Simple Traps

Published on Author M. RedfishLeave a comment

flytrap2<Venus Fly Trap on my deck… loves the sun for sure. Truly unbelievable plant where fact is stranger than fiction. Evolution perfected

SIMPLE TRAPS by M. Redfish

I have always had a great fascination with trapping, although I have only really done it a few times to actually trap animals (and get bit by a raccoon I was trying to release). I think the thing about traps for me is the amazing ingenuity of designs, working with natural materials at hand, improvising, simplifying, bushcrafting, efficiency of design, usefulness, speed and ease of setting it, and its life or death purpose to attain food, clothing, supplies, defend against man and beast.

The earliest traps man used might have been more like “staged accidents”. Then as brains grew, tools and cordage came along they of course advanced in design. If you think about the countless natural dangers of the Earth that can kill and mame anyone trying to travel through the wilderness (why they tell you to stay put when lost too),  its easy to see how man could start figuring out a way to get some meat from the ways nature did it. For example, if you see your friend walking down a game trail ahead of you and he knocks a dead limb out of the way and the rest of the dead tree comes down and kills him, or a rock slide set off by hunters climbing above others, one might finally figure that those are good ways to kill anything. I can see how that might lead to tactics like stacking rocks on terrain above a trail and waiting for game to pass underneath and then push the pile down on them. Over time, we would figure out how to place a stick under the pile of logs or rocks and set it up where an animal passing might knock the stick out and bring the rocks down killing itself. Im sure when the first traps were put into use, the feeling the ancient trappers must have had when they got to start seeing creatures of all sizes just waiting for them to come collect them after a good nights sleep. Not only do traps work when your not there on any size of creature, it sure beats trying to kill large panicking or vicious animals on the run or up close and dangerously personal (with nothing more than a club or sharpened stick).

     Another simple trap is using nothing more than gravity to do all the work. Let anything fall at 125mph and the sudden stop at the bottom will surely take the fight out of them. This was the legendary idea used by the Native Americans of the plains when they would stamped bison off a cliff and harvest them. I read that they had 52 uses for the Bison and every last bit of the animal was used. I want to do some more research on that and I will get back to this one and add any links and info I find. Another thing that happen more often than you think is when people are walking through the woods, push a bush out of the way as they are walking, and step right off a cliff that couldn’t be seen through the brush

Besides being a favorite to catch tigers in the movies, the pungee spike pit was a real terror to the U.S. Military in the conflicts of southeast Asia. Vietnam was such a different kind of war than ever before, it was up close and you could only see a few feet around in the jungle just waiting to be ambushed. This also gave unlimited materials and locations to hide traps. The spiked pit which cost nothing except a little time to produce, stayed in place working around the clock to kill and maim our troops and completely destroy moral. A hole in the ground has no moving parts and can be dug with a stick, hands, clam shell etc. Also a variety of things can be placed in the bottom  of the pit for the unfortunate victim. Spikes were just one of the things used in the hole, other things like piles of briar bushes, venomous snakes, vicious starving predators, mutilated bodies of fellow soldiers that went missing and so many other things I cant think of anymore at the moment. So in that situation, the best trained, best equipped army in the world was largely defeated by a dirt hole with some bamboo spikes at the bottom… and don’t forget the human feces they smeared on the spikes to cause instant painful and deadly infections.

Over more time as we learned to make better cordage, and lacking any knowledge of triggers yet, we probably began using the classic trap used in cartoons, the one with the stick holding up a box and when the animal goes for the bait laying under the box, they pull the cord and drop the box trapping them. The same idea can be used to prop up a rock or log creating a deadfall that drops down killing the animal.  Remember we are talking primitive man and it would take a lot of cordage, but I always pictured a way for that to actually work and not waste an entire day watching one trap. For certain situations I suppose it could be a useful thing for someone injured to do instead of nothing when there is nothing else for them to do. It would be to put yourself above an open area and run cords to different traps that you can see from your position after clearing the line of sight of brush, etc. You could be watching 10 deadfalls in an area near a water source and as long as you kept your cords in order, you could pull any of them and cover a lot more ground.

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