Paiute Deadfall




The Paiute Deadfall is an Indian trap used for catching or killing small game.

Please don't abuse this knowledge, don't be an idiot and kill without reason.

you can use this type of trap with a box or crate instead of a deadfall and simply catch the animal.

this trap is better than the figure 4 deadfall because is is easier to set, has a more sensative trigger, and your hands are safer when setting it.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Gather Materials

You will need few materials for this trap.

-a small length of cordage
-two sticks equal in diameter (about) one stick about 8 inches, and one stick about 6.5
-a long skinny trigger stick
-and a 3 inch toggle, a little fatter than your trigger stick
-a deadfall or box
-(extra weight if necessary i.e. bricks etc.)
-good sized sharp knife

Step 2: Theory of Operation

take a look at these pictures to see how it works.

Step 3: Set Up, Step 1

first, attach the cordage to the one end of the support stick, and to the middle of the toggle..

Step 4: Set Up Upright and Deadfall

now my Paiute is something I just threw together quickly, so i might sound hypocritical while giving these instructions, so bear with me...

okay, make sure that you put your upright in the ground at an angle, and maybe bury it in the ground like 2 inches. also make sure that your ground is hard, or you put plywood under where the deadfall will fall.

make sure that the underside of your deadfall is rough, like a piece of granite, or if your using wood like me, take a nail or a knife, and put lots of parallel deep cuts (almost notches) every cm. or so... these will be there so that the trigger stick will be able to stick up against it. make sure that the ground under your deadfall is hard and LEVEL!!!

Step 5: Set Trap Pt. 1

this is where you will bait and set your trap up.

even though this is a sensative trigger, you want to RUB the bait into the trigger stick, or tie it on a small string that hangs off of the trigger stick. The thing is that you want the animal pulling DOWN on the trigger stick.

take your support stick and place the end WITHOUT the cord on top of the upright, and place the edge of your deadfall on the support stick. Now hold your cord tight so that the support stick doesn't let the deadfall down. then bring the cord around the upright like in the picture and hold it. you are now ready to place the trigger stick.

Step 6: Place Trigger Stick

this is the hardest most frusterating part of the whole trap set up. place one end of the trigger stick against the toggle so that the toggle can't unwrap from around the upright. Next take the other end of the trigger stick and make it stick to the underside of the deadfall. if it stays, congradulations, it is now ready to catch game. Your done. Don't get to frusterated and dont give up. i will upload my video on triggering the trap and here is a youtube video that shows how to set it up and make the parts..

1 Person Made This Project!


  • Skateboard Contest

    Skateboard Contest
  • Make it Move

    Make it Move
  • Teacher Contest

    Teacher Contest

21 Discussions

yay we got a two-for-one instruction - not just how to make a trap but also how to make cordage. Part three -how to pluck and strip the nettle without getting stung, OR plants in your area to soothe nettle stings!!

Very interesting, and good to see how to make it without a knife.


6 years ago on Step 2

Another theoretical design, and it tends to work for me, is that when the trap is triggered it will launch the support and the toggle the other way. If the support is long enough it will keep the upright out from underneath the deadfall and so the only thing that will be in the way is the trigger stick, which shouldn't be thick enough to severely restrict the deadfall's passage to the ground. Pretty neat, huh?


7 years ago on Introduction

I've never tried a deadfall yet, so was wondering, doesn't the falling weight start falling kinda slowly? Seems to me like a quick animal would dart away before it fell on them.


8 years ago on Step 4

as bait I would advise peanutbutter, or some bacom


9 years ago on Introduction

i made somthing like this trap but i could not find a proper bait to use to trap the rabbit what do you suggest ?


9 years ago on Introduction

LOL just like peter griffin did with that one guy.


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

same here. i have also seen a survival video that had this trap, but i thought it was a weird figure 4

fat max

9 years ago on Step 6

 Great instructable , well presented , and thanks for the diagrams . But what's with the spelling ??? 


9 years ago on Step 6

Very proffesional and well done. It had clear instructions and i understood what you were talking about immediately. Great idea too

5* :)
Thank you

Cool! it worked very well! I made a few modifications though I used a forked stick for the upright, and I carved a notch in the support stick to better hold the string. Thanks


10 years ago on Introduction

Great job! That trigger mechanism is genius. I didn't have much faith in deadfalls before due to them being hard to set off, but you've definitely solved that problem!

1 reply
bubba jeranox

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

ya but in general the harder it is to set up the more sensitive it is but the piute dead fall is faster than the figer four but easer to set up


10 years ago on Introduction

There's a similar deadfall where the trigger mechanism has 3 solid (stiff) parts. It's called--in English--something like "the figure-four trap". Anyone out there know about that one?

1 reply