Birdshot

In my closeout post for last year I suggested that I would be resetting my The Hunter – Call of the Wild profile and starting out again. I have now done that and set out on the trail anew with a couple of ideas of how I want to progress. I have decided that I will be using mainly the weapons that are free to me courtesy of the DLC’s I have bought plus those guns that are given free to everyone. The exceptions will be those that I need to purchase for certain tasks, ie the Coachmate 45-70 which I will need to complete one of Doc’s challenges in Layton Lakes. Another exception will be the Docent .223 which I will need for Fox and Coyote while reducing the weight I need to carry.

Although I will be using equipment that is not available to all beginners (depending on whether they own the basic game or a bundle including some of the DLC’s), Some of what I will be talking about will be beneficial to those who may have decided to give the game a try and are looking for advice. So let’s start there.

When you kick off, it’s normal to choose either Layton Lakes or Hirschfelden. If you bought a bundle and have other reserves available to you like Medved Taiga and Vurhonga Savannah, you can start there instead but I would suggest against that. Both have very challenging missions presented early on that require equipment and skills that the absolute beginner does not have.

I usually start in Hirschfelden. In each of the original reserves, the first mission is designed to give you your first kill with a small deer that is just standing around waiting for you to shoot it. You’re given some basic weapons – The .243 rifle, a 12 gauge shotgun and the .357 handgun. Also in your pack are three lures – Roe Deer, Bleat and JackRabbit callers (the latter being designed to call Fox and Coyote). You also get basic binoculars. My usual plan of action when starting (I’ve done it a few times for a variety of reasons) is to use a caller to bring the deer to me and then shoot it side on at close range with the shotgun. This will normally result in a quick kill.

Ok, That’s normally. Animals being contrary, don’t always respond to calls! This time my sacrificial Roe Deer stood firm at the bottom of the hill with her nose in the air and ignored me. Which at least gives me the opportunity to demonstrate the deficiencies of the .243 rifle when using soft point amunition (which you get a lot of in your starting pack and is always available for free)…

…Low powered soft point amunition doesn’t have the ability to penetrate muscle. You can see that the shot was on target to probably hit the animal’s heart and one of the lungs but the bullet just can’t get through the muscle at the front of the chest. The result is the deer runs off for a moderate distance before succumbing to blood loss and I loose some XP and cash. So, the first advice for any beginner is try to shoot all your early animals from close range and the side until you unlock access to Polymer Tipped amunition. Even then, side-on shots are generally a safer option as you have a larger target to hit with less muscle and bone in the way!

I made my way through the rest of the introductory missions to the first outpost. Often you will pick up another kill or two on the way there to boost your finances but on this occasion, no other animals crossed my path which limited my options – the weapons I was going to add might be free but the amunition certainly isn’t! Here’s my first loadout…

I have retained the .243 with its soft point ammo because it is still an effective option for Fox. My main rifle is the Solokhin which uses 7.62mm rounds. These are also soft point but any similarity with the .243 ends there. The 7.62mm is a military round and has plenty of power to give you the penetration needed. I’ve also got the Koter bow which is a very effective close range weapon. Finally, I have the Muertos .45 pistol – significantly more capable than the 357 because it has Hard Cast ammunition rather than soft point.

Hunting for Deer by the lake near the Rathenfeldt outpost gives an opportunity for enjoy the view through the binoculars as the Fallow come down to drink (usually mid-morning)…

…and that’s what I’m waiting for…

…a male Fallow has joined them. Another lesson for any beginner in this game – patience is a virtue. The male animal of most species is usually worth more in cash and xp than the female because of the trophy factor of those horns, so it’s worth the wait to see if a better animal appears. Let’s see how the 7.62 ammo does from a similar angle to our .243 shot…

…This time the bullet has penetrated the muscle at the front of the chest and hit the lung. The animal went down very quickly, which is what we want πŸ™‚

I also did some hunting with the bow earlier, bringing down a female Fallow…

…One of the advantages of bow hunting is that it is almost silent. Being unsure what had happened, the other females wandered back allowing me to shoot another. Another example of being patient paying dividends – don’t be in too much of a hurry to claim your kill or you may miss the opportunity of a follow-up! Until recently, the hunting pressure created by using a bow was the same as any of the noisier weapons but the developers have listened to the community and now using a bow creates much less ‘pressure’ than a rifle as shown by this map…

…The bright pink is my Fallow Deer male rifle kill while the dark shading to the left is where I had bow kills πŸ™‚ I wonder if a similar modification will be made for using an air rifle – might be too complicated to implement as it sits somewhere between the bow and a normal rifle for noise.

Finally, if you quickly check back to my loadout, you’ll see Scent Eliminator down the bottom – another thing that you get given when you start. I don’t use it – just haven’t got around to replacing it with the much more useful first aid kit! However, it serves to provide a reason to show this early hunter’s profile and talk about frightening animals…

…The way most animals are scared away is through sound. Noise is unavoidable when hunting but you can minimise it by crouching while moving through the undergrowth. So, if you’re going somewhere in a hurry – walk along the road or track – it makes less noise than walking through the undergrowth and therefore scares fewer animals πŸ™‚ You’ll notice that no animals have been scared by my scent – that’s partly because I do try to keep myself downwind of animals that I’m hunting and partly because the animals become aware of a presence through scent but it is not usually the deciding factor in them fleeing. Although I have experimented with the Scent Eliminator in the past and believe it does reduce the chances of an animal detecting you, it’s marginal. You can probably throw it in the bin for all the good it might do and save some weight πŸ˜‰

I’ll be back with another Birdshot in the future. No animals were harmed during the making of this post. Now I’m off to feed the birds in the garden πŸ™‚

4 Comments

  1. This is quite the gaming system, Martin. I’m not comfortable with guns or hunting, but I can see how this would be a rewarding and skill-building outlet. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Debra – Thanks for your thoughts πŸ™‚ I’ve found that many of the skills I learnt in the Cubs and Scouts carry forward well into this simulation and there is a clear similarity to real-life birding walks that I would be doing if I wasn’t in Lockdown! I understand the ‘not comfortable with guns or hunting’ bit – that’s the part of this simulation where I remind myself that it is just a game. You might find other simulation games like Farming Simulator or Planet Zoo more appealing – You’d be nurturing the animals rather than shooting them πŸ™‚

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