Topic: Seal hunting tactics  (Read 1317 times)


« on: December 29, 2020, 04:12:08 PM »
Another post led me to think I should share some of my experience in hunting seals of the Unreal world [3.63].

  • Seals have a place on land/ice/skerry they favor, often returning to it. This changes from time to time. Bothering the seal may lead to this too.
  • Set heavy deadfall traps on favored spots. They do not respond to bait.
  • Shelters work as effective blinds. Stand and wait behind a row of shelters on a favored beach. A seal might just wander next to you.
  • Darkness works pretty much the same way. Stand and wait in an area you know has been recently visited by a seal.
  • They are pretty slow on land. Try running up to them or at least close enough to score a hit with a missile.
  • You can also try running along a beach/edge of ice favored by seals when visibility is very low.
  • Once wounded, above tactics become even easier.
  • Counter-intuitively, it is worth targeting the legs in melee just as with other animals too.
  • If a seal escapes bleeding, it may die out at sea. The carcass will not sink. Try to have a watercraft ready to scout.
  • Exploitish tactic: zoom out near a favored spot. Zoom in later and a seal might be very close.

Things than haven't worked for me:
  • Only shooting at them beyond escape range takes a lot of arrows, patience, hits and skill. I did this before, but above ways are more efficient. It might be worthwile to get first couple of hits this way, though. Target body or just maybe the head. Especially in summer when there is no darkness. EDIT: It's still very usable in the right situation: read about @Dr.Hossa's bay-herding tactic below.
  • Many know the iconic image of an inuk waiting by a breathing hole, harpoon in hand. I've tried this - and would love for it to work - but haven't yet had a seal dive up from a hole next to me. EDIT: Also this has been touched in our discussion.

Please tell the community about your experiences in hunting seals.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 07:00:47 AM by Buoidda »
Sewn with quill it is. X#X#X#  My craft mod 2.3.6 (released 12th of Jan 2021):

Dungeon Smash

« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2020, 04:06:58 AM »
I have successfully hunted seal, but it took much patience and just as much luck. 

It is true what you say - the seals will definitely "haunt" a certain area, usually a skerry. 

I have had success with deadfall traps, although it seems quite random, you would need to build a lot in order to meet with predictable success.  Your best bet is probably to load the materials into your boat, unload them onto the skerry, then build the trap there. 

I have also had limited success with "ambush tactics".  To succeed, you need a character with high stealth, speed, and accuracy with chosen weapon.  I found it useful to crouch in a natural low spot, like a little trench, or behind a rock.  The seals will sometimes come relatively far inland, to where they cannot easily escape back to sea.  Wear as little clothing as possible, and carry a spear (or other weapon) in both hands, then you have to wait for the seal to get to that point and get close to your position.  At the right moment, you spring out, sprint towards the seal, try to cut off its access to the water, and throw one or both spears.  One spear will almost never kill the seal - their blubber seems to be very thick, as they can take quite a lot of damage.  You may need to hit an individual seal with multiple spears before it even begins to slow down. 

However, once it has several harpoons sticking out of it, it will start to slow.  Wait for it to come ashore again, then rush it with a club (or blunt side of an axe, etc) and start beating it.  Aiming for the legs/flippers seems to be a good way to keep it from getting away, then once it's mostly immobilized you can attack the skull. 

Due to the damage to the hide from the spears, this usually results in a carcass that is "harmed" or worse.  But it can be done.  Also, the spears will commonly fall out in the water, or else the animal might die out there as well.  So you need a boat to collect your spears and the body.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2020, 04:11:40 AM by Dungeon Smash »


« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2020, 03:03:49 PM »

Since i also did quite some seal hunting recently, i cannot keep myself of putting in my own 5 cents...

I will also try to explain some of the seal's behavior i have observed so far.

First and most important point is: You have to commit to it. Doesnt matter which hunting tactic you use, dont assume the animal is gone when it's just under water. I am almost for sure that seals dont dive away under the player WHEN the have an area to escape UNDER WATER.
However, if it gets cornered, say at the beach of a bay, it WILL dive under the player

Knowing this, you can somehow "exploit" its behavior(i dont actually se it as a cheesy exploit, because i think of it as realistic).
Doing this is not really easy, but once you understood how it works it can be done with a good success rate. Basically as in normal hunting, and by no means with 100% success. But 30-50% should be doable, and well worth the effort.

To get in a situation, where the seal has small chances, you have to:
1.: find a seal
2.: find a small bay
3.:Get on a boat and "drive" the seal into the bay(unless you found the seal in the bay already, which is certainly the best scenario).

Try not to push too hard at first. A seal has some kind of learning behavior and will become more careful towards the player after attacking attempts. If you scare it too many times, it will start to dive under water even at the edge of the screen, making it almost impossible to catch.
The seals are curious beings and somehow quite intelligent. It will sometimes swim towards you, and if you dont back up, it will escape and dive

So, basically what you have to do, once you have it cornered in a bay, is try to get as near as possible without scaring it(Move only towards it when it has its back to you) and land a Spear or bow hit on it, when it is on land. I cannot provide any data wether bow or spear/javelin is better.
Bow seems to be better, because you can land effective shots from much farther away.

Now, after your first attack, you will probably not kill it.
No matter if it got hit or not, it will most certainly dive again.
It is very important to row your boat out of the bay now! If you dont, the seal will dive away under your character and be gone.
Drive away now, until you are at the entrance of the bay, then drive in carefully. Most of the time the seal will be on the shore in the bay again, licking his wounds.
Repeat the process, and keep your distance until you brought it down.

That strategy should leave the seal little hope of escape, and after some hours you can probably get it. I never target legs, since the probability of missing is that worse. Immobilizing can be a strategy, but for seals i chose fatal wounds, to get them unconcius or even dead.
A lame seal will just as well dive and be invisible. Leg hits will surely wear it down, But many of them will damage the fur more, in my opinion.
Most of the time it took me 2-3 hits on the torso to drop it, and the fur always was decent. Also, i kill every animal thats unconcious with blunt attack of the stone axe on the head.
However, it can sometimes be useful to hit the legs when the seal has some ground to cover before it reaches the water and you can then sprint up to it for a melee attack.

Keep in mind that this is neither proven the only nor the best strategy. There is still a Sh* load left to be learned about seal hunting.
I also see sneaking up to them in cover as an effective way to get close and land a critical shot, but it has the downside of the seal escaping into open water. You can of course design your attack the way that the seal will escape more into a bay, but it could swim out if you dont get on your punt quickly and "seal" the bay off. ;) 
You have to adapt to the situation, and try got get into the seal's head.
And you have to really, really digest that frustrating failing attempts...

Good luck in hunting and in the new year to all of you!
May 2021 not be so shitty. At least that stupid noises and explosions have been forbidden in our country. Ow, now i made myself some enemies :o ::) :P


« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2020, 07:06:28 PM »
I get it, it's kind of inverse version of herding an (invisible) elk to a corner on land. That's clever @Dr.Hossa. I'll be sure to add that to my repertoire.

Also, good, you pointed out something I neglected to specify: of course with missile weapons it's best to target the body (or the head, if you're feeling lucky).

I meant to target legs only while in melee, preferably with blunt weapons (not only to preserve hide, but to cause crush injuries in legs). They are terrible dodgers and they tend to fall down (roll on their back? cringe in agony? lift their head at you and make sealish war-cry?), giving you another go at pounding it's skull into a jelly*. I'll just quote @Dungeon Smash:

...Aiming for the legs/flippers seems to be a good way to keep it from getting away, then once it's mostly immobilized you can attack the skull...

My characters almost exclusively use blunt end of stone axe until they get a mace (EDIT: or a grainflail). The bigger spears do a lot of damage so at least one thrust should be ok without excessive damage to the hide. With a spear in melee I'd consider targeting vitals, not legs.

If you have a marooned character who doesn't have a raft and a paddle ready, mind that deep puncture wounds are more likely to cause serious bleeding which often leads to the critter dying offshore where you can't reach it. That's a reason to favor melee in certain circumstances.

The "baying(?)" method described by Dr. Hossa's sounds like a good way to keep the animal where you want it. If lacking/running out of missiles, I'm guessing it could still be used to herd the seal on a beach with more cover, even a premade row of shelters. What do you reckon, @Dr.Hossa?

Like doc said above, these are some tricks of the trade we have caught on the way. I don't think there are best methods, just different tactics. Choice of tactic depends on context (my and Matt Easton's favourite word). A blizzard-weathered ol' seal hunter will have tried them all (or maybe have some of them in the toolbox in the original wrapper, because the perfect opportunity never presented itself) Blah blah blah...

* Reference to another roguelike! I will give a crumpled parchment to first one that can tell.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2021, 04:54:28 PM by Buoidda »
Sewn with quill it is. X#X#X#  My craft mod 2.3.6 (released 12th of Jan 2021):


« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2020, 10:37:27 PM »
Yeah i guess that would be a viable tactic. But i did not often succede when trying to get them from the land side. Most of the time i managed to get close for one short ranged attack, then it was gone. I have to admit that i gave up quickly on that tactic, when i realized it is that much easier from a boat...
When i think about it, it could be a good opening since you can get much closer and chances are your first hit will be better. Circumstances have to be perfect though, so it cannot escape out of the bay.

I also have some ideas regarding hunting in winter on ice. One could make a hole near the land, then get the seal to get out of that hole somehow. Then trying to keep it there until the hole freezes, and voila there is the helpless victim.
But i dont know if they actually dive under ice.
Not sure but i think i vaguely remember one sticking his head out of one of my fishing holes...

When i got them in melee, i target the head. Even if you crush the legs, it might jump into the water if it is near.
Most of the time the blow connects, sending it in a world of stars.
But in case he has much ground to cover, say 6 or 7 tiles to the water, targeting legs would indeed be my choice, since it gave me more chances to hit.

just got an idea to mod a new item: A barbed javelin, with damage like a normal jav(5 or 6), but treated like an "Ango". But i dont know if that would make it stuck and cling to the animal better, in order to slow it down. I dont have experience with that weapon and dont know if it has a higher chance to do that. I also dont know if that would be immersive, but there is no reason a character shouldnt be able to carve some barbed hooks on the tip.


« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2020, 07:03:08 AM »
Yes if it's right next to water, I might go for the head too (but you still get another turn if it falls down). Further away, legs. But again, depends on context. There are no absolutes even though the small amount of words we have to restrain ourselves to use might seem so at times.  :P I have usually a poor skill in the stone axe I'm using, so I'm weighing that too. It's easier to hit the legs than a moving head.

The amount of injuries is also something to consider: if it's pretty injured already and might pass out even for a second from the next melee hit: consider targeting body since it is easiest to hit.

Such a good discussion!  :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 07:18:00 AM by Buoidda »
Sewn with quill it is. X#X#X#  My craft mod 2.3.6 (released 12th of Jan 2021):


« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2020, 10:37:16 AM »
You can easily kite a seal onto land or into a trap by just approaching half a screen away on a raft and then waiting, the animal won't dive but will move in the opposite direction. Then you can move closer until it reads the seal is alert then you wait again driving where you want.


« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2021, 05:51:19 PM »
yeah this works fine. But not if the seal had been scared too many times before. In that case it will approach you curiously, and then dive when becoming close(even if you dont even blink; i was literally sitting frozen in my boat), It is probably also turning into the opposite direction under water.
hard to tell... Gotta check it out more often. I have used to back up a bit when it swam towards me, to prevent scaring it. I dont know...