Guide courtesy of MonacoSteve
Many of you may remember my “7 simple rules for a successful hunt” which I posted over a year ago to help newcomers getting a good start with TH (viewtopic.php?f=31&t=11826). This advice (which is also available in the TH WiKi, by the way) is still true, but nevertheless has grown a little out of date over time, in view of all the great extensions which we have received meanwhile ( 2 new maps, 3 new animals, al lot more new equipment, etc.). Thus, it is time for a little update.
Here, you find my new “Rules for a successful hunt” now. For those who have not the time or interest to read through lengthy pieces of text, a short summary is put in front.
- Chose the optimal starting position:
- Guests should start their session always at the Causeway Lodge. New members are recommended to select the Field Lodge of Loggers Point for their first hunts.
- The best time for a hunting trip:
- Deer tend to sleep (and to be more silent) between late morning and early afternoon (ca. 8 am - 2 pm), but the map illumination/sight is best during this period. Which time you prefer thus depends on your personal hunting style (more visual/active or more auditory/reactive)
- Chose a good hunting route:
- Prefer roads, meadows and clearings to move along. In the deep jungle, the animal has all advantages. It can use 3 senses, you as player have only 1-2.
- Don’t expect an animal behind each corner:
- As long as you do not see or hear something, simply move on. Stay on your chosen route until you notice the signs of animals
- Be very careful if you approach an animal:
- Once you have detected the general direction in which an animal is heading and think you know where it is, do not simply continue to follow/approach it. Rather, think. In many cases, the situation offers alternatives which could lead to a better success
- Watch your environment:
- Check clearings and use towers or elevated locations to screen the surroundings, but do not spent too much time with “blind and hopeful” waiting if you have no indications for the presence of animals
- Animal calls, grunts, barks, and footstep/wing-beating sounds are the most informative hints you can get. Try not to miss them, and use them to precisely localize your prey
- Use the environment and your equipment to your advantage:
- Especially beginners are often better off if they do not enter the deepest woods and try to undetect an animal there. Rather, turn the situation around and try to pull the animal out of its cover by finding a spot with a good view, and attracting it with appropriate scents or callers
- Plan your shot wisely:
- If possible, always aim in prone mode, and avoid shooting while animals are moving. Try to place a single, lethal hit and observe the consequence of your shot carefully if it did not drop the animal on the spot
- Chose the optimal starting position.
- For Guests with a mule deer license only, I recommend to always start your hunt at The Causeway, never at the SouthCliff Lodge. Mule deer roam predominantly in the northern and middle part of the Whitehart Island; the SouthCliff area usually does not contain them. You can save a lot of time of fruitless search remembering this.
New Members with a full license are advised to start their first hunts at the Field Lodge on Loggers Point. Usually, you will get here the first hints on roaming animals within a couple of minutes already. Loggers Point also offers you many areas with wide open view to visualize animals from long distances. And the feral hogs are not very spooky and an easy first target if you do not see deer. I’d be very surprised if you ever leave a session with empty hands, and this area will allow you to nicely train your abilities necessary for the harder environments.
- The best time for a hunting trip.
- This is mainly a matter of taste, but not only. It is worth remembering that deer and elk (but not birds, hogs and coyotes!) have a daytime-triggered rhythm. In short: they have an increased tendency to interrupt their normal activity and snooze for a while during late morning, noon, and early afternoon hours (ca. 8 am - 2 pm). They do neither deposit more tracks nor do they call during this period; thus they are “silent” and harder to detect (unless they decide to sleep directly in an widely open area). They do not sleep in the early morning (5-8 am) and later afternoon (3-6pm). However, the early morning and late afternoon have the disadvantage of a more diffuse map illumination with less sight for the player. You may therefore prefer the one or the other time period depending on your personal hunting style (more visual/active or more auditory/reactive).
- Wisely chose your hunting route.
- When planning your trip, remember the following simple fact: The game animals have three permanently active, sharp senses (sight, hearing, and - except birds - smell) while you as player have only one (sight), and sometimes (if the animals are so friendly to grant it) also hearing. Thus, you must setup conditions under which your own senses are optimally exploited. Walk along the roads and use open areas as much as you can. Avoid entering areas with dense wood and brush. The animals roam everywhere and have no preferences for certain area types. Their very random distribution also ensures that there are no particular “hot spots” for big trophies. Hunting in unclear parts of the area only increases the likelihood that you are spotted long before you see the animal. This is true in particular if you do not yet know what exactly to look for. You also will see animal tracks much worse in woods and bushes. Roads, meadows, and clearings, in contrast, offer far open views, and track signs can more easily be recognized on the ground. - It is also worh mentioning that the main wind direction in the EHR is always from south to north! You can take this into account by avoiding routes in which the animals always have a big chance to be downwind, smelling you earlier.
- Don’t expect an animal behind each corner.
- As long as you do not see or hear something, simply move on. Stay on your chosen route until you notice the sign of an animal. Obviously, slower own movement (crouch mode, frequent stops) will spook fewer animals than a normal walk (or even running), but depending on your personal hunting style, you may initially prefer a faster pace nevertheless. No problem. You never immediately scare every animal which comes into your reach. Sooner or later, you’ll find a promising track or hear an animal calling. Many animals will cross roads or clearings and leave a sign there. Just remember in this stage: this is hunting, not a shooter game. The stalking and looking for tracks is a big part of the game play, a part of the fun. If you just want to kill something as quick as possible, you may need another type of game – and there are many alternatives available!
- Be very careful if you approach an animal.
- Once you found first promising signs, slow down and continue moving with enhanced attention. Do not follow the first track you see. Animals often make small random changes of their moving paths while roaming in a general direction, so a single track might be misleading. Try to find more tracks, and, if possible, find out how old they already are (solid circle vs. dotted circle on your HunterMate). Once you are sure to have detected the general direction in which an animal is currently heading, do not simply continue to follow it in the attempt to catch up as soon as possible. Rather, think. In many cases, the situation offers alternatives which could lead to a better success.
- Watch your environment.
- Check carefully the larger clearings which you pass during your walk. Use elevated points on the map to look around, whenever possible. Stop walking while screening the landscape with the eye or the binocular. You will be surprised how often you see a movement somewhere in the distance! If a hunting stand or hunting tower is nearby, enter it and look around. Depending on whether you are more the patient type of player or not, you might extend your stay on a hunting stand and try to use a lure to attract an animal. “Blind luring” without having any reliable hints on nearby animals is usually not very successful, however. Thus, do not wait not too long in a single spot; if no animal shows up within a few minutes, just leave and move on.
- Sounds are the most reliable hints you can get about an animal. All animals (except coyotes) make calls which are registered by your HunterMate. Localizing an animal via its call gives you a very clear picture where to expect it. It also gives you in most cases (except feral hogs) a clear indication which gender it has – once you know how to discriminate male and female calls. But don’t forget: Although there will be situations where you could swear that this is different: Animals – with exception of the pheasants - do not directly call back (“answer” your own calls). Their calling frequency follows independent rules in time and space. But nevertheless: once you hear them, you can be sure that the animal can also hear you and it is ready to perceive your own signals.
- Use the environment and your equipment to your advantage.
- In general, you have always two possibilities once you identified the putative location of an animal: Trying to stalk it and getting into visual contact, and hunting it down right away. Or you can do the opposite and better avoid a situation where the animal can easily use its three senses against your one (see above). This is particularly true if the animal is well hidden. Instead of entering the jungle, try to pull the animal out. In this case, try to make a perfect use of the environment and your available equipment. Find a spot with the best possible view into the direction where you think the animal is. Set up a scent trap or start to lure the animal towards you with an appropriate caller, and either await it in your mounted tree stand, a immobile hunting tower, or simply while staying in prone in an elevated location. Ideally, you also apply the scent eliminator – this is particularly important if the animal is downwind and you might not see it unless it is already pretty close. You have a good chance that the animal will show up from the direction you expect – it usually doesn’t make a detour when reacting to a trigger. Just observe the landscape (always change between naked eye and glassing) and look for movements between trees and in the grass. And for all animals is true: as soon as you hear their footsteps, there is not much time left before they will spot you – no matter how well you are hidden.
- Plan your shot wisely.
- First of all: if possible, avoid shooting on a moving target (exception: flying pheasants)! Once you see an animal, bring it in focus of your weapon/scope, but wait until it stops walking or trotting. Aim at the chest, not at the head; most animals have very mobile heads, and the chance that you miss it is high. Keep cool. Every animal will stop moving once in a while to look around and listen. Be sure that no obstacles prevent a clear shot. Stabilize your weapon by holding the breath (press - and keep pressed - the “Space” bar). The optimally stable shots can be achieved in the prone position (not possible for the bow, though), but crouch offers also a significant improvement already. This is true even for higher skill levels. Try to place a lethal shot – this saves enormous time you otherwise have to spend for tracking afterwards. Once you released a bullet, avoid the auto-reloading: keep the left mouse button pressed down. Focus your view (scope) back on the animal after the recoil as fast as possible, and observe what happens. If the animal does not immediately drop, observe its flight as long as possible. Then head towards the spot you saw it last. If you (think you) missed, don’t shoot again in the animal’s direction without having a clear view. It is much better to wait until the situation has calmed down. Animals stay nervous for about 6 minutes (real time) and then can be lured back if they are still in reach. If you have to track a wounded animal, concentrate exclusively on its signs once you identified the first one (usually a blood spot). Follow and enter only tracks marked with solid spheres. Nevertheless, you may lose some animals in the beginning. Don’t worry. Try to find another one. Improve your aiming and tracking. You’ll realize very soon that you can learn this game pretty fast.