Paiute Deadfall Trap

The Deadfall - Illustrated

The Deadfall – Illustrated

With Archaeology and Historic Preservation month in full swing, we thought it might be interesting to explore one of the ways the early residents of Iron County caught food: the Paiute deadfall trap. This type of trap is named after the native Paiute peoples – nomadic hunters and gatherers who depended on wild plants and animals.  But these simple types of traps have been used for thousands of years by people across the world.

Animal trapping, or simply trapping, is the use of a device to remotely catch an animal. Animals may be trapped for a variety of purposes, including food and pest control. Trapping also facilitates the capture of animals for their furs which may be sold or bartered for other useful items, or which may be used for making clothing and other articles.

A deadfall is a heavy rock or log that is tilted on an angle and held up with sections of branches (sticks), with one of them that serves as a trigger. When the animal moves the trigger that has bait on or near it, the rock or log falls, crushing the animal. The Paiute deadfall is a popular and simple trap constructed from materials found in nature (three sticks with notches cut into them, cordage, plus a heavy rock or other heavy object). Next time you visit Frontier Homestead, test your skills and see how long it takes for you to set this trap.

Next Time: Atl-atl

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