Can You Survive By Foraging Food In The Wild

Can You Survive
By Foraging Food In The Wild

Is it really possible for 'modern man' to actually survive by foraging for food in the wild?

If we are to believe the TV programs, where the so called 'experts of survival' proceed to show us all manner of strange survival methods, then the answer is yes.
But in the real world, the answer is a very pronounced, highly unlikely....

These programs will have you believe that living off the land is an ideal survival scenario - it's not.!

Bear Grylls Famously Drinking Dung..!!!

During the height of our summer months, it would appear there is an abundance of readily available, nutritious foods to forage for.
In fact, during the summer there are many different and easily foraged wild foods ready and waiting to be harvested for our evening meal.

So, on face value it could be quite plausible to survive on foraged foods, provided it's summertime and your in a big enough woodland, and of course there's only a few people about.

So for the TV shows to insinuate that anyone can survive by foraging for food in the wild, requires a little bit of investigation, as the truth can be quite different.....

How Long Can You Survive On Foraged Wild Foods

The vast majority of wild edibles are to be found in our woodlands, with a small amount along the hedgerows.
But one of the biggest problems we face when searching for wild edibles is actually finding a decent woodland in the first place.

The fact of the matter is that the UK is predominately farmed land, leaving only smaller areas of woodland where you can forage for foods on a large enough, and varied enough scale.

If you are a city dweller, then the chances of finding a woodland and actually foraging for food is pretty much non existent.

Could You Actually Live Of Foraged Wild Foods

Watch any survival expert and you will see they are very specific about what they show you to forage for.
They tend to go for leafy plants and vegetables, berries and fruits, nuts and tubers. All very well and good but:

All these wild foods are relatively low in calories, and in any survival situation 'Calories Are King'.... Yes, they do offer excellent nutrition, with high vitamin and mineral content, as well as a host of 'micro nutrients', but simply lack in their calorific count.

With such low calories on offer you would need to eat huge amounts and finding these amounts, for meal after meal, is almost an impossible task. 
Especially on a year round basis - you would only have a small window of harvesting time to accumulate a supply, and then what?
Preserving these foods will help see you through the winter months, but knowledge and equipment may be your downfall here. 

So, can you survive by foraging food in the wild? In conclusion I think we have to say that it would be a very hard task to try and live of the land by foraging around in the woods for any amount of time.
It would almost be an all day task, collecting enough to be a sustainable and worthwhile chore.

Wild edibles and plant-life do have a very specific place in survival, and must not be dismissed, so it is vitally important to know the good from the bad.
Plants are especially good for treatment of a whole host of medical conditions, if you are interested in this side of plant life, have a look at this previous article here: Top 5 Herbal Plants For Survival

Recommended Reading For Wild Edibles

How Can You Increase
Your Calories
And Add To Your Wild Edibles

Fortunately there is a very simple way to add high calorie, high protein foods to your survival diet, and supplement you wild edibles at the same time, essentially giving you an all round nutritious diet, that's high in calories to ensure you have enough energy to survive.

The answer is simple: Meat & Fish
Both meat and fish will provide copious amounts of calories, as well as adding important proteins and other nutrients to your survival diet.
We have derived from carnivores who would not have survived and thrived without these two essential foods.

Want to know more?  Checkout these articles below:

Steve Hart UK Prepper

So, Can You Survive By Foraging For Wild Food?
Yes & no is the answer! It really depends on how much knowledge and experience you have - I would always say, it is essential to learn a few of the wild edibles that you can forage and eat safely, but as with all bushcraft, survival and prepping, knowledge is king, and it certainly applies to wild edibles.

One of the best methods to learn initially is from books that specialise on the subject, and once you have a basic understanding, I would suggest taking a few weekend courses with a bushcraft school in your area.
I DO NOT suggest you just go out and try to eat anything that takes your fancy..!
There are many plants that are very poisonous and extremely dangerous to eat raw.

Happy Prepping Folks, Steve
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    • Charlotte Stephens on August 6, 2020 at 7:08 pm
    • Reply

    Being Raw vegan and living off foraged foods have been for the past few summer months quite well, may have to research bit more what foods to forage for in winter months yet sure may be fine once have the knowledge.
    Like to say that our canine teeth aren’t sharpy for tearing animal flesh like lions, all animals and human seem actually be vegan have been for 6 years and very well more than have ever felt.

      • Paul on May 18, 2022 at 8:45 pm
      • Reply

      Yes agreed no large k9 teeth. Sadly though I would not know where to start

      • Mark on May 20, 2022 at 10:07 pm
      • Reply

      If you observe predators, canine teeth are mainly used for gripping hold of prey not tearing flesh. The back molars are used to cut flesh.

    • Karen Bennetto on September 17, 2018 at 10:02 pm
    • Reply

    Quite a few years ago I challenged myself to live on foraged food for a weekend, 14 months later I stopped my experiment.
    I had foraged for many years before i did this,and consider myself very knowledgeable in wild foods and their preparation. I travelled miles (by car) to gather abundant ‘crops ‘ including regular trips to the coast….I used every kitchen gadget,the two best are my dehydrator and canner.
    I found 2 road kill deer and using an air rifle i shot lots of squirrels and pigeons.
    I honestly wouldn’t have been able to do it without modern kitchen equipment.
    I didn’t lose weight not did i ‘suffer’ but without meat….???
    I did process an astonishing number of walnuts into ‘walnut butter’ and jars of canned walnut butter were an almost staple filler….
    No way could a beginner or someone following a restricted diet (vegan etc) be able to do what I did.

    • Alf on May 29, 2018 at 1:06 am
    • Reply

    I have researched wild foods and you do not need to know every species of edible plant out there in order to survive. You really just need to know a few common plants and trees, that are widely available, and that offer large harvests. Hawthorn trees all produce edible berries, and in huge numbers. Wild Rose bushes produce rose hips in abundance…Each one is packed with around seven times more Vitamin C than an Orange. The hips have to be processed before being eating of course, but this is as simple as cutting them in half with a penknife and scraping out all the hairs inside them…Then they are ready to eat. Nettles are one of the most widely available edible plants. They contain more Iron than Spinach and can be made into soups or the leaves can be simply wilted over a fire and then eaten. Lime tree leaves are edible raw and taste a bit like lettuce. As for the lack of calories these food contain, they are at least available in sufficient quantities that starvation is never going to be a problem. Tapping Silver Birch trees for their sugary sap is a great source of calories, but the supply is only available during one season, as are Blackberries, which are one of the most common wild fruits in the UK. As far as meat goes, I should mention that I am not a vegetarian, I am actually a Piscavian (I only eat white meats like Birds, and Fish, but I don’t eat red meats like Beef, Lamb or Pork.) I realise this limits my diet somewhat over that of most carnivores but in a survival situation I would certainly be prepared to eat Grey Squirrels, cooked Wood Ant’s eggs and other normally abhorrant foods if I had to.

    • Jon on May 26, 2018 at 10:28 pm
    • Reply

    I have friends and relatives who are ardent vegans. They swear that they would rather die than eat meat.
    I suspect that most vegans and vegetarians share this ethos. Although tragic, within 3 weeks or so I would imagine that these people would have perished, thus reducing the amount of people bimbling about in the woods. However, as most people in western society today have never known hunger, it may not take long for these people to stop pontificating about how righteous they are, and start hovering around the roasting spit.
    Historically, starvation has always been the most effective method to make people re-evaluate their belief system.

      • Paul Lawley-Walker on May 20, 2020 at 5:23 pm
      • Reply

      Quite so, once hunger REALLY starts to kick and and they realize they have no other alternative, eat meat “OR DIE”…. Lets see how long these other fussy eaters last. Like for example these numpties who won’t eat any food from the supermatket that is past the sell by/best before date. It makes me sick that they’d prefer to chuck it in the bin rather than eat it. When there are thousands who would kil to get what we throw away.

      With all the bloody preservatives that are added to virtually everything we buy, food lasts far longer than back 30 or 40 years ago.

      It makes me sick. the food thats wasted these days !!!!!

      Moan over.

    • julie woodbridge on April 16, 2018 at 8:13 am
    • Reply

    Being vegan and a nutritionist I have to take issue with this as it is possible and in fact we humans don’t need meat to survive. If we were meant to eat meat we would be able to do it without using a tool, ie a knife or anything else, so it follows we can survive without meat…

    1. Hi Julie,
      The article is not about eating meat!
      It asks the question: “could you survive on foraged foods”?
      As a carnivore and someone who has experience living off the land, I also take issue with you taking issue.
      In a prolonged survival situation, and even more so in a SHTF situation where ‘normal’ foods are not available, and even worse if you were forced to bugout to a rural area and live off the land, then your chances of getting enough food, calories and nutrients from foraged edible plants is very slim indeed.
      If this happened in the winter months, then pretty much zero chances of survival.
      Being a vegan in ‘normal times’is a very easy task, but we are talking about surviving without supermarkets and specialist shops that provide your food.

      • Paul Lawley-Walker on May 20, 2020 at 5:33 pm
      • Reply

      Oh, I see Julie. So you eat your potatoes raw without peeling them. You eat your cabbage raw and without cooking it in a pot and boiling it. Or carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, or any other vegetables for that matter without using any tools. If we are to take your statement as read. For your information, if you care to look at your own teeth, you should find ( if you are human ) two pairs of CANINE teeth. What do you think they were there for, and have been there for the whole of human existence. Even Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and other species of apes also eat meat on occasion. Enough said. !!!!!

      • Unrulysun on April 10, 2021 at 11:45 am
      • Reply

      Julie, thank you. I would imagine it is possible to survive on plant matter if you eat sufficient quantity. Interesting that one of the commentators here did it for 14 months.

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