Surviving isn’t camping. When you are camping, you are generally having fun even when you are working hard, you’ve probably prepared with ready-made meal options, or even a proper menu for the journey, and you can always tuck tail and go home when things get too bad.
But when you are surviving, pretty much everything else is going to be dictated for you. When and where you can sleep, what you’ll be doing, and of course what you’ll be eating.
In any short or long-term survival situation that lasts a while, what food you do have access to is going to run out and then you have to start sourcing your own food from the wild.
This means you’re going to be eating various animals that you wouldn’t normally consider eating.
How about buffalo fish? Can you eat buffalo fish in a survival situation?
Yes, you can safely eat buffalo fish. They are delicious, nutritious, and usually quite sizable making them a great catch in any survival situation assuming you can get them.
Compared to other, typical freshwater fish found in North America, buffalo fish don’t have the best reputation as game fish, but they have an excellent reputation as table fish (assuming you can get your hands on them).
Easier said than done, though, because they can be very tricky to catch with a rod and reel.
You need to get creative and improvise if you want to bag these big fish in the middle of a survival situation. Keep reading and we will tell you everything you need to know.
Where Can Buffalo Fish Be Found?
Buffalo fish, proper name Ictiobus, are a genus of fish comprising five species native to North America from Mexico all the way up through the United States and into Canada, and also found in Guatemala.
The distribution of the species varies, with big-mouth buffalo being found throughout the Red River in the United States and Canada, and throughout the entirety of the Mississippi River system all the way down to Texas in the Southwest and throughout Alabama.
The smallmouth Buffalo is found throughout the Mississippi River System in the United States and all the way up into Idaho.
Clear, moving freshwater is their typical habitat, and they are tolerant of both fast-moving bodies of water and water with high mineral content.
These fish typically depend on dense vegetation for shelter and to find food, filtering food from the water itself or else sucking up algae off of rocks along with a few inclusions of choice insects and crustaceans.
Generally speaking, you have a good chance of finding these fish if you know where to look and how to find them so long as you are in their habitat.
Buffalo Fish Nutrition Info
Fish are usually pretty healthy eating, and buffalo fish are especially so.
High in protein, very low in saturated fats, and packed with high-quality micronutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, these fish also tend to be sizable and very densely muscled, making them a great meal.
The most notable nutrients found in buffalo fish aside from their high protein content are vitamins B12, D, A, and folic acid along with plenty of selenium.
However, caution should be taken when eating wild-caught buffalo fish because they have a tendency to absorb mercury into their body which will then be consumed by you if you eat them.
Yes, this is a potential problem when eating all wild-caught fish but buffalo fish are more prone than most species to absorb this toxic heavy metal.
Also, because the type of food buffalo fish eats is not really used (or even usable) as bait on a lure when fishing, buffalo fish are most often taken with a bow and arrow.
Do Buffalo Fish Taste Good?
Yes! Buffalo fish, though not commonly advertised or sought for human consumption, nonetheless make for a terrific meal whether or not you are in the middle of a survival situation or just looking for a great fish dinner on a weeknight.
These fish are juicy, firm yet soft, and remarkably clean tasting, lacking the typical fishy oiliness that is present in most species.
The fish also lend themselves remarkably well to many different kinds of preparation, and they can be grilled, steamed, fried, baked, or used directly in a soup or stew with equal ease.
No matter how you are going to cook it and no matter what ingredients you have on hand, you will have a nourishing and wholesome meal from a buffalo fish.
Is it Safe to Eat Buffalo Fish Raw?
No. Eating raw fish, though normalized thanks to the widespread acceptance of sushi, is a bad, bad idea, especially in the case of wild-caught freshwater fish like the buffalo fish here.
The simple fact of the matter is that eating any raw animal protein, including fish, dramatically increases your chances of contracting food poisoning from one of several germs, or else becoming infested with harmful and potentially deadly parasites.
Buffalo fish can play host to all of them, bacteria and viruses to parasites like various species of worms and flukes.
Consider that even contracting something as simple and normally innocuous as food poisoning could prove to be fatal under the circumstances.
You aren’t going to be able to dash down to the ER or to the local clinic for assistance with squashing the bug and getting something for your symptoms…
You’ll be facing crushing nausea, cramping, vicious diarrhea and possibly vomiting in the bargain. That’s just going to dehydrate you and further sap your energy reserves.
That could be enough to finish you off if you are already in a bad way, and it’s going to make taking care of all the other things you need to do to survive difficult or impossible.
To avoid this, always make sure you thoroughly cook the meat from a buffalo fish until it is well done.
An internal temperature of 165° F is sufficient to kill virtually all known pathogens that it could harbor.
Are Buffalo Fish Scales Safe to Eat?
Yes, if they are cooked, but they should generally be discarded.
The scales of the buffalo fish are large and tough, and even when thoroughly cooked they make for pretty difficult eating and offer very little in the way of nutrition.
Feel free to scale the fish when you are cleaning it to prepare it for cooking: you won’t be wasting any calories.
Are Buffalo Fish Eggs Safe to Eat?
Yes, and the eggs of the buffalo fish are fairly sizable compared to most other caviar meaning they can be a great supplemental source of food if you can track them down or are lucky enough to catch a fish that is carrying eggs.
As always, make sure you thoroughly but gently cook the eggs prior to eating if you want to avoid the risks of foodborne illness.
Can You Safely Eat Buffalo Fish Bones?
No. Buffalo fish bones are generally stout and of a pretty good size, making them a significant hazard to try and eat as they are.
People are not supposed to eat fish bones, anyway, unlike some other carnivorous animals, as they pose a significant risk of choking or else they can cause internal injuries including becoming stuck in our intestines.
That’s the last thing you need to deal with under the circumstances!
However, bones can still offer you valuable nutrition in a survival scenario, including the bones from the buffalo fish.
This nutrition comes from the marrow, which can be extracted from the bones easily by simmering or boiling them in water to make a nutritious stock or broth, or else cracking or splitting the bones open before scraping out the marrow and cooking it.
Bone marrow has long been a coveted resource by those who are in a survival situation thanks to its overall nutritional density, so don’t discard the bones unless you have been blessed with an abundance of fish!
Can You Eat Buffalo Fish Organs?
Fish organs are rarely thought of as edible in any situation, but it turns out that you can in fact eat them so long as you take the time to properly prepare and cook them.
They can make for especially nutritious food when taking from a larger fish like buffalo fish.
The heart and the liver are generally the tastiest, and also packed with nutrients, while being easy to prepare.
The intestines of the fish are also edible, but you must use exacting care to expel the waste material from them before giving them a very thorough rinse and then cooking them.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.