How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

If you are planning to catch a small game animal, one of the very effective way to do so is by using a Paiute deadfall trap. A Paiute deadfall trap is a setup used to catch animals by using a very sensitive and quick trigger mechanism. It is an Indian trap which dates back to the early Paiute Indian Nations. Whether you are lost in the wild without any equipment to use for catching your food or you just chose to catch your game without the hassle of pursuit, using a Paiute deadfall trap would be perfect for you. The good thing about having traps is that it gives you time to do the other things that you need to do.

Also, Paiute deadfall trap can be made with materials found in nature so you can make it even without available tools and it can even serve as a good camouflage so your prey won’t get suspicious. Do you want to learn how to make one and experience the benefits I just mentioned? Let me help you with that. In this article is a step by step procedure on how to make a Paiute deadfall trap. But before we proceed, let us have some knowledge about the trap first.

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Components of a Paiute Deadfall Trap

The Rock

This serves as the weight that will crash your prey. The rock must be at least around 5 times heavier than your prey for it to be effective. The rock is also called the deadfall.

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

The Rock - Photo credit: http://xboxhut.com

The Post

The post, also called the upright, is the stick that mainly supports the weight of the rock so it won’t crush the setup under it. It is where the toggle switch is attached.

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

The Post - Photo credit: http://www.survivalmagazine.org

The Lever

This stick is connected to your toggle switch by a cordage. It is the stick that directly supports the upper part of the rock.

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

The Lever - Photo credit: http://2.bp.blogspot.com

The Cordage

This connects the toggle stick and the lever.

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

The Cordage - Photo credit: http://www.jonsbushcraft.com

The Toggle

The toggle stick is attached/hooked near the bottom end of the post and is supporting the trigger

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

The Toggle

The Trigger

The trigger is a thin stick placed against the toggle stick and supports the bottom part of the rock.

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

The Trigger - Photo credit: www.survival.org.au

How does a Paiute deadfall operate?

How does a Paiute deadfall operate?

How does a Paiute deadfall operate? - Photo credit: https://i.ytimg.com

Now that we have laid down the components of a Paiute deadfall trap, the next thing we need to know is how it works so that it will be easier for us to understand how to make a Paiute deadfall trap.

So, here we go. First, let’s see how the trap stands or stabilizes itself. We know that each component must be in each proper position and is placed in order, or else, the rock will fall.

So how should we do this? We should first put the lever on top of the post, then position the post in a good angle while letting the lever support the upper part of the rock, which is also angled, then hook the toggle stick, which is connected to the lever through the cordage, in the post and stabilize it by pushing it with the trigger and making the trigger support the lower part of the rock. (I will discuss this setup in detail in the steps below.) In this setup, the lever and the post are the main weight supporters of the rock and the toggle stick and the trigger are the stabilizers.

If you try to imagine it, when the cordage is disengaged from the post, the lever will be released and the rock will fall. If the toggle stick is suspended by the trigger stick, the cordage will still be attached and the lever and the post will stay in their positions. When something moves the trigger stick, the toggle switch will no longer be suspended and the rock will fall to whatever made the trigger to move. This is how a Paiute deadfall trap operates.

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap?

Before we proceed on the steps on how to make a Paiute deadfall trap, here are the materials that you will need:

  • Cutting tool
  • Rock
  • Sticks
  • Cordage/string

Step 1. Gather all the materials that you will need

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

Gather all the materials that you will need - Photo credit: http://theprepperproject.com

The good thing about the Paiute deadfall trap is that it only needs few, easy to get materials. For the cutting tool, it is good if you have a knife available. However, if you happen to be in the wild without any tool with you, you may find a flint stone and break it with a hammer stone into a comfortable size for you. The flint stone will make sharp flint flakes when you strike it with the hammer stone and this can be used as a cutting tool. For the rock, you should find one that is flat and is heavy enough to crash your target prey.

Usually, it is five times heavier than your prey or more. For the sticks, gather two sticks with almost the same diameter, but one being longer. The longer one would be the post and the other would be the lever. These sticks should be thick enough to hold a weight. I won’t be specifying measurements here since this will depend on how big you want your trap to be and the game you want to catch. Going back, the next step is to find a long thin stick which will serve as the trigger and a small, thicker stick which will be the toggle switch.

Finally, for the cordage, if you can’t find a readily available one, you can make it by twisting together either the leaves, bark, or bast of fibrous plants. Examples are the bark of Willow, Maple, Basswood, and Cedar, the bast of Dogbane, Milkweed, Nettles, Hemp, and Flax, and the leaves of Cattail, Yucca, Agave, and Douglas Iris.

Step 2. Carve a point on one end of the post stick

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

Carve a point on one end of the post stick - Photo credit: http://www.survivalmagazine.org

Look for the wider end of your post stick and carve a point to the other side. The wider end should be the base because it will be the one that will support the most weight of your deadfall trap. To carve a point at the end of your post stick of your post stick, whittle one side up to the middle diameter of your stick then do it to the other side. You will create a point that will look like a dovetail.

Step 3. Create a V-notch on the lever stick

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

Create a V-notch on the lever stick - Photo credit: http://www.survivalmagazine.org

Carve a V-notch a few inches away from one end of your lever stick by creating a slanted groove on one side, flipping it around horizontally, then again, carving a slanted groove that will meet the first groove, making a V- shape. Make sure that the V-notch is fairly deep so that it won’t slip from the post stick and holds tight and secure when it is set up later. However, do not also make it too deep so that it won’t weaken the lever and it will not stick up to the post stick when the animal moves the trigger.

Step 4. Tie the cordage into the lever stick.

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

Tie the cordage into the lever stick - Photo credit: http://prepperssurvivalhomestead.com

A few inches away from the other end of your lever stick, carve a circle around it’s diameter wide and deep enough so that it will hold the cordage nice and tight. Next, tie your cordage using a simple knot that will nicely stand pressure on the area you carved.

Step 5. Make the toggle stick and tie the cordage

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

Make the toggle stick and tie the cordage - Photo credit: -https://thesurvivallife.com

Take the small stick you gathered earlier and flatten each side by whittling it with your knife. You can adjust the length of your toggle stick depending on what you see fit. The purpose of this is to create a flat surface where the trigger will sit later to support the toggle. Next, make a small slit in the middle of your toggle stick. Make a small loop at the other end of the cordage which we earlier tied to the lever stick then slip it to the slit in the toggle and secure it by placing a small stick into the loop. After that, pull the cordage to make sure it is tight and secure. Also, make sure that the cordage is not too long or too short, so before attaching it to the toggle, measure the its length wherein the toggle will sit near the bottom of the post stick when it is set up.

Step 6. Make a groove on the post stick

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

Make a groove on the post stick - Photo credit: http://theprepperproject.com

Simulate how your trap will stand and mark where the toggle stick will sit on the post stick. After that, make a very shallow groove where you put the mark by carving it with your knife. This should be able to lock the toggle into place but not prevent it from being released when triggered.

Step 7. Gather all the components together

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

Gather all the components together - Photo credit: http://theprepperproject.com

It is now time to gather all the components we need and get ready. Gather all the components we prepared earlier including the post and the lever attached to the cordage and attached to the toggle. For the rock, we have already found a nice, heavy, flat one earlier. For the trigger, let us just bring a few thin sticks of different lengths which we can choose from as we set up later.

Step 8. Set up the trap

How to Make a Paiute Deadfall Trap

Set up the trap - Photo credit: http://2.bp.blogspot.com

To set up the trap, take your post stick and place your lever stick on top of it positioning the V-notch on the end with the dovetail. Next, place the edge of the lever stick without the toggle on the rock or deadfall and bring the cordage around the post stick and sit the toggle on the groove that we made earlier. Lastly, put one end of the trigger stick against the toggle and suspend the other end on the underside of the rock beneath the lever. If you make it stand and it is stable enough, then you are done. You can now put the bait near the trigger and weight for your game. Just make sure that the lever does not land on the post when the trap is triggered, otherwise, it will be a fail.

Conclusion

A Paiute deadfall trap is a very good way of catching small game animals. As a hunter, knowing how make a Paiute deadfall trap brings about a lot of advantages. You can use it to catch your food in case you got lost in the wild and have nothing with you but yourself since it can easily be made by using easily acquirable and natural materials. You can also use it if you want to have some time doing other activities since it only needs some waiting time and a bit of checking from time to time. You don’t have to run around and worry about the hassle of pursuit. It also has very effective camouflage since it is made up of natural materials, so your preys won’t be driven away.

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More information about How To Make A Snake Trap? read here!

Sheldon Martin
 

Sheldon Martin is the founder of Captain Hunter. CaptainHunter.com is a site dedicated to the sport of hunting. We have a deep respect for nature and for the environment, and we therefore take the sport of hunting very seriously. Never think that you are alone in the woods again. Our goal is to share what we know with who needs it most.

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