A character who makes his (or, rarely, her) legitimate living by hunting down animals for their meat and fur. Most often found in stories about America's frontier days, fading into The Western. Generally, the Hunter Trapper will have or quickly acquire excellent survival skills and woodcraft, often with the aid of a Native American friend. Improbable Aiming Skills are common, but this character is seldom The Gunslinger, as in the early days, their rifles hold only one shot. Often wears a Coonskin cap. Expect to see a successful Hunter Trapper garbed in the skins and furs of his prey, with the more ostentatious ones perhaps wearing claws and teeth as decorations. Many of these characters are The Stoic, uncomfortable with civilized society's demands for emotional involvement, but a few are Boisterous Bruisers instead, especially if they're Sidekicks. If it's a period Romance Novel, one might serve as the male Love Interest (though being "tamed" by the heroine is inevitable in this case.) The French-Canadian version of this character is the Voyageur, actually rivermen who worked for the fur companies, but who did hunting and trapping on the side. Often overlaps with The Pioneer; can turn into the Mountain Man if he decides to stay outside civilization permanently. May also qualify as a type of Intrepid Merchant, especially if he puts himself at high risk to gather pelts from dangerous animals because of the even higher chance of profit. Contrast the Evil Poacher; compare and contrast the Roguish Poacher.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Wolverine McAllister from the Journey comic book published by Aardvark-Vanaheim.
- The villain Buck Wylde from the Zorro comic book published by Topps was one of these.
- Kraven the Hunter of Spider-Man fame is a super-villain with this as his shtick. When he isn't playing bad guy, he lives off the land in the wildest places of Earth, including the dinosaur infested Savage Land.
- Tomahawk and his sidekick Dan Hunter in The DCU.
- The hunters brought in to hunt the Beast in Brotherhood of the Wolf fit this mold.
- As does the wolf-hunter whom the Bishop hires to kill Navarre in Ladyhawke.
- The protagonist in 2011's The Hunter qualifies; despite being referred to as just a mercenary, he knows a LOT about stalking, hunting, and trapping 4-legged prey.
- The bear guy from True Grit.
- Older Than Radio: Natty Bumppo, the hero from The Last of the Mohicans and other Leatherstocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper.
- In the Trixie Belden books, Mr. Maypenny, who works for Honey's father as gamekeeper in his reserve. I don't believe he gets paid for his services (at least not as much as Mr. Wheeler offered him, according to Mr. Maypenny's telling of it), but gets to hunt and trap the animals in the reserve for his own use. (Also, Mr. Maypenny is the non-crazy/non-unicycle-riding/non-poacher that Honey and Trixie thought he was.)
- Multiple examples throughout Karl May's Winnetou novels and related works — the author's self-insert and frequent viewpoint character Old Shatterhand is himself one and consequently tends to find himself in like company when out in the West.
- In Northern Exposure minor character Walt is a seventy-something trapper who lives in the woods for most of the year, just coming into town to drop off his skins and for supplies. He eventually becomes general store owner Ruth-Anne's love interest.
- In the Gaunts Ghosts series, Scout Sergeant Mkoll was one of these before he joined the Guard. He fits the stoic, outdoor-oriented stereotype, although he evidently used to have a family he cared for deeply.
- Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthorne in The Hunger Games are a post-apocalyptic version of this, supporting themselves and their families by hunting game and gathering plants in the woods outside District 12. Katniss's resulting knowledge of wilderness survival and skill with a bow and arrow render her well-prepared to partake in the titular Games.
Live Action TV
- A couple of hunter/trapper archetypes (suitable for use as PCs) appear in Deadlands: The Great Weird North.
- Sid Meier's Colonization has the Fur Trapper colonist occupation, to produce fur for your colony on forest squares. "Game" bonus is applied to both furs and food production on the square.
- The parts of Age of Empires III that are set in North American locales tend to feature them as in-game characters. Notably, the Explorer unit of most European nations available in the game has very trapper-esque attire and equipment. There are several other playable and non-playable units that evoke this trope too.
- The American Conquest series also features them as playable units.
- Red Dead Redemption relies heavily on hunting and trapping throughout the game.
- Ultima VII Part II: Serpent's Isle gives us the Trapper, a frontiersman who hunts and traps the sentient Gwani for their pelts. Players may go in expecting a rehash of Ultima VII Part 1 and its subplot about the logger who doesn't realize he's destroying the homes of the sentient Emps and swears to leave them alone as soon as he finds out. Uh...nope.
- This is a possible side-business for a character with high Survival skill in Fallout: New Vegas — harvesting and tanning the skins of the rarer varieties of mutated Gecko is particularly profitable.
- William "Buffalo Bill" Cody was less on the trapping side, but quickly parlayed his fame as a hunter into a career in entertainment.