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 🙂

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 🙂 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 🙂 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 😉

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 🙂

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.