250: Slow Death In a Shady Glen

Slow Death In a Shady Glen

Many games deliver the arcade-y feel of shooting at animals as they frolic across your screen. The Hunter offers a more realistic approach to hunting and nature conservation as Rob Zacny learned after one wild shot brought unexpected shame.

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Impressive article. I definitely didn't expect such deep reactions from a hunting game; certainly makes me better appreciate those methodical scenes in The Deer Hunter (which I just recently saw).

I'm most definitely getting this game as soon as my computer is fixed. I used to hunt things from time to time. It really can be an incredible experience, just you, and nature, very primordial. Except that you've got a gun, of course.

Still, this game sounds like it'll capture that marvelously.

Good article. I felt myself tensing up at the part about the deer.

As someone who has been on a number of hunting expeditions, I can relate to most of what this article is about (except maybe for the killing part, since I have not used a rifle before)

Furburt:
I'm most definitely getting this game as soon as my computer is fixed. I used to hunt things from time to time. It really can be an incredible experience, just you, and nature, very primordial. Except that you've got a gun, of course.

Still, this game sounds like it'll capture that marvelously.

Good article. I felt myself tensing up at the part about the deer.

Good to see someone knows the feeling.
Hunting can be a very fulfilling experience, especially when done with a buddy who knows what he's doing. The first kill is arguably the hardest kill to make, especially when you're nervous and the trigger's heavy. There's a powerful feeling of relief after having made the first successful shot though.

I can relate to the deer after reading about this game. Article was well written, but the subject for me was far too dull. Hunting games have just never ever done it for me, and I think you have to have an active interest in the sport to appreciate how good this game might be.

Absaloutely beautiful

I don't think I could ever hunt, real or not. The fact that, at the end of the day, I didn't have a pressing need to kill that deer/other would just crush me with guilt. I'm not going to eat it, and even if I was, I could have easily gone to the shops and eaten an animal that was bred for the purpose, not one that was bred for the sake of being killed at some point (or worse still, a wild animal)

But, at the end of the day, I respect hunters who know they have to preserve the wildlife AND that the animal should be treated with respect and dispatched mercifully

I just couldn't do it, knowing that it didn't really have to die for me

Congrats on realizing how NOT to hunt. I know a few (which is a few too many) hunters who consider a shot to cripple and a chase to be the "easy" way to do it. (Easy to spot, they tend to be the ones who abuse their dogs when they go duck hunting.) But then, I lived in the boonies at the time. Lot of yahoos with guns. Only thing worse are the ones who hunt near residential areas.

This game sounds amazing, it's just a shame there's no way i'll be able to run it. Maybe in the future when I can afford to splash out on an impressive desktop...

Some interesting meta-analysis of the game in question here. I do appreciate games that offer consequences for ill thought out actions. In the end I think I would have taken the hard shot, then likely never played again.

Very well written article. I'm glad to see things that teach respect of nature. That hunting should not just be blazing guns and slaughter.

This is why you should always hunt with a Bazooka.

Seriously this is a very good article and touches on some of the themes of emotional connection that has been explored in previous issues. It's not all about virtual Venison its how small touches can make a game real.

Slightly off topic does anyone know the name of an old PC hunting game where you hunted dinosaurs? You had about 3 different weapons, and you could tranq them for extra points, or kill them and have them stuffed in your trophy room.

Interesting article, I've never hunted anything in real life and I've never played a hunting game before. It's free, so, I'll give it a shot (no pun intended).

GrinningManiac:
I'm not going to eat it, and even if I was, I could have easily gone to the shops and eaten an animal that was bred for the purpose, not one that was bred for the sake of being killed at some point (or worse still, a wild animal)

Uh, what? Meat comes from live animals who are killed, and whether they're "bred for it" or not they still suffer and die to become it.

That's why before I became too crippled to hunt anymore, I used to do so. I unfortunately have vegetable sensitivity (yeah, it exists) so I HAVE to eat meat most of the time, and I still can't find enough sources of humanely-killed meat in the supermarket. I have to eat hamburgers and lunchmeat and fried chicken and stuff, but it's not lost to me that animals died so I could live.

I respect their sacrifices, and sign lots of petitions to try and get it so they have better lives and suffer less before they get to our tables. It's the least I can do, and some measures are slowly coming through, thank goodness.
--

Anyway, when one hunts, at least then they know that the animal they're taking down has had a good, natural life. And if they get a clean kill, then the animal didn't have to suffer. That's where respect for living things comes in, and why I can relate heavily to this article.

I hunted for three years in a row as a teen and young adult, getting up at 3 am to get ready, setting out at 4, staking out a pre-determined spot of high deer traffic I'd discovered before, and starting the wait into late-morning to noon. I know the game tried to capture that feeling, but there's NOTHING like the real thing. When you have to be absolutely still, becoming part of the land, gauging wind direction so they don't scent you... Lots of the time they still SENSE you.

You have to become one with nature. You have to become more than an average human. When you find this state of mind, your own senses sharpen. You can hear a caterpillar chewing a leaf thirty feet away. You can smell at least five species of plants. You can see every detail of tree bark for a quarter of a mile. You can feel life all around you.

I've spotted other animals, gotten to watch parts of their lives before my eyes. I even got rewarded for my long hours of patience by seeing a buck worthy of a trophy... But I didn't take the shot. Because a clean shot did not present itself; the rascal somehow managed to only stop his brisk walking with his heart behind a tree-trunk. Every single time, heh.

But I do not regret that I never came home with a deer. Nor do I consider any of those hunts failures. The hunt ITSELF is what was a spiritual experience, not a kill. Though that of course I'm sure would come with mixed-feelings but triumph among them.

Getting in touch with your senses is magical. Humans aren't as instinctless as we seem nowadays. We're capable of so much more sensitivity. And it often takes a hunt to bring it out of you.

But yeah, then you have yahoos with guns who just wanna kill things. Who don't care that the animal they shoot is a living thing with feelings. Those are the guys you wanna watch out for because you don't know what they might do to their fellow men... And there's incidents where people see movement and shoot. Resulting in dead pets, livestock, and even other people. There's even sickos with "hunting shows" on tv who sit there and boast over a still crying animal, who I seriously would have reported to an agency had I known how to (I saw those when I was a kid).

(Ugh, and that's not even getting into trophy-hunters... Sorry, but if you kill something, you should use ALL of it and use it to sustain your own life. That's the other part of real vs simulated hunting.)

I wouldn't be against having an ethics-test to get a hunting license, personally. But I can see why that wouldn't be the case too. Regardless though, thanks for this article, Rob. I'm glad you were capable of the pride of a true hunter after learning this hard lesson. A real hunter is one who hunts. Otherwise they're just a killer.

There was an old PC game called "Deer Hunter 2", which accomplished much the same idea: a realistic hunting sim, that got you very in the mood of stalk-and-sit. What other game could make sitting in a tree-stand or walking across a field so very intense?

Immersion, people! It's the name of the game.

Now this piece makes me want to try that game.
Oh, it's free also, nice ^_^

ZaCloud:

GrinningManiac:
I'm not going to eat it, and even if I was, I could have easily gone to the shops and eaten an animal that was bred for the purpose, not one that was bred for the sake of being killed at some point (or worse still, a wild animal)

Uh, what? Meat comes from live animals who are killed, and whether they're "bred for it" or not they still suffer and die to become it.

That's why before I became too crippled to hunt anymore, I used to do so. I unfortunately have vegetable sensitivity (yeah, it exists) so I HAVE to eat meat most of the time, and I still can't find enough sources of humanely-killed meat in the supermarket. I have to eat hamburgers and lunchmeat and fried chicken and stuff, but it's not lost to me that animals died so I could live.

I respect their sacrifices, and sign lots of petitions to try and get it so they have better lives and suffer less before they get to our tables. It's the least I can do, and some measures are slowly coming through, thank goodness.
--

Sorry, I can't quite articulate this notion

Here's another way of saying it:

I need to eat. It is a biological nessecity. I need to eat meat, as it is part of my diet. To get the meat, an animal must die. This is the underlying fact of all wildlife.

However, when it comes to killing, I feel there is a difference between a cow that was raised soley to be eaten which is then killed with the sole intent of then being eaten by me and others, and hunting. With hunting these days (obviously, this is not the case for tribal and nomadic people, such as the African tribes), you are killing the animal for the thrill of the kill. You are not looking to eat that animal and, at most, you might mount a bit of it on your wall.

Why did that animal have to die? The cow had to die so I could live (that sounds heartless, but you know what I mean), but the deer died just because I thought it'd be good sport.

Obviously, if you eat the deer, then that's fine, but the majority of hunters don't seem to care much about that.

Hell, stuff like Fox Hunting in the UK disgusted me, because the fox definately can't be eaten, and it hasn't done anything (originally, the hunt was to get rid of fox pests on an aristocrat's farm, but not these days) to deserve such a death, and the humans gain nothing from its death other than adrenaline.

It just seems wasteful, and tragically pointless

This was an excellent article - makes me really want to try the game, even if it's only because it sounds so immersive, and I haven't really tried any nature-based games yet.

Re: GrinningManiac: Ahh, I see. Well, most hunters at least around here also eat the deer. Venison is a pretty exotic food since it's rarely commercially available, so of course we go through the trouble of butchering it. Some folks DO mount the heads, but they still usually eat the meat too.

I definitely agree that anyone who intentionally kills an animal and doesn't eat it is wasting it, and belittling the value of the life they took. I would only ever hunt for food, definitely.

But like I said, slaughtered cows are put through a lot of stress and pain when they're killed. Deer are still alive to be killed too, for cougars and wolves and coyotes, or if they die by something other than predation, they're eaten by buzzards and insects and foxes.

So anything part of the food chain contributes to the lives of others by being eaten.

If you think about it, hunting is way less cruel than slaughtering a cow or chicken or pig. Most of those spend their lives in tiny commercial pens, crowded, overdosed on medication so they don't spread diseases while they live in their own feces, never knowing the warmth of sunshine or the joy of running and playing. Then they're kicked and beaten to be forced into trailers, shipped for hours, then have to watch their brethren die before... ugh, I don't want to go into detail, but let's just say they sometimes scream for hours before they slowly die.

But if you give an unsuspecting grazing animal one quick shot in the heart, then it doesn't suffer at all. And at least it had a good life while it lasted, instead of misery and torment.

Most folks can't stomach the idea of killing an animal themselves, yet ignoring what happens to the domestic animal making up your meat doesn't mean it doesn't happen, and in the end it contributes to the process. Like I said before, I do what I can about that, but I'm not one of those lucky enough to be able to go vegetarian or buy organic/range-fed meat and cage-free eggs all the time. Though I'm working on bettering my situation, and plan to move to an area where that'll be possible.

At least, if you're a REAL hunter and don't like, put out salt-blocks and corn to draw the deer artificially, and don't randomly shoot at any movement or hunt out-of-season... then you're truly part of the food chain. You become about as natural of a hunter as the deer's natural predators. You only use a gun because you have no claws and teeth, and aren't fast enough to catch up to it. You still have to be patient and silent for hours, often in the cold, letting vapor run down your chin from your nose, freezing into icicles, your fingers nearly freezing to the trigger.

Hunting is stressful, it's full of pressure, and requires diligence and effort. So, the deer has a chance. It's easy to betray your presence, or the wind will shift, or you'll sneeze, or it'll just plain see you. It's the deer's skills vs your own. Survival of the fittest. Instead of the animals being forced and not having a chance of escape like with farm animals... wild animals, with a true hunt, are more likely to survive than to die. It's way more fair.

thenumberthirteen:
This is why you should always hunt with a Bazooka.

Seriously this is a very good article and touches on some of the themes of emotional connection that has been explored in previous issues. It's not all about virtual Venison its how small touches can make a game real.

Slightly off topic does anyone know the name of an old PC hunting game where you hunted dinosaurs? You had about 3 different weapons, and you could tranq them for extra points, or kill them and have them stuffed in your trophy room.

I REMEMBER YES... i played the demo back then, dont know the name tough, its was pretty good for the time...... ALRIGHT JUST WENT ON a odissey in google, and i found it, Carnivores, theres even a sequel.

A pirated copy of Hunting Unlimited 2008 once did the rounds at school, but unfortunately for members of a certain house, their housemaster is an ex-greenpeace animal rights activist and he banned it.

I'm not quite convinced that hunting games are "conservationist". In fact, I'd call them the opposite. There's nothing conservationist about killing an animal, fundamentally. Yes, if they're a pest and they're killing something more endangered, I can see some good in the action, but I don't approve of killing and I don't see it as preserving nature when we are the real "pest" on the Earth and there's more of us than a lot of the other species that we can kill with a rifle.

While I applaud the idea that killing things in games doesn't mean killing something in real life, and some might get enough fun in the virtual version not to do the real thing, hunting generally causes as many problems as it solves. I can see that a lot of those playing it are real hunters or might be inspired to do real hunting recreationally, which may indeed lead to more "yahoos" with guns in the wild (something the environment certainly doesn't need).

I definitely think that it's important to encourage an ethical standpoint in thinking about what you hunt in this game and others like it, but at the end of the day you're still killing things. It sounds like a finely constructed game, but there's something too real about the theme for me. One thing I will say in its favour is that it isn't just another run and gun where you can kill without seeing the consequences. There's some decency in that.

I'm mixed on hunting itself too. But that's why they sell licenses; to make sure only a certain amount of people are hunting any given season. And hunting seasons are very short and conditional, so you don't end up killing a fawn's mother when it's too young to fend for itself and whatnot, or so you don't kill any more than the population can stand to lose.

They take population checks, and determine what number would be sustainable to take. If the population's low, then they place stricter number/age/sex limits until the population restocks properly.

Deer populations are exploding in some areas, mostly due to their natural predators unfortunately being run out by irate farmers and general city growth. Deer numbers getting too big leads to disease and starvation among the numbers as they vie for territory or resort to eating people's crops. Plus, with more of them around, there ends up being an increase in vehicle accidents, costing the lives of both the deer and the people involved, or at very least damaging vehicles.

It's our fault for encroaching so much on them, I know. But unfortunately it's happening, so managing their numbers is the only thing we can do in the long run. And as long as we eat them, then at least they die for a purpose, instead of slow starvation and illness or being splattered all over the road.

But I get where you're coming from and agree, even while I state these facts. And at least this video game is more realistic and doesn't promote the yahooism like many older games do. But, that's why it's important to instill from childhood onward, that games are games, and not real life. Most folks are fortunately smart enough to know that.

Wow, this was a rapturously written article. It made me want to take up hunting, it sounds like the kind of thing I could get behind - it sounds like it requires a lot of discipline and patience and it would get me outdoors. Too bad there's no hunting in my neck of the woods,

However I think I might just see if I can pick the game up in either case. (So long as my PC can run it.)

"A quick snapshot at a running target, far from being the feat of reflexes and marksmanship that I thought it was, turned out to be irresponsible and cruel."
Good thing this idiot didn't have a real gun, because this is how to best shoot other hunters (argue for or against that as you feel necessary).

Habitat encroachment is the real killer, far ahead of anything guys with guns have done, even if they don't eat the meat.

Great article! We need more games like this.

Well all I can say is the author really took some writing liberties with this article!!! I'm wondering if he was paid to do this?? Being one of the first few let into this GAME at the time of it's conception, I feel I should let others know that at first the intent of the GAME/SIMULATION was to be realistic as possible. Sure the high detailed graphics is pleasing at first, and the sounds also (at first any way) seem to be very realistic, but soon become very bothersome. The wind sounds more like a fierce wind storm CONSTANTLY. It does not come up and go down as in real life, it just blows gale force, in sound only. The leaves fall from tree's in the direction the wind blows, but they very seldom blow very far from the tree's.

The matter of The Hunter teaching ethics? Well I beg to differ what is ethical about being able to shoot as many deer you can in a two hour span of real time?? There is no limit to how many you are allowed to shoot!! It was mentioned that this game is FREE, well yes it is, to download and to shoot as many Mule Deer you want to. But that is where the free stops. You must pay for the licenses of other animals you want to be able to shoot. Other than basic equipment you must pay for every thing, ammo, smoke in a bottle, better weapons.
The game play itself well, there's no skill to it at all. Just walk the roads and watch the HUNTERMATE (The Hunters GPS and game interface that lets you know where a call came from and used for tracking and claiming your kills), when you hear a call and see where it came from, check the wind to make sure your not down wind of it and take a prone position and use your call. 98% of the time it will come right to you, offering it self up for the kill. If there happens to be a heard of them, just stay prone after your first shot and call BACK the rest of them and wipe them out. The Elk are especially DUMB, once you find a heard of them you can get every last one of them using the above procedure. In real life the animals around that whole area would be gone at the first shot, and it would take a very skilled person to call them back in.

ETHICS?? That does not even come close to showing true ethics, especially not ones that the Boone and Crockett Club supports with it's motto of "Fair Chase and Conservation", of which they claim to have their support.

It's a GAME. After playing for a short time you get tired of the HIGH graphic settings that you can turn down to a point of being able to see much better through the thick forest, the endless bug sprites that greet you throughout the island, the torrential rains that start and stop like some one has turned on a tap (while it's raining you can't hear a thing other than the rain falling and hitting the ground. I have NEVER heard rain fall like this in real life like it does in this game)and the lack of some good AI (artificial intelligence) of the animals, and it turns into just a game that I don't think too many people are going to pay $59.99 a year to play. Not to mention having to pay to replenish the ammo, smoke in a bottle (save your self money, just look at the direction the leaves are blowing in and leave the smoke in a bottle at the store), the numerous cover spray's and scents (that I can honestly say I'm not so sure do any thing other than eat into your VIRTUAL wallet). Oh yea you have to purchase em$ (we think it stands for EMOTE MONEY) at a rate of 500 em$ for $4.99. Sounds cheap but when you consider that the rifles range from $300 (em$) to over $700 em$ it adds up fast. One thing that really gets on my nerves is that they have invented a gun, not unusual for a game to do, but when they say they are the MOST REALISTIC!!!! The gun in mention is the lever action 30-06 (30 ought 6) with an icon showing a 1793 model lever action gun that was never made in this caliber, it has a tube feed configuration. This would be a very dangerous gun to operate as the BULLET configurations are pointed, this would cause the remaining bullets in the tube magazine to fire off when the trigger was pulled on the first round. It was brought to their attention many times but they ignore those types of suggestions. Oh yea and they stated that a scope could not be put on that type of weapon, at least the OLD owners of the game have stated that and the new owners (just a branch off the old owners) state it is now possible and are going to continue with this farce of being the most realistic hunting SIM with fictitious guns. LOL

Well anyway it's your money and I just couldn't see letting this very biased review go without giving you at least some truth into The Hunter venture. I still have my wardens membership which apparently, as long as it is kept in good standing should never expire!! Any one interested???

Not a real life hunter and never will be, but I am greatly enjoying this game thanks to The Escapist.

It's also fun to just explore the island, which is extremely beautiful and realistic.

Love the game, I really hate to take a cheap shot but when i started I didn't know any better, I killed everything i saw; small doe, large buck, didn't matter, killed 12 does in 3 hours on my second hunting session. http://apostacious.thehunter.com/

I try to aim for the heart but most of the times hit the lungs and that ends up in that awkward moment where you have to put it out of it's misery.. A little disheartening but for the trill I'll do it over and over again always aiming for that perfect shot.

Very very gripping article.

 

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