traps to capture your prey.
You can set up multiple traps and check them once a day. You will need to learn the art of snaring as it is one of the more effective means of catching small animals like squirrels and rabbits. Remember to pack some fine wire in your survival kit to use when constructing snares. Don’t set your sights on hogs or deer unless you have a rifle. You will expend way too much energy if you set your sights too high.
Hopefully this article has given you some options in case you find yourself in a survival situation. Always be prepared by packing some of the essential survival equipment in your wilderness survival kit.