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.

With more hunting time under my belt, I thought this post could be a bit of a ‘tips’ issue for those considering giving the game a try. Some of my tips may also be of use to people already playing, dependent upon their level or things that they have yet to try. The assumption is that the reader has the base game with just the two reserves – Layton Lakes and Hirschfelden.

My first tip for when you start the game is to work through a day (0600-1900) in one of the reserves and then do the same in the other – the order doesn’t matter. This will put you through several simple beginner missions and give you a feel for each of the reserves. Because each mission at beginner level gives easy experience points and a good amount of cash for doing very little, doing one day in each reserve at the start will give you a very good financial base for your hunting campaign. At the end of the first day’s hunting at whichever reserve you went to first you will probably have reached level 4 – opening up the first of the weapon upgrades – and you will also probably have discovered and claimed 2 outposts.

Your first weapon purchase should be a bow – the Bearclaw is a good option. The smaller deer, Roe and Blacktail, can be suckered in to very close proximity using the callers you already have amongst your lures and are easily shot with the bow. Remember to aim low if they are very close or your shot will pass over them. It’s worth noting how Roe Deer only make a mating call very occasionally so don’t be peeping your’s too often – the trick is once and then sit and wait for them to come to you. Being stationary is important – they don’t have good eyesight and what they have is tuned to detect movement. Your first weapon upgrade should be Polymer tipped bullets for your .243 rifle and all future bullet purchases should be of this type where available.

Pick on someone your own size! Don’t waste your time and effort going for large game with the .243 you get at the start. Even Roe Deer are unlikely to go down instantly with this weapon and your initial accuracy is challenged by the poor quality of the sights and your inability to adjust them for range. Unless you get very lucky and have a clean heart-shot from very close range, like the one I had on a Red Deer, at best you’re going to have a long walk tracking the animal you shot. At worst – and I experimented with this – you’re setting your self up for trouble. I tried out the .243 with soft-tip bullets on a Black Bear for the purposes of this post. It was a clean shot to the chest which I know would have resulted in a reasonably quick kill if I was using the .270 with polymer bullets. The bear let out a roar and ran off – probably thought it had been stung by a bee! So I tracked it following the low bleed rate trail. It was only a matter of time before the bear turned round and charged me giving me a nasty whack before running off again. I put another shot into it during our decidely unfriendly meeting. I continued the pursuit and we repeated the process – another clawing and another shot put into the bear as it ran away. The bear turned to charge me again and I put my 4th shot into it which finally felled the beast. I was fortunate, that third charge would have killed me (returned me to the nearest outpost to recover) and the bear would have died of its wounds unharvested resulting in a financial and XP penalty for the next few kills. The message is – the .243 is a pop-gun which is why you will want to replace it as soon as possible.

Hunting Structures and other marked items on the map. Don’t go too far out of your way to do so, but investigating the question-marks on the map is worthwhile. Those beside trails and roads are often information relating to reserve lore and give an XP bonus. Those in the middle of nowhere can be another structure of interest but are most often ground blinds or towers for you to build. These give the minor advantage of reduced hunting pressure (remember that from my post back in July?) and some XP when you construct them but, I’d recommend not bothering to build them unless required to by a mission. Each one will cost you the financial equivalent of three Roe Deer kills – there are better ways to spend your money! Concentrate on honing your skill in using the available terrain and foliage to mask your presence.

Resolving the .243 issue… There is a lot of ‘hate’ directed towards this gun because it is so feeble. One way to get an improvement is to buy the .223 Docent rifle and carry it alongside the .270 Huntsman (Stradivarius version is free). The .223 is essential in Hirschfelden for Foxes and will take down Roe Deer if you get a good enough shot while the .270 works very well against Wild Boar. Here’s a Fox I shot from around 110m with the .223……Whether you go down this route or persevere with the .243 and the Huntsman, you have an issue – you’re taking up two equipment slots to cover the range of common smaller animals, which limits you when it comes to carrying a bow, handgun and weapons for larger game. Don’t forget that you will also have your binoculars and some lures with you. You can buy a backpack – which increases your carrying capacity a little but you still have only 10 immediate access slots and there is a noise and visibility penalty. My recommendation is to buy the Weapons Pack 2 DLC. This pack includes the Solokhin MN1890 – actually a Mosin Nagant 1890 – which is an old military rifle. Because it only uses soft-point amunition, it can be used to kill any of the small to medium deer without integrity penalty. It’s also a very accurate gun over long range – my longest vital hit kill was done with this gun, a Whitetail Deer at 230m. Because it is so versatile, you can use it to replace both the .243 and the .270, freeing up a weapons slot. Of course, if you want to hunt Red Fox or Rabbit, etc then you’ll still need to carry an appropriate smaller weapon.

Setting up your ‘weapons slots’… Actually, the slots need to have all the items you need for your day’s hunting intentions. I usually put my binoculars in slot 5 where they form a useful marker between weapons and lures. Slot 1 is the lowest powered rifle, slot 2 is the next most powerful rifle, slot 3 will be either the bow or a rifle suited to the bigger game such as Black Bear, Bison or Moose, and slot 4 is always my Handgun. So a typical loadout for me in Hirschfelden might be – .223 Docent, Solokhin MN1890, Bearclaw Bow, Handgun. In Layton Lakes it could be a 20GA Shotgun, Solokhin MN1890, 7mm Regent Magnum and the Handgun. If you keep your weapons slots organised then the chance of you pulling out the wrong gun in a hot moment is greatly reduced.

I’ve mentioned Handguns. The first available to you is the Focoso .357 and there’s nothing wrong with it as personal defensive weapon. Remember that some animals can become agressive without warning – I was walking down the road, minding my own business, when a Wild Boar took exception to my presence and charged me from the undergrowth. Since then I have carried a Handgun and it’s been open-season on Piggies 😉 Turning once again to Weapons Pack 2, you’ll find an excellent .45 handgun, the Mangiafico 410/45 Colt. This is a very capable weapon which can be loaded with either .45 Hard-Cast bullets or .410 Birdshot (shotgun ammo), which makes it very versatile. I have used this gun with the Birdshot to kill Ducks and Jackrabbits. Earlier today with the .45 ammo it took down a Whitetail deer that blundered into me while I was checking something on the map! I was very glad to have it with me at Petershain Cornfields – an OK Corral meeting between me and a family of 6 Piggies. Hunter wounded twice; one piggie wounded and two dead 🙂 Here’s one I shot earlier in a less stressed situation…

Weapons Packs and other DLC’s.. Weapons added to the game by purchasing a weapons pack DLC are immediately available and are ‘free’ in terms of games currency – it’s not exactly ‘pay-to-win’, more pay to enhance your enjoyment. It’s up to you whether you start running around with a weapon beyond the game rank you’ve reached – personally I waited until the equivalent gun was unlocked. I’ve mentioned Pack 2 twice and the third gun that comes in the pack is also worth a look as it is also an example of versatility. This is the Grelck Drilling Rifle – a double-barrelled shotgun with a large bore rifle barrel below. I’ve tried it and found that it takes a bit of getting used to but it is certainly one to have in your ‘lets go hunting with that today’ collection. The shotgun mentioned in my Layton Lakes loadout above comes from a DLC called Wild Goose Chase – you’ll need this DLC if you want to hunt Canada Geese in Hirschfelden (otherwise they just fly overhead). The gun is the Strecker SxS 20G. I have used it against Geese and it works well (even if the hunter doesn’t!). I haven’t tried it on the Mallard Ducks in Layton Lakes but I had a field day shooting Jackrabbit yesterday……It was definitely Wabbit season and not one of them asked me ‘What’s up Doc?’

So there’s a few tips from me. There are lots more starter tips in videos on YouTube and it’s worth taking a look at some of those to hear other peoples ideas. There’s also the Wiki where you can check out the guns I’ve mentioned and find out a bit about the reserves and animals. The game may be a hunting game but sometimes it’s as much about the beauty – sometimes it’s nice to enjoy the Fallow Deer…

…That’s all Folks 😉