Food Sources in Streams and Creeks

If your in a wilderness survival situation, keep in mind that everything in the world needs water.  So if you come across a creek, stream, pool of water, pond, lake or river, chances are your gonna be able to find some kind of food source.

immature muscadine grape
immature muscadine grape

A couple of days ago my kids and I (Kevin) went on a fishing trip on local creek. While we were there I noticed some Muscadine grapes hanging over the creek.  Its been awhile since I have seen these grapes – I see the vines all the time but you have to catch the grapes at just the right time of year.  When the grapes are ready to eat they will turn a bright purple color.

When the grape is a bright green colors, its no ready to eat and will have an unpleasant  bitter taste to eat.  As the grape turns a purple color, the bitterness will slowly go away.  So if the grape is mostly purple and a little green, the bitter taste will not be too bad.  But its best to eat the grapes when they are a deep purple color.

Warning about eating food you find in the wilderness: Unless you are 100% sure what it is – DO NOT EAT IT! There is no need in risking your health or even your life on eating something. Some plants are poisonous and can make you very sick. So ff there is any doubt of what it is – DO NOT EAT IT! Its not worth it.

The only reason why I ate the grapes in the video, is because I was raised in the area and have known what Muscadine grapes are since I was a child.

Besides the muscadine grapes, other foods sources in the area include crawfish – although they are not very big in the creek, minnows – which can grow up to about 2 – 3 inches long, and several different types of perch. While my kids were fishing they caught 3 different types of fish. Which ranged anywhere from 3 – 7 inches long.

To catch the minnows, get a branch from a tree that has a lot of leaves on it. Step into the water, be very still and when the minnows approach the edge of the bank – use the limb, swing at the minnows and splash them into the shore. If you can catch a worm, or lizard and put it into the shallow water, you might be able to tempt the minnows closer to the bank.

Another way to catch the minnows is to use your shirt or a bandanna, put a couple of long sticks through the material, lay it on the bottom of the pool of water where the water is shallow. Be very still and when the minnows swim over the shirt, lift it up with the sticks. In other words, use the shirt and sticks to make a net, but it will be flat.

Waterborne Diseases: All untreated water should be considered unsafe to drink.  Anything caught from the water should be cooked or boiled to kill any diseases.

Examples of waterborne diseases:
Giardiasis – Protozoan intestinal parasite
Taeniasis – Tapeworms
Botulism – Clostridium botulinum
E. coli – Escherichia coli
Typhoid fever
Hepatitis A
Poliomyelitis (Polio) – Poliovirus

In most cases, you do not have to drink the water to become infected. Some of the viruses and bacteria can enter through open wounds, the eyes, touching the lips or by handling food while your hands have the infection on them.

Dead Animals:  If the pool of water has a dead animal in it, do not touch the water and try not to eat anything that comes from the water.  Bacteria will be using the dead animal to reproduce, and the toxins from the animals intestines will be released into the water as the tissue breaks down.

If you have to have water, find a sandy bank, back away from the waters edge a few feet and dig a hole.  When you hit water, keep digging for a few more inches.  Let the hole fill up with water, let the dirt in the water settle until the water is clear.  The sand will act as a slow sand filter and will help remove diseases from the water.  This does not mean that the water will be safe to drink.  But it should have less bacteria then the water taken directly from the stream or pond.