I spent the weekend surfing the web getting familiar with various types of primitive traps and triggering devices. I pondered the use of modern-day materials and applications. While I was doing some grocery shopping, I saw a package of bamboo chopsticks on display. My eyes glazed over as I envisioned a two-stick deadfall incorporating these timeless culinary tools. I promptly grabbed a package and put them in my shopping cart and headed for the check-out counter.
I began modifying the first stick by cutting the thin tip into a slightly flat chisel edge. The thick end, or handle, will be set on the ground and this piece becomes the upright support. The second stick we’ll call the “bait stick”. The handle (thick end) will have a top side and bottom side. On the top side I began to make a notch starting 1″ from the end, and cutting about 1/16″ into the stick and tapering out an inch toward the narrow end. Beneath this cut, on the bottom side, I cut a series of slight perpendicular grooves that when assembled will be placed over the chisel point of the support stick. You can cut grooves around the sharp end to better secure the bait.
When possible, I select a rock (or other heavy object) that has a flat or straight edge that I place on the ground so that it functions as a hinge and is much more stable when the trigger is placed on the upper end. It will in effect have a 3-point support. The general rule is that the heavy object should be 5x heavier than the animal to be caught.
To set up the deadfall trap, the bait is placed on the sharp end of the the bait stick. The handle is placed notch-side up under the rock’s upper edge with the bait end positioned underneath the rock to lure the animal to be caught. The support stick is placed chisel edge “up” and lodged along the groove area on the under-side of the bait stick. Adjust the position of the support stick forward or backward to allow the bait stick to float between the rock and ground.
The size of the bamboo chopstick trigger will work for small animals but by applying the same construction to larger sticks, it can be scaled up for larger game. When trapping, it’s wise to set up multiple traps to increase you chances of success.
Why 5x the weight? Any reference for such standards?
My reference was from a comment by Dave Cantebury… but I’m sure there’s some latitude in the ratio due to the position of the animal and shape of the heavy deadfall.
5 x is standard military trip set featured in most movies and the army survival manual
I thought deadfall traps would be useless, as most seemed overly elaborate, ineffective at dispatching the target animal, and unlikely to attract animals or support a person off the catch. Then, I tried one! Not only did it work, but very quickly and proved that it would be effective on slightly larger animals than the rodents survival books advertise their use for. Squirrels, small or large birds, and possibly small fur bearers. Check out my article at: