This is the first post since the changes to the scoring system went live in The Hunter – Call of the Wild. I have had the chance to really get to understand the impact of those changes and to see the effect on the weapons in game, especially since we’re mainly stuck indoors at the moment. Some of the weapons got minor improvements too – the Docent .223 being an example that the developers talked about, so lets start with that rifle.

The .223 rifle has been made lighter and slightly more powerful. How realistic that is in terms of the real world equivalent, I don’t know, but the reasoning behind the changes was to make the gun more useful to balance out a hunter’s weapon’s loadout where there was a need for a light small bore gun to keep within weight limits. The .223 is now classed as 2 to 4 ammunition which means it can be used up to deer such as Fallow. Prior to this change, the main reason to carry the .223 was to hunt Fox in Hirschfelden or Siberian Musk Deer in Medved. On most other reserves it was not a weapon you’d carry – and judging by the completion rate of the Steam achievement for bringing down 50 Foxes – not many hunters were choosing to carry it in Hirschfelden either. These changes could have made it a much more popular rifle – But…

One of the key changes within the new animal classification system was the move of Foxes up to level 2 alongside Coyotes and Jackals. What that means is that the gun you get as a starting weapon, the Ranger .243, can now be used to shoot Fox. Additionally, although they never said as much, it has been noted by some in the community that the .243 seems to have had a bit of a buff too! I’ve noticed that it seems more effective than before and I’m tending to carry it as part of my regular loadout. What this means is that the .223 actually becomes superfluous and I can’t think of a reason to carry one. Let’s take a break at this point and bring the Outdoors, Indoors, with a screenshot of some Hirschfelden scenery…

Another gun that is impacted by the changes is the 7.62mm Solokhin – once the darling of just about everyone. Its ammo class was moved from 2 to 6, where it sat alongside and outclassed the .243, to 3 to 7. With the .243 now being more effective and other very potent rifles such as the Eckers .30-06 now usable for animals of level 4 and above, there really is no reason to carry it. So Fox, Coyote, Roe, Springbok are all covered by the .243 and I can start shooting reltively small deer like Fallow, Blacktail and Kudu with the very powerful Regent Magnum 7mm or the Eckers or one of the newer guns in the game, which I’ll talk about in some detail in another post. The only reason to carry the Solokhin now is because you love it! Lets have another scenery break – this time in Layton Lakes, Oregon. If you look closely you can see a Black Bear wandering through the reserve…

Let’s talk about the way that the scoring system changes have impacted the game. No one likes taking a bad shot – lets get that stated at the start. The old system penalised bad shots by downgrading your trophy if the animal took more than 8 seconds to die. Unfortunately, it was quite possible to do a good shot on an animal with a legitimate lower powered weapon which ultimately killed it, and still fall foul of that arbitrary mechanism. The new scoring system has removed the Quick Kill element from the Trophy rating of an animal that you kill. Instead, there are 4 checks that you must comply with to get the full trophy for the animal. Use of correct ammo class – using a level 4 gun like the Eckers on a Roe deer which is Level 3 will cause this to fail. Shooting the animal more than twice – there’s no machine guns in game but this is to deter the wild and reckless type of shooting. No damage to the parts that constitute the ‘Trophy’ element of the animal – usually the head. And, most importantly, the animal must have been hit in vital organs which are Heart, Lungs and Liver. Stomach, intestines and spine do not count but a shot that breaks the animal’s neck does. Effectively, this is the check that replaces the old Integrity and forces the player to put every effort into making a good shot. Let’s look at that in practice. Here’s a volunteer Fallow Deer……and this is one of the latest addition to the rifle armoury – the M1 – which is a valid weapon for this animal……We line up the sights, and squeeze the trigger……Bang – and it’s time to go and collect our animal……You can see from the blood that this animal went down instantly, which is what we want to see. Here’s the screen that tells the story of the kill……Right Lung and Liver count for the vital check.

So, what happens if an animal that I shoot in vital organs doesn’t go down instantly? There is still a penalty. The experience points score is reduced and so is the amount of credits earned. So it’s desirable to shoot the animal with the most powerful weapon and ammo that you can use so that it is stopped in its tracks. The ammo class for each weapon gives a range of animal classes – 2 to 6 for example. It’s good practice to view this as meaning that the weapon is good for 2 to 4 class animals and switch to a more powerful weapon for 4 to 6 Class animals. The beloved Regent Magnum with it’s 7mm shell is 4 to 9 but above class 6 it will become less effective and the quick kills may not happen. I did take down a Lion with it in Vurhonga Savannah from just over 100 metres but it was a perfect side-on shot that got both lungs. Even so, the animal made around 30 meters before going down, impacting the earnings and points slightly……And it’s worth remembering that those perfect side on shots are a rare luxury!

Overall, I think the changes are good. I think the issue of ensuring that our hunting is carried out with integrity has been well addressed whilst the true flexibility of the individual weapons is probably more accurately represented in the range of animal classifications that each can shoot. It is now possible to carry a single loadout of 3 rifles and be able to take down any animal in every reserve in the game – a sort of universal loadout. I think that a lot of players will still change their loadout’s for each reserve because they value specific weapon characteristics in different circumstances or because variety is the spice of life! I will certainly be swapping my weapons around.

It’s a lovely morning outside in London but – as we can’t go out there – so let’s bring that glorious weather indoors……Have a great time wherever you are and stay safe!

Well… It seems big changes are afoot in The Hunter – Call of the Wild. There willl be a new animal scoring system that will fundamentally change how your kills are evaluated for your experience points. It is built around some changes to the animal and weapon ranking systems which at least bring a bit of clarity to understanding which weapons can be used on which beasts. No longer will quick kills be important to what your score is but integrity (use of correct weapon and taking a maximum of 2 shots) will be.

I’ve watched YouTube videos from a couple of hunters that play the game and I think the view is that these changes will bring the game significantly closer to what it’s like to really hunt rather than playing a game. It has been suggested that the changes will split the community – with those who really hunt or want to understand real hunting staying whilst those who just play it as a game perhaps move on. So the developers are taking a risky step with this change. It should be noted that the change actually brings this version closer to The Hunter – Classic which was the original on-line game. I believe that was highly popular with real-world hunters.

For someone like myself who falls into the Simulation category of players, any change that makes the game closer to real life is good. So I will be continuing playing. However, with such a fundamental change to how the game works, I will be resetting my profile and starting out anew when this update releases. In fact, I have already reset my proflie and I spent some time today trying out some starting loadouts for hunting in Hirschfelden. The base loadout when you start now comprises the .243 rifle, a 12 gauge shotgun and a .357 revolver – it looks like this…

One thing I value a lot is the ability to hunt very quietly – it’s why I normally carry a bow and also why I have been trying out the large bore Air Rifle. My regular readers will know that I do not like the .243 and only normally use it when required to by a mission. I will have access to a couple of Bow’s and also the Vasquez Cyclone as these were included in Weapons Packs that I purchased. The Solokhin MN1890 will also be available to me. This is the first changed loadout that I tried today……You’ll note that I replaced the .243 with the Solokhin and brought in the rather nice Orpheus bow. That should cover all basic eventualities. Testing threw up an interesting discovery – the Focoso revolver is actually very good for Foxes. I killed 3 this afternoon with it – one at over 50 metres! That has revised my opinion of the gun and I shall probably continue to carry it in most reserves. However, the limitations of available ammunition types for the bow made me have a rethink about the best no-bang for buck. I reset again and came up with a different loadout – one which takes advantage of the .270 for the likes of Red Deer and Wild Boar whilst keeping the ability to hunt Roe and Fallow Deer almost silently……It’s also a lot cheaper to run than using the bow and Solokhin option above.

The highlight of testing the Vasquez Air Rifle was taking down a Fallow Deer from 86 metres away – that’s a pretty good shot for an airgun. For the record, my personal longest shot to quick-kill an animal was 328 metres and the Solokhin holds that – or it did until I reset my profile – I guess I’ll have to repeat that in the future. But for now I think that my second loadout above will be my starting loadout, especially as the changes mean that I will be able to use the Vasquez to take down Foxes – no longer any need for the .223 in that role.

Lets have a quick game of Spot the Fallow Deer……Do you see them? Yes, that’s them……Drinking in the lake.

Here’s another one……He may think he’s invisible but he soon got that feeling ‘somebody’s watching me’……so he had to stand up 🙂

Hope you enjoyed those images – till next time 🙂

I’ve made a number of changes in the way I play The Hunter – Call of the Wild. These are moves towards a more realistic hunt as I’ve now reached a level of knowledge within the game that allows me to go without the props that are there to help the player. I have turned off the highlighting of animal tracks – which means I have to find them mainly by observation as I move around. I’ve also turned off other aids like the indicators of animal calls. One interesting effect of the latter is that the calls suddenly seem louder but I think that’s just me concentrating harder. I have turned on the requirement to manually chamber the rounds before firing. I’ve dispensed with the backpack, which limits how much equipment I can carry, so I’ve had to choose carefully what I take with me based on the animals I expect to encounter. One other change which is not realism related – I’m hunting without a scope on my rifle. That’s because I was doing a challenge recently that required me to hunt without one. Some things I can’t turn off – like the ‘e to examine’ in-game messages. I’ve left on the head-up display in the bottom right of the screen because it only contains info you’d have anyway in real life like wind direction and the zero-setting of your sights. So, today, I’m going to take you with me on a hunt in Hirschfelden.

Here is my ‘loadout’ for our morning’s hunting in the Schonfeldt area……I’ve chosen the Solokhin as a good all-round rifle. The Coachmate 45-70 is there in case I bump into Wild Boar where its power at short range will be invaluable. I have the Muertos 45 handgun which can take down Roe Deer at short range. And finally, I have a bow which I carry because it is very versatile – three different weights of arrow allow it to be used successfully against animals from Fox right up to Red Deer.

I started out from the hunting lodge and crept through woodland on a bank……once through the trees and crouched on the edge of the undergrowth, I had my first sighting of the day. It was a Fox but she was walking away from me and as I had the wrong weight arrow selected I let her go. You can see her track through the grass in this screenshot……around the same time I heard some movement in the trees behind me. That could be cause for concern as you can’t be sure what animal is making the sound but here in Schonfeldt it’s almost certainly a Roe or a Fallow Deer. I saw two Fallow Deer crossing a field in the distance at around 200m and took a speculative shot at one of them – missed (with the scope on I would almost certainly have hit!). That frightened the animal behind me and away it ran.

I retraced my steps back into the trees and looked for tracks which I quickly found. Following them, I was led down the hill towards Schonfeldt Barn. My suspicions were confirmed – it was a female Roe Deer. Here are her tracks, left as she bounded away down the hill……I have my Roe caller in my hand because I was hoping I might lure her back but after waiting a few minutes, it was clear that she was long gone. I continued down the hill and found some tracks that crossed the one I was following……European Bison – Now that’s a surprise! While they frequent the area to the north of here, I don’t recall finding their tracks hereabouts before. I guess they passed through during the night. I’m not equipped to take one of them on although the 600gm arrows might be capable at close range and I have finished one off in the past with the handgun I’m carrying at the expense of getting wounded myself. I continued down through the trees ahead and as I came out of them saw a Fallow Deer at around the same time it saw me – it was off in a flash, running towards the fields.

Deer are strange creatures. Sometimes their curiosity overcomes their initial fear. I crept along the side of the barn until I had a view of field where the Fallow had gone. Lo and behold, there he was coming back cautiously through the boundary hedge……Since he decided to obligingly stop and stare, I shot him with the Solokhin. He spun around and ran back towards the field but I knew he wouldn’t get very far. Making my way to the scene of the shooting , this blood spatter was evidence of a serious hit to at least one lung……and I found him just the other side of the hedge. This is the in-game report detailing the damage done by my soft-point 7.62 bullet……The bullet hit humerus before puncturing both lungs – no wonder he only made a few steps. It’s a sobering thought that this rifle was in use with armies in Europe and the USA from its introduction in 1890 right through to WWII – a devastating weapon that was also very good for sniping with excellent accuracy upto 500yds (my longest in-game kill using this rifle with a scope currently stands at 296 metres!).

I now start working the field boundaries walking steadily or crouching depending on whether I think there is a hunting opportunity. This field is a good one most evenings……when Fallow herds can often be found grazing at the far end. At this time of day I might have found a Roe deer but not on this occasion. Foxes also patrol these fields but I’d need to get very close to take one down with the bow – and foxes are usually too alert and cunning for that to happen unless I’m in a hide of some sort.

Continuing into the next pair of fields and I spot a Roe Deer feeding……but at 231m that’s a very long shot without a scope. I decide to make my way along the field boundary and then to work down the side of the field in the hope of getting close enough to get a better shot but before I get more than a short distance along the way, I check and she’s gone. I don’t think I scared her – she was probably full-up and off to chew the cud somewhere. I used my Roe Lure again in the hope of enticing her back as I made slow progress along the side of the field. Then I heard a responding call but from a different direction – another Roe was out looking for a mate. I made my way to the field where the call seems to have come from……but there’s no deer there. Then I hear another call and I realise my new Roe has crossed the boundary and is in the adjacent field. I quietly moved across, keeping low in the undergrowth and there he was walking towards me……I chamber the round and take aim……A gentle squeeze of the trigger and a loud bang……and that’s a very nice example of a male Roe Deer. I clearly adjusted my aim after taking the ‘looking down the sights’ screenshot above because the in-game results screen shows the shot hitting him in heart and lung……which is why he went down instantly.

I continued my hunting by circling round the rest of the Schonfeldt straw fields. This field sometimes has Fallow and Roe Deer, and sometimes Wild Boar – though that’s usually in the evening…… I did see a small herd of female Fallow’s but they were close to 1km away and making their way along the edge of some wooded high ground. And I did find the tracks of some others in a wooded field boundary……Female Fallow Deer usually travel in a group while the males are often solitary. Roe deer are solitary, having their own territories and the female usually lures a male back to her abode for mating – at least that’s my understanding of how the love life of deer species works 😉

Heading back to the hunting lodge I started from we look across the fields towards the distant mountains and realise that it’s getting hazy……a sure sign that rain is coming in. And here it is……Time to put the guns away and settle down to tell our hunting tales around the fire. ‘Did I tell you about the one that got away?’ 🙂

It was quiet out there today – on another day we might have downed half-a-dozen animals on a morning’s hunt. I hope you enjoyed the hunt and that being walked around with me was preferable to just seeing shots of deceased animals with no understanding of how they got to be downed in the first place. This game is in many ways like going birding for me and a great way to spend some time when the weather or having an attack of Man-Flu precludes actively going out to watch the wildlife.