theHunter is a realistic online hunting simulation that combines a 3D game client with an online social networking site. On the networking site players can talk to friends, compare statistics, buy new weapons and receive new missions from NPCs. When ready to head out in the forest, the 3D client is launched with single-player instances in a highly realistic 3D landscape. The game is set in the Evergreen Hunting Reserve, a huge setting surrounded by water with dense forest where the player can hunt whitetail deer, mule deer and turkey.
Played from a first-person perspective, the Huntermate gadget is used to track animals, analyse sounds, droppings and tracks found in the forest. Important clues are highlighted in red in the game world. The hunting itself is highly realistic. The player needs to take into account the wind, the scent of animals and their field of vision. When running through the game, it becomes very unlikely to meet an animal. Instead, animals can be called and different stances (crouch, prone) need to be used to track their movement and wait for the right time to shoot.
Players only have a limited amount of bullets, and additional types of weapons or clothing can be bought. On the website certain missions are given, but the environment remains a free-roaming world with no restrictions. The majority of the park consists of forest, but there is also a lake, different watch towers and camps, as well as open fields and roads. In the inventory screen items can be swapped or equipped, such as binoculars, different types of ammo or a scope. Premium members gain access to different animals and weapons for a monthly fee.