A hunter


Hunters track and pursue animals with the intention of trapping or killing them. They hunt animals for the purpose of gaining food and other animal products, recreation, trade or wildlife management. Hunters specialise in the skill of tracking down and shooting animals with weapons such as rifles and bows. They also use devices to trap animals for similar purposes.

Hunters typically do the following:

  • Locate wild animals with the use of animal-finding equipment
  • Catch wild animals with weapons, such as rifles or bows, or with traps, such as snares
  • Sort, pack, and store the catch with ice and other freezing methods
  • Follow hunting regulations, which vary by state and always include a safety component
  • Sell what they catch for food and decorative purposes

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to hunter:

pelt trapper
game trapper
wildlife manager
deer hunter
animal hunter
fur trapper
animal trapper
deer stalker
wildlife culler

Working conditions

Hunting operations are conducted under various environmental conditions, depending on the geographic region, body land, and kinds of animals sought.

Injuries and illnesses

Hunting can be dangerous and can lead to workplace injuries or fatalities. Hunters often work under hazardous conditions. Transportation to a hospital or doctor is often not readily available for these workers because they can be out in a remote area.

And although fatalities are uncommon, hunters experience one of the highest rates of occupational fatalities of all occupations.

Hunting accidents can occur because of the weapons and traps these workers use. Hunters and trappers minimize injury by wearing the appropriate gear and following detailed safety procedures. Specific safety guidelines vary by country or state.

Work Schedules

Hunters often endure long shifts and irregular work schedules. Additionally, local authorities may only allow hunters and trappers to hunt or trap during certain times of the year depending on the type of wild animals sought.

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a hunter. These workers usually learn on the job.

Hunters need a license delivered by local authorities to hunt in any land or forest. Licenses usually specify the hunting season, the type and amount of wild animals that may be caught, and the type of weapons or traps that can be used.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Hunter is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Hunter career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to hunter.

forest ranger
game keeper
passenger fare controller
forestry equipment operator
animal shelter worker

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of hunter. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of hunter with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

forestry inspector
forestry technician
incinerator operator
waste broker
deck officer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of hunter.

  • Health, safety and hygiene legislation: The set of health, safety and hygiene standards and items of legislation applicable in a specific sector.
  • Animal hunting: The techniques, procedures and legislations concerning the hunting of animals such as wildlife and birds for the purpose of gaining food and animal products, recreation, trade and wildlife management.
  • European firearms-control legislation: The regulation regarding the acquisition and possession of weapons on a European Union level by means the Directive 91/477/EEC and the Directive 2008/51/EC.
  • Understand game species: Understand biology and ecology of relevant game species including game birds, deer, and fisheries.
  • Wild game meat food safety: Understand food safety management procedures and national requirements for wild game meat.
  • Forest conservation: Understand forest conservation: the practice of planting and maintaining forested areas.
  • Camouflage: The different kinds of materials and specialised clothing used for concealment of people, vehicles or other equipment.
  • Wildlife: Undomesticated animal species, as well as all plants, fungi and other organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans. Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems such as deserts, forests, rain forests, plains, grasslands and other areas including the most developed urban areas, all have distinct forms of wildlife. Handling of wildlife capture equipment.
  • Wildlife projects: Wildlife and animal conservation projects, which aim to protect and preserve ecosystems and habitats of a wide range of animals under threat from urbanisation.
  • Ecosystems: The characteristics of the system where living organisms co-habitate and interact with non-living elements.
  • Forest ecology: The ecosystems existing in a forest, starting from bacteria to trees and soil types.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of hunter.

  • Ensure compliance with environmental legislation: Monitor activities and perform tasks ensuring compliance with standards involving environmental protection and sustainability, and amend activities in the case of changes in environmental legislation. Ensure that the processes are compliant with environment regulations and best practices.
  • Trap animals: Use devices such as animal traps to catch or kill wildlife. Trap the animals for the purpose of gaining food or animal products, pest control or wildlife management.
  • Perform forest analysis: Review data, reports and studies in forestry. Based on this information, write a situation analysis report on biodiversity and genetic resources relevant to forestry.
  • Apply forest legislation: Ability to efficiently apply forest legislation and principles.
  • Assess harvesting impact on wildlife: Monitor wildlife populations and habitats for the impact of timber harvesting and other forest operations.
  • Monitor forest health: Monitor forest health to make sure all necessary actions are taken by the forestry workers team.
  • Comply with wildlife hazard management programmes: Ensure that animal hazard management programs are carried out appropriately. Consider the impact of wildlife on the performance of transport or industrial operations.
  • Protect health and safety when handling animals: Protect health and welfare of animals and their handlers.
  • Organise game shoots: Plan and organise shoots and fishing parties.
  • Develop wildlife programmes: Educate the public and respond to requests for aid and information about an area’s wildlife.
  • Monitor wildlife: Conduct fieldwork to observe wildlife.
  • Promote environmental awareness: Calculate the carbon footprint of business processes and other practices in order to promote sustainability and to raise awareness for the environmental impact.
  • Assist forest visitors: Answer questions from campers, hikers and tourists. Provide directions.
  • Dispose of dead animals: Dispose of dead animals which are not considered a source of meat. Bury or cremate the animal based on the wishes of the owners or on other criteria.
  • Hunt animals: Hunt animal wildlife and birds. Track, pursue and kill the animal in a humane way, according to animal and environmental legislations. Use weapons such as hunting rifles, crossbows or trapping devices to kill or trap the hunted animal.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of hunter. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Communicate with customers: Respond to and communicate with customers in the most efficient and appropriate manner to enable them to access the desired products or services, or any other help they may require.
  • Control animal movement: Direct, control or restrain some or part of an animal’s, or a group of animals’, movement.
  • Work independently in forestry services: Perform tasks individually in forestry services by taking decisions without help. Handle tasks and tackle with issues or problems without any outside assistance.
  • Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
  • Read maps: Read maps effectively.
  • Process animal by-products: Carry out initial processing of animal by-products for example skin, in preparation for further processing
  • Provide first aid to animals: Administer emergency treatment to prevent deterioration of the condition, suffering and pain until veterinary assistance can be sought. Basic emergency treatment needs to be done by non-veterinarians prior to first-aid provided by a veterinarian. Non-veterinarians providing emergency treatment are expected to seek treatment by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Deal with killing animals processes: Cope with the process of slaughtering and handling carcasses without distress.
  • Educate the public about wildlife: Speak with groups of adults and children to teach them how to enjoy the forest without harming it or themselves. Speak in schools or with specific youth groups if called upon. Develop and teach programs related to nature conservation.
  • Train gun dogs: Train gun dogs and work with them.
  • Report pollution incidents: Examine the extent of the damage and consequences when an incident causes pollution, and report it to the relevant institution following pollution reporting procedures.
  • Hire beaters: Hire and supervise beaters to startle game during shoots and related activities.

ISCO group and title

6224 – Hunters and trappers

  1. Hunter – ESCO
  2. Fishing and Hunting Workers : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Featured image: Photo by Julian Hanslmaier on Unsplash
Last updated on October 25, 2022

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