How to master theHunter: Call of the Wild, as told by a real life hunter

Summer is over now and with the impending cold comes the roar, when deer go on heat and the stags fight for a mate. Time is ticking away, and only the keenest of hunters will take down an animal. With that in mind, veteran hunter Don Rowe demonstrates how to bag a stag this season.

For whatever reason, be it Joe Rogan’s podcast or Art Green’s abs, people the world over are taking responsibility for sourcing their own meat and heading into the wild. But taking down a paranoid prey animal like the deer requires a bit of know-how. I’ve been hunting for about a decade and have picked up a couple tricks in that time, so it was with great enjoyment that I was successfully able to employ them in theHunter: Call of the Wild (yes, that’s how it’s written). Whether you’re hunting IRL or just in-game, follow these steps to bring home the venison this roar season.

First, ascertain there are actually deer in the area you’re hunting. This can take a long ass time, but you can improve your chances with a few little tricks. Deer, like every other mammal, need to drink to survive. As they descend to drink from ponds or streams they leave tracks in the soft soil. Check the tracks for signs that might indicate their age. Tracks with leaves and other such detritus in them will have been there a while. Tracks that are still soft and somewhat moist are fresh. Similarly so with poos – moist, warm and slimy poos are fresh. Rock hard pellets are not.

A digital indication of the location of tracks – just like in real life!

Now that you’re on the trail of a deer, make sure the wind is on your side. Deer have around 70,000,000 more olfactory scent receptors than dogs, so a single gust of wind in the wrong direction can clear an entire valley. I like to use a lighter to check the wind direction every now and again; just make sure it’s not a zippo, even my busted up nose can detect that gasoline from 100 metres.

Though their hearing is less acute than their sense of smell, deer remain timid and flighty little suckers. Place each step carefully, with an eye for dried branches or leaves. Knocking against an exposed root or crunching an old limb is sure to ruin your hunt. Depending on the season, it may even be necessary to take off your boots and make the final approach barefoot. Either way, enjoy the presence and mindful state this creates. Considering all the various elements mentioned here takes total presence and is somewhat akin to being a hyperviolent monk practicing walking meditation.

Once you’ve closed the distance on your chosen prey it’s time to finish the show. Careful now, because this is the part where something dies, and you don’t want it to be you or any of your friends. Or any humans at all, really. As displayed by games editor José Barbosa on our livestream last week, getting overly keen and taking a wild shot can end really super bad. You want to hit the deer in its vital organs, so aim for the front shoulder. A good shot will take out either the lungs or heart of the deer, and is the surest way to kill the animal with minimal suffering. This is no time for 360 no scope headshots; deer can survive having their jaw blown off – at least until they starve to death – and a gut shot is a similarly horrible way to go.

Once your animal is on the ground, begin by slicing it from groin to throat. Pull out what organs you can, then get nice and deep in there and grab hold of the esophagus. You need to yank that out via the stomach cavity. Next cut around the throat and back of the head. You might need to give it a good twist, but once the neck is broken it should pop right off. Then, to most easily carry the animal, you are going to want to create a backpack of sorts by threading the front legs through the tendons of the back legs. Make sure to partially cut through the front legs in order to create a ‘t’, which will prevent the limbs from slipping out, slick with blood. It’s going to get on your hands, and shirt, and probably in your hair too, so prepare for a bit of gore.

Alternatively, do everything I’ve said in theHunter: Call of the Wild, then turn off your computer and go to the supermarket. The process is exactly the same sans the Texas Chainsaw Massacre butchery.

Happy hunting!

This game played on a rig provided by Playtech, the master hunters of the computer world.

The Spinoff Longform Fund is dedicated to facilitating investigative journalism. Our focus is on supporting in-depth reporting on important New Zealand stories. Your donation will help us sustain this most resource-intensive form of journalism, ensuring that the most complex and important stories still get told.

Related:


The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.