How Not to Trap Yourself While the Kids Are Watching

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by UncleMorgan, May 28, 2015.

  1. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    OK--I admit it. I like to get out in the back yard and do "survival lessons" with the grandkids. Inquisitive little creatures, they are, and surprisingly bloodthirsty.

    A recent lesson was "Deadfall Traps 101" or "How to Squash A Squirrel".

    This is fundamental technology that will probably never be needed unless it is needed very desperately, but they wanted to give it a try and it's good to know.

    Your basic deadfall is just a flat rock that falls down on another flat rock. So, how hard can that be?

    Well, Survivorman did an episode where he was trying to set up a Figure-4 deadfall in the barrens. He smashed his hands at least a half-dozen times trying to get the trigger set.

    Jolly good show! That was even more fun than when he cut his thumb.

    Egads, lads--there's all kinds of triggers. The traditional Figure-4, the Improved Figure-4, the Piaute, the Rolling Rock (in several variations), and the venerable Stacked Stick trigger. And that's just to name a few: I'm sure there must be more.

    (Actually, there is. I forgot about the Fickle Fork of Fate.)

    The only hard part about rigging a flat-rock deadfall is setting the trigger. I confess. Sometimes it takes me a few tries to get things set up, too. But I never get trapped, especially when the kids are watching.

    Now, it's okay for Survivorman to trap himself on prime time television with half the world watching, I mean, like, he's a Professional. But I'm not, and the thought of having to have the grandkids get the big flat rock off my hands was daunting, given how long it would take them to stop laughing first.

    So, I'd like to share with you what I shared with them, at the time, because I didn't want to have to lift the big flat rock off their delicate little hands, either.

    Stop-rocks, mate. All it takes is stop-rocks.

    Raise up your deadfall rock, and put two rocks under it to hold it up, however high you like.

    Then set your trigger, raising the deadfall rock maybe another inch or so in the process.

    If the trigger slips, the dead-fall rock just drops back down on the stop-rocks and doesn't smash your hands to jelly.

    And since you're not fighting the weight of the rock as much (the trap stays open by itself as you start rigging the trigger) it's an easier and much less perilous job.

    And when the trigger is all set, you just move the stop-rocks aside, and the trap is good to go.

    I usually use the stop-rocks to help control access to the trigger, so Mr. Squirrel doesn't have an easy exit when the trap starts to close.

    You can use two rocks, or two sticks. Either will work. Just be sure you peg the sticks into the ground enough to stay put when you lift the rock off them. You wouldn't want them to fall down and maybe trigger the trap. On your hands.

    I would have included a video of this, but I had already clicked on the "Create Thread" button.

    No squirrels were harmed in the teaching of Deadfall Traps 101 because I pointed out to my granddaughter that anything she killed she had better be prepared to skin, clean, & cook on the spot. Including the cat.

    Apparently, bloodthirsty draws the line quite firmly at "Ewww! Icky!".

    Lucky squirrels.

    (Lucky cat!)
  2. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    You sir are a good grandpa. .. *hands cookies and milk award to best grandpa*
    Gopherman likes this.
  3. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Good Read... and good tip... like a lockout when working with electricity or a safety on a firearm... great lesson for the Grandkids... always treat it like it is "Hot" and "Loaded" ;)
  4. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I have a scar on top of my head from one of those "lessons";)
    Using a thin rope, as a leg hold trap, and a five gallon bucket full of rocks as the " bent limb spring" to whip the loop tight, I had just hauled the weight up, and set the trigger, and was carefully laying out the loop.
    One of my trainees wanted to see how the trigger worked, and gave it a light tug. I was hit by the bucket of rocks, before I realized it was moving! And those ridges on the bottom edge of the bucket, split my scalp.
    A safety of some sort, would have been a good idea.;)
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    That is like "Hooking the Cap Wires to the Blasting Machine, before you call "Fire in the Hole".... Recipe for Diaster....
    Witch Doctor 01 likes this.
  6. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Apparently you did have safety... but a hard head could probably be improved on...;)
    kellory and Ganado like this.
  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    It is inherited. I could tell you stories about my Grandfather......;)
    Witch Doctor 01 likes this.
survivalmonkey SSL seal warrant canary