Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2009 puts the player in the shoes of Flint Abrahams, a famous hunter who travels around the world in search of hunting challenges. The player spends much time exploring the wilderness looking for traces of prey. Because they can be hard to make out, a Hunter's Sense is included to reduce the world to grayscales and make animals stand out. The game however maintains an arcade approach and lets the player shoot everything in his way, without regard for a patient approach.
The game's Career mode has timed levels forcing quick gameplay, and the different stages are set all around the world. When facing larger animals such as bear or lions, a Hand-to-Claw Combat mode is often triggered automatically to fend them off through a number of quick time event key presses. Another option is the Adrenaline mode where time comes almost completely to a stop, making it easier to line up the shots and get a lot of kills.
Different types of equipment become available to assist in the hunt, and in certain missions it is not required to kill animals – tranquillizing them is sufficient.