Paiute Deadfall Trap 101
The Paiute Deadfall Trap is the easiest and most effective of all deadfall traps. Understanding and mastering this type of primitive trap is an important component of a survivalists knowledge base. The Paiute deadfall is suited to capture small (rodents) to medium (raccoon) sized game depending upon deadfall weight/size.
NOTE: This trap should only be deployed in survival situations. This type of trap results in the death of the prey animal and cannot discriminate between an unfortunate pet or forest animal. As with all trapping activities, be sure to respect your game laws and exercise ethics in the wild.
There are many ways deadfall traps are built, and you will find a number of varying directions on how to assemble one. I encourage everyone to try other methods and trigger systems, but hope to save many the time and trouble of trial and error that inevitably leads to using the Paiute. Follow the instructions below and watch the video for further insight.
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- Bears quite a bit of weight, supporting the lever stick
- Forked stick tall enough to set your rock at a 25-35º angle to the ground
- Bottom end is blunted to get easy purchase on rock or dirt surface
- Though it is tempting to sharpen this and stick it in the ground, that makes it more stable, and we want this to be as "unstable" as possible, while maintaining stability until it's triggered
- Top ends are trimmed just long enough to give the lever stick a place to articulate
- Largest, longest, and strongest
- Directly holds most of the weight of the deadfall rock
- Needs to be fairly straight
- Cut a rough notch with enough belly to articulate with the fork in the fulcrum stick
- When built, this should be at an angle down to the ground, not horizontal, as some folks demonstrate
- Length will depend on size of trap, want to keep it as short as possible to minimize the chances of it snapping
- Tied around lever stick on one end and toggle stick on the other
- It will be parallel to the ground when trap is built, wrapped around the fulcrum stick and then secured by the short tip of the toggle tucked under it
- I use two strand twist yucca cordage in this video, which is demonstrated on my Gorge Hook video
- You can also create cordage out of everyday objects, as in my Urban Survival Cordage video
- Short and stiff
- Will never be more than a few inches long, about 2.5 x diameter of the lever stick should be plenty long
- Tied to the end of cordage and acts as a purchase point for the trigger stick
- Light and fairly long
- One end rests against the toggle stick, the other will sit against the deadfall rock
- End against toggle can have a slight belly, opposite end should be blunted so it will grip the surface of the deadfall rock
- Make sure there is no bait between the stick and deadfall rock, you don't want something to slip and trigger the trap by accident
- Needs to be close enough to the ground that a creature coming by can easily contact it, not up off the ground
- I refer to this is a rock throughout this article, but it can be any large and heavy object
- Heavy enough to disable or dispatch the creature
- I use flat rocks in this video, but solid logs, cinder blocks, or even a salvaged tire could be effective if set up correctly
Hope you enjoyed this video, comment below and let me know what you think!