The Paiute Deadfall is a quick trigger mechanism trap typically used to catch small game. With a little practice, it is fairly easy to set and is one of the more effective primitive traps. The trigger is fairly sensitive and you can easily scale this trap to catch either small animals like mice and rats or larger animals such as raccoons, marmots or squirrels.
With a bit of practice, a person can build 5-10 Paiute deadfalls in an hour. With trapping being a numbers game, if you are in a survival situation, you should place as many as 50 traps around your campsite to ensure success. When placing traps, be sure that they are easy to find when it comes time to check your traps and if possible, mark your traps so they can easily be seen by you from a distance. I recommend that you place the traps in a clock like pattern or a circular rout around a central location, so you can walk out and find them. It is also a good idea to set your camp in a location near a fair amount of resources such as food, water and cover that animals like to hide in.
Location is key when you do set your traps. Look for animal dens or shelters, game trails, water sources, food sources or anything that would indicate that animals commonly pass through an area. If you can determine a transition area between food and shelter, this is typically the best place to set multiple traps.
The Paiute deadfall can be a bit tricky to set up especially if you are new to its design. Be sure not to place your hand or other parts of your body under the deadfall as you can easily get injured.
To make the Paiute Deadfall more successful, it is recommended that you use bait. You can use food that you bring with you such as peanut butter, bits of trail mix or anything tasty that you have in your backpack. If you do not have any humanly snacks, then pay attention to what the animals are eating and use their natural food source to bait the trap. It is best if you choose a food source that isn’t easily accessible in an area. For instance, if there are strawberries where you set the trap but across the valley there are raspberries, go across the valley to pick those berries and bring them back to the trap.
This video is a step by step demonstration on how you can build and set up the Paiute deadfall.