Above all, Rainsford keeps reminding himself that
"I must keep my nerve... I must keep my nerve."
He first decided to put as much "distance between himself and General Zaroff," but he soon realized that "straight flight was futile"; he would only reach the water, creating another boundary he could not evade. He then decided to create a deliberate false trail, by which he
... executed a series of intricate loops; he doubled on his trail again and again, recalling all the lore of the fox hunt, and all the dodges of the fox.
Rainsford hoped that this would buy him enough time to rest and possibly sleep. But Zaroff soon discovered the tree in which Rainsford was hiding, but he allowed his human prey to remain so he could hunt him again the following day.
Next, Rainsford set the first of his traps, constructing a Malay mancatcher, in which a dead tree rested upon a live one that had been cut in half by Rainsford. The trap injured Zaroff, but he soon returned to hunt Rainsford again. When Rainsford encountered the quicksand of the Death Swamp, it gave him another idea. He had soon fashioned a Burmese tiger pit, with spiked points upraised at the bottom, and a camouflaged cover on the top. Zaroff avoided the pit, but one of his dogs was killed. Desperately running out of time and space, Rainsford now used his only weapon, his knife, to fashion yet another trap. He attached the knife to a sapling which was triggered by another. This trap also proved deadly--but to Ivan, not Zaroff. Rainsford struck out again, and when he encountered the open sea, he decided to plunge from the cliffs into the water rather than face Zaroff and his dogs.