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Hunter Trapper

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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. He's also likely to have an impressive beard, possibly unkempt. 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, or Coureur des Bois (literally "Runner of the woods"), 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.

Subtrope of Classical Hunter. Contrast the Evil Poacher; compare and contrast the Roguish Poacher. Compare to Great White Hunter, who may well have the Hunter Trapper background.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Wild Rock, the clans rely on hunting and trapping for food. Emba is by far the best Hunter Trapper, making meat scarce for the forest clan, while Yuuen is terrible at it.

    Comic Books 
  • Dark Times: K'Kruhk is an expert archer and woodsman who uses his skills to hunt game for the group of Younglings under his care after Order 66 when they're living in seclusion. He also uses these skills to subject a group of outlaws to a Mook Horror Show.
  • Wolverine McAllister from the Journey comic book published by Aardvark-Vanaheim.
  • 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 villain Buck Wylde from the Zorro comic book published by Topps was one of these.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Bruce compares himself to the old Hunter Trappers while he's preparing to hunt Superman, reminding Alfred that the first Waynes in the United States made their money as this.
  • The hunters brought in to hunt the Beast in Brotherhood of the Wolf fit this mold.
  • The Grizzlies: Adam, Zach, and many other people on the reservation hunt food for themselves and their families.
  • 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.
  • As does the wolf-hunter whom the Bishop hires to kill Navarre in Ladyhawke.
  • In Let Him Go, Peter is a young man who hunts and traps animals for their fur and meat to survive, and acts as the Native Guide for the two protagonists.
  • In Mohawk, Oak and Joshua encounter a Québecois fur trapper in the woods as they make their way to the mission. The meeting does not go well, and they wind up stealing his canoe.
  • In Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt, Antonio is a hunter-trapper (although not above a bit of brigandry if the opportunity presents itself) who is obsessively hunting Romasanta because he believes Romasanta inflicted him with the curse of lycanthropy.
  • The bear guy from True Grit.
  • In Prey (2022), which takes place in 1917, Comanche native Naru comes across a group of French hunter trappers, most of whom are hostile toward her and her brother Taabe.

  • The Adventures of Teebo: King Ulgo lives alone in a cave and uses snares to trap lantern birds that he eats, trades, or uses as light sources. This angers the Ewoks, who see the birds as sacred and magical.
  • In the Gaunt's 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.
  • In Grent's Fall, Paul Knyvett, who reluctantly fights his foes with the same techniques he'd use for hunting.
  • The Hardy Boys:
    • "Carribou" Caron from The Viking Symbol Mystery is a Canadian trapper who stumbled across some viking artifacts out in the woods, was robbed of the money he got selling them to an anthropologist and teams up with the brothers to go after the thieves.
    • Both Peter (the brothers host and a friends uncle) and his rival Willy Ekus in The Alaskan Adventure.
  • 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.
  • Older Than Radio: Natty Bumppo, the hero from The Last of the Mohicans and other Leatherstocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper.
  • In Aleksis Kivi's Seven Brothers, this is how the brothers live during the most of their isolation years in Impivaara.
  • 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.

    Live Action TV 
  • Clarke Griffin from The 100, after separating herself from the rest of her people, relies on trading the animals she kills (including a wild panther) to keep herself alive.
  • Dead Man's Gun: In "the Trapper", a cruel trapper who owns the gun gets what's coming to him when the grandfather of a young Native American woman he raped resorts to the supernatural for payback.
  • Parodied in a sketch of The Kids in the Hall, where a pair of French Canadian trappers row a boat with wheels on dry land and kill businessmen for their expensive Armani suits.
  • Brothers Larry, Darryl, and Darryl in Newhart are backwoodsmen who are just as kooky as everyone else in town.
  • 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.
  • One of these tries to goad Lucas McCain into killing him in a showdown in The Rifleman episode "Day of the Hunter".
  • Thanks: Marcel and Phillipe are trappers who sell their pelts in Plymouth.
  • In the Wynonna Earp episode "When You Call My Name" the Monster of the Week is an undead Hunter Trapper.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A couple of hunter/trapper archetypes (suitable for use as PCs) appear in Deadlands: The Great Weird North.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Ratonhnhaké:ton/Connor from Assassin's Creed III can hunt and trap animals in the North American wilderness and then sell the meat, skin, bones and fat to several of the craftsmen that lives nearby his homestead to produce the goods he can then sell to finance his war against the Templars and their British allies during The American Revolution.
    • Shay Patrick Cormac from Assassin's Creed Rogue (the prequel to Assassin's Creed III) can do it as well, though it's less important in that game overall.
  • 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.
  • 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. Sunny Smiles specializes in this as part of defending the town of Goodsprings.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: Several characters, including Aloy and the other Nora Braves, are hunters trained in such practices. Of course, since the most valuable animals around are the machines, hunters are often the most technically-minded people around, learning how to cobble together various power generators and gas canisters to make primitive mechanical weapons. The Banuk tribe is noted to be a bit odd for separating the hunter and scrapper roles; hunters kill machines, but shamans are responsible for stripping their kills of useful parts and building new tools.
  • H'aanit, one of the protagonists of Octopath Traveler comes from a village of hunters and trappers. That said, she and her neighbors live by a code of only taking what they need from the forest, and men or animals who kill needlessly are her Berserk Button.
  • Red Dead Redemption relies heavily on hunting and trapping throughout the game.
  • Like its predecessor, Red Dead Redemption 2 will see Arthur relying heavily on hunting to bring in money and crafting ingredients. There's also an NPC called The Trapper, who buys skins and meat and, if you bring him the right materials, can make unique outfits for you.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • William "Buffalo Bill" Cody was less on the trapping side, but quickly parlayed his fame as a hunter into a career in entertainment.