One way that Rainsford tried to beat Zaroff was building a pit for him to fall into.
Rainsford was fearing for his life when he went through the forest to the Death Swamp of quicksand. Zaroff was gaining on him, and he had nowhere else to go. This was his last recourse. He digs a pit and covers it so it can’t be seen.
These stakes he planted in the bottom of the pit with the points sticking up. With flying fingers he wove a rough carpet of weeds and branches and with it he covered the mouth of the pit.
Rainsford has skills both as a soldier and as a hunter. He has to call upon these skills to survive. He decides to build a Burmese tiger pit. He thinks Zaroff might fall in because he seems to be coming unusually swiftly.
You've done well, Rainsford," the voice of the general called. "Your Burmese tiger pit has claimed one of my best dogs. Again you score. I think, Mr. Rainsford….
In a way, Rainsdford scores a victory. General Zaroff stops for the night and goes home. This buys Rainsford a more peaceful night. He earned the right to rest, even if he did not capture the general. However, there was a consequence.
I’ll see what you can do against my whole pack. I'm going home for a rest now. Thank you for a most amusing evening.
Partly to rev up the game and partly as revenge for losing the dog, Zaroff decides to return the next day with the entire pack. So while Rainsford was able to win a short victory, he also got himself into trouble. Now he has to fight off not just one dog, but a whole pack.
This incident greatly increases the suspense. We are not sure if Rainsford will survive. We are not sure if he got Zaroff. When Zaroff says he is going to retun the next night, we know that Rainsford is really in for it.
Rainsford is in an impossible situation. He is being hunted deliberately like an animal. Even when he was in the war, he did not feel as threatened. The building of the tiger pit is an example of Rainsford’s ingenuity and clear-headedness. Yet it is also an example of how uneven the fight was, since he had almost nothing and Zarrof had a pack of dogs and more weapons.