During the Middle Ages, the practice of poaching in royal forests and private lands was a serious offense, often met with severe punishment.

To combat this, landowners and nobility employed various methods, including the use of man traps.

These mechanical devices were designed to capture or injure trespassers, particularly those engaged in illegal hunting.

Man traps varied in design, but they typically featured large, metal teeth that would snap shut when triggered by pressure on a central plate or a tripwire.

They were often hidden under leaves or foliage to catch the unsuspecting poacher.

While effective in deterring poachers, these traps were indiscriminate and could grievously harm anyone who triggered them, regardless of their intent.

Their use reflected the strict enforcement of hunting rights and the social divide of the times, where the privilege of hunting was reserved for the elite, and poaching by the lower classes was viewed not only as theft but also as a challenge to the social order.

The use of such brutal devices eventually waned, particularly as attitudes towards humane treatment and legal reform evolved in later centuries.