The Spanish windlass trap uses a simple yet unique mechanism to release a ‘hammer’ to kill game of virtually all sizes. See it in action here.
Primitive skills expert Shawn Woods continues his series of demonstrating how to make age-old traps from natural materials with a Spanish windlass trap. This is an unusual trap compared to the figure-four deadfall and the paiute deadfall that Woods has already illustrated.
What makes it unusual is that it is a dynamic, under-pressure trap that, once tripped, releases a killing arm or club which strikes the animal in the head or neck.
There are really only three basic components to the trap that require some carving, in addition to the two brace pieces which hold the carved pieces. These braces could be a couple of trees or, as Woods demonstrates, two smaller posts that he attached to a board.
The carved pieces include a hammer stick, the trigger, and a crosspiece. You will also need a length of sturdy rope or twine. It is by inserting the hammer stick in the twine and turning or twisting the stick that tension is built up and stored, until the trigger is tripped and the hammer stick is released under great pressure.
You could also insert a sharp point in the trigger stick, as Woods does with his smaller trap, to increase its killing efficacy.
He demonstrates how effective this trap can be by installing it in his barn and setting up a trail camera to record rats and mice tripping the trigger stick. The windlass trap makes short work of the rodents, killing them cleanly and efficiently.
He did make one improvement to the trap, and that was setting up side obstructions to guide the animal head-first into the trap. You could use anything – rocks, sticks, whatever – to guide animals into entering the trap the way you want them to. The other modification he added was tying a string to the trigger stick so that he wouldn’t lose it when the trap is sprung.
The beauty of the windlass trap is that it can be made to capture and kill larger game, even deer, if you make it large enough.
Woods maintains that he prepares, cooks and eats everything he kills, including the rats that the trap captures. He even released a video showing just how he cooks and dines on the rats that he kills.
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