|Steve's Notes: Crayfish are delicious, and even turn red just like a lobster when they are boiled. Lifting rocks to find them is much more efficient than baiting them. They swim backwards, so reach from behind them to catch them.|
You find saltwater lobsters, crabs, and shrimp from the surfs edge out to water 10 meters deep. Shrimp may come to a light at night where you can scoop them up with a net. You can catch lobsters and crabs with a baited trap or a baited hook. Crabs will come to bait placed at the edge of the surf, where you can trap or net them. Lobsters and crabs are nocturnal and caught best at night.
This class includes octopuses and freshwater and saltwater shellfish such as snails, clams, mussels, bivalves, barnacles, periwinkles, chitons, and sea urchins (Figure 8-1). You find bivalves similar to our freshwater mussel and terrestrial and aquatic snails worldwide under all water conditions.
River snails or freshwater periwinkles are plentiful in rivers, streams, and lakes of northern coniferous forests. These snails may be pencil point or globular in shape.
In fresh water, look for mollusks in the shallows, especially in water with a sandy or muddy bottom. Look for the narrow trails they leave in the mud or for the dark elliptical slit of their open valves.
Near the sea, look in the tidal pools and the wet sand. Rocks along beaches or extending as reefs into deeper water often bear clinging shellfish. Snails and limpets cling to rocks and seaweed from the low water mark upward. Large snails, called chitons, adhere tightly to rocks above the surf line.
Mussels usually form dense colonies in rock pools, on logs, or at the base of boulders.
CAUTION : Mussels may be poisonous in tropical zones during the summer!
Steam, boil, or bake mollusks in the shell. They make excellent stews in combination with greens and tubers.
CAUTION : Do not eat shellfish that are not covered by water at high tide!
Fish represent a good source of protein and fat. They offer some distinct advantages to the survivor or evader. They are usually more abundant than mammal wildlife, and the ways to get them are silent. To be successful at catching fish, you must know their habits. For instance, fish tend to feed heavily before a storm. Fish are not likely to feed after a storm when the water is muddy and swollen. Light often attracts fish at night. When there is a heavy current, fish will rest in places where there is an eddy, such as near rocks. Fish will also gather where there are deep pools, under overhanging brush, and in and around submerged foliage, logs, or other objects that offer them shelter.
There are no poisonous freshwater fish. However, the catfish species has sharp, needlelike protrusions on its dorsal fins and barbels. These can inflict painful puncture wounds that quickly become infected.
Cook all freshwater fish to kill parasites.
Frogs and salamanders are easily found around bodies of fresh water. Frogs seldom move from the safety of the waters edge. At the first sign of danger, they plunge into the water and bury themselves in the mud and debris. There are few poisonous species of frogs. Avoid any brightly colored frog or one that has a distinct "X" mark on its back. Do not confuse toads with frogs. You normally find toads in drier environments. Several species of toads secrete a poisonous substance through their skin as a defense against attack. Therefore, to avoid poisoning, do not handle or eat toads.
Salamanders are nocturnal. The best time to catch them is at night using a light. They can range in size from a few centimeters to well over 60 centimeters in length. Look in water around rocks and mud banks for salamanders.
Reptiles are a good protein source and relatively easy to catch. You should cook them, but in an emergency, you can eat them raw. Their raw flesh may transmit parasites, but because reptiles are cold-blooded, they do not carry the blood diseases of the warm-blooded animals.
The box turtle is a commonly encountered turtle that you should not eat. It feeds on poisonous mushrooms and may build up a highly toxic poison in its flesh. Cooking does not destroy this toxin. Avoid the hawksbill turtle, found in the Atlantic Ocean, because of its poisonous thorax gland. Poisonous snakes, alligators, crocodiles, and large sea turtles present obvious hazards to the survivor.
All species of birds are edible, although the flavor will vary considerably. You may skin fish-eating birds to improve their taste. As with any wild animal, you must understand birds common habits to have a realistic chance of capturing them. You can take pigeons, as well as some other species, from their roost at night by hand. During the nesting season, some species will not leave the nest even when approached. Knowing where and when the birds nest makes catching them easier. Birds tend to have regular flyways going from the roost to a feeding area, to water, and so forth. Careful observation should reveal where these flyways are and indicate good areas for catching birds in nets stretched across the flyways. Roosting sites and waterholes are some of the most promising areas for trapping or snaring.
Nesting birds present another food source - eggs. Remove all but two or three eggs from the clutch, marking the ones that you leave. The bird will continue to lay more eggs to fill the clutch. Continue removing the fresh eggs, leaving the ones you marked.
Mammals are excellent protein sources and, for Americans, the most tasty food source. There are some drawbacks to obtaining mammals. The amount of injury an animal can inflict is in direct proportion to its size. All mammals have teeth and nearly all will bite in self-defense. Even a squirrel can inflict a serious wound and any bite presents a serious risk of infection. Also, a mother can be extremely aggressive in defense of her young. Any animal with no route of escape will fight when cornered.
All mammals are edible; however, the polar bear and bearded seal have toxic levels of vitamin A in their livers. Scavenging mammals, such as the opossum, may carry diseases.
|Steve's Notes: Porcupine can be killed with a stick. They will not die easy, but they are slow, so you'll have plenty of time. Dress them from their underside, where there are no quills. They taste good when roasted over a fire. The mountain man tradition was to never kill them unless it was an emergency, because as long as they're around, there is easy food for survival situations.|
Use the link here for Survival Food - Part Two.
Use the link here to return to the topic list and links for the Wilderness Survival Guide.