Introduction: Split Stick Deadfall Trap

Picture of Split Stick Deadfall Trap

When lost in the wilderness, food is the fuel that keeps you going, and meat is one of the best fuels you can get. However, getting said meat isn't always easy. That's where the split stick deadfall comes in. In my opinion this is the easiest deadfall trap to set up and deploy. Unlike a Figure 4 deadfall no complex cuts are required, and unlike a Paiute deadfall no string is required. As my poor mangled fingers can attest, the trap packs a powerful punch (don't even brush against the trigger once it's in place!). If you intend to use one of these traps for hunting outside of a survival situation, please be aware of any laws regarding trapping in your area before proceeding. Also, please be careful! If these traps can catch an animal, they can do some damage to you too!

Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the Outdoor Survival Contest!

Step 1: What You Need:

Picture of What You Need:

- A large rock (the one I used was about 20" x 8" x 5")

- Two sticks about the diameter of a C battery, each around 5" long (if possible, cut both sticks from one branch)

- A strong, thin stick, about the diameter of a pencil

- A knife

Step 2: The Support Sticks

Picture of The Support Sticks

- Carve a groove in one of the thick sticks that is around 1/4" wide and 3/16" deep.

- Carve a corresponding groove in the other stick.

Step 3: The Trigger Stick

Picture of The Trigger Stick

- The thin stick will be your trigger stick. If necessary, thin the first inch or so of the trigger stick until it fits snugly in the grooves between the two support sticks without moving. You want it to be pretty tight.

Step 4: Setting the Trap

Picture of Setting the Trap

- Balance the rock on the two support sticks. It helps if the sticks are angled in towards the rock instead of straight up. This may take some time, so be patient, and be careful!

- Make sure the grooves in the support sticks are aligned.

- Cut the trigger stick to an appropriate size, and bait it. Peanut butter works quite well.

- Carefully insert the trigger stick into the groove between the support sticks. You may need to lift the top support stick up slightly, which might cause the trap to collapse, so be patient and careful.


thetotaloutdoorsman2017 (author)2017-06-20

this seems like a great idea, I'll have to try it and get back to u

TomA30 (author)2016-03-29

I got my dead fall trap information from

I like this guide though. Bookmarked!

HLightning11 (author)2016-02-23

Cool, but seems like it would hurt if u accidentally triggered it yourself

M3G (author)HLightning112016-02-23

It definitely would, be careful!

Very nice M3G!

Thank you!

Nice, nearly the same idea as

Klevhage (author)2015-05-11

I have drawings from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency to hundreds of traps blah squirrels, beavers, deer, lynx, badger, mink, wolverine, marten, birds of prey, rats, foxes, etc.

Ask me if youre looking for a trap for a special animal . . .

perhaps trade with other plans ?


SparkySolar (author)2014-10-19

I love this. Thank you


M3G (author)SparkySolar2014-10-19


neffk (author)2014-09-24

Nice. Doesn't even require a bit of rope or any other materials.

ewbray (author)2014-07-04

Why not when setting the trap, just place ANOTHER large rock in front of the 'trigger'? That way it you inadvertently spring the trap while trying to set it, the original rock won't fall on your hands. {injuries can be very bad in survival situations} Once the trap is set you can carefully remove the other rock and move on to your next Deadfall trap!

M3G (author)ewbray2014-07-07

Great idea!

wilgubeast (author)2014-05-13

Perfect GIF project. Your pics are gorgeous, too. Kudos to whoever maintains that lawn.

M3G (author)wilgubeast2014-05-13

Thanks for the kind words! (And thanks for the kudos regarding the lawn)

ldmorgan (author)2014-05-13

Nice 'ible, but here are a few suggestions. 1) Always lay a flat rock down to be the anvil beneath the hammer. It makes the kill much quicker, which is more certain and much more humane. 2) While setting up your trap, put two biggish "stop-rocks" under the hammer stone keep it from slamming shut on your hands if it accidentally triggers. 3) Skip the notching, entirely: Pin the round trigger stick between the support sticks, but with the support sticks largely offset so the slightest movement of the trigger stick will roll them instantly out of line. About 1/4" of trigger travel is what you want, or less. (Stop-rocks are your friends! You'll need them as you learn how to set the trigger for maximum sensitivity.)

You can also make your trap more certain by tying a small stick over the bait on the trigger stick. As the critter tries to excavate the bait, the trap will certainly spring.

M3G (author)ldmorgan2014-05-13

Thanks for the suggestions! The stop rocks are a great idea, and would have saved me a bit of pain!

diy_bloke (author)2014-05-12

isnt this to heavy to trigger by a small animal?

M3G (author)diy_bloke2014-05-12

It all depends on the weight of the rock. To catch a smaller animal a lighter rock should be used. I tested the trap with a rock that weighed around 5 pounds, and the trap was triggered by extremely little force.

diy_bloke (author)M3G2014-05-12

great, coz this is surely easier than the Paiute deathfall

hunter999 (author)2014-05-10

Wow, this is great! The gif totally shows it off! Voted for you :D

M3G (author)hunter9992014-05-10

Thank you so much!

gravityisweak (author)2014-05-09

Got any video of this in action?

M3G (author)gravityisweak2014-05-09

There's a gif in the first step.

KyleTheCreator (author)2014-05-09

Ouch! That would hurt. Lol

unclelar (author)2014-05-08

I have so many problems trying to set a fig.4 trap,this looked so much simpler and quicker that I figured that I would give it a shot.I have a bunch of tree rats(squirrels) in the woods next to me,thought this would the perfect testing grounds.So I set two traps.The little critters ate the peanut butter to the point of scraping some of the bark off as well without tripping the trap.Then I tried shelled peanuts wired to stick,they still got a free meal. What the heck am I doing or not doing that isn't right? If I trip it with a stick like you are showing in your clips it trips with very little pressure.Any ideas?

Great instructions and good,clear photos and clips.Thanks,great job and idea

M3G (author)unclelar2014-05-08

Hmm, as long as it is legal to use these sort of traps on animals where you live, you could tie a string to the trigger stick and yank it when an animal is in place.

Bard (author)M3G2014-05-09

I have not tried this being that I like my cat non flattened.

After looking at the design maybe your trigger stick is set to high or to low. It looks like side ways motion is sensitive what about up or down, theres a lot of wieght pressing on those sticks. You could also maybe slightly bevel one of the notched ends of the sticks to make it more sensitive.

M3G (author)Bard2014-05-09

Thanks for the input!

metzbomber12 (author)2014-05-09

wouldn't that crush your meat to much making it unusable?

M3G (author)metzbomber122014-05-09

It depends. If you caught a mouse it would definately be crushed.

metzbomber12 (author)2014-05-09


M3G (author)metzbomber122014-05-09


JonnyBGood (author)2014-05-09

Great trap! Sorry in advance but I can help but size this up a little, Wile E Coyote sized!

M3G (author)JonnyBGood2014-05-09

Thanks, and good luck!

unclelar (author)2014-05-08

Man that last guy sure was long winded wasn't he? ;-)

M3G (author)unclelar2014-05-08


About This Instructable




More by M3G:Flat-Pack Lantern Attachment for Any Headlamp (DIY Diffuser)Helix- a Minimalist Bracelet Wrench SetMjölnir- a (Balanced) Asymmetric Fidget Spinner
Add instructable to: