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The Hunter

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Hunter 1
Health 250
Gender (infected) Male
Species Human infected
Abilities Able to leap long distances and off walls, can pin Survivors by leaping on them
Attacks Pouncing, clawing
Alternate names Hoodie, Jumper, Crazy Legs, Leaper, Punk-ass, Pouncing one, Hoodie dude, Sweatshirt-wearing wuss, Scrawny little bitch
"So that's a Hunter, huh? What's he gonna do, go for a jog at me?"
"Yeah, you better hide! Sweatshirt wearin' little wuss."

The Hunter is an agile Special Infected [1] whose mutation has granted him incredible strength and agility. His role in both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 is to kill or grievously injure individual Survivors who have become separated from their comrades.

The Hunter is voiced by Mike Patton.


Hunter animation

The hunter's crawling animation

The Hunter appears in a faded blue hooded sweatshirt and dark brown

The Hunter's face under his hood.

sweatpants. His hood is always pulled down and over his face which on close inspection reveals that the skin around his eyes has either been clawed off or has mortified as a result of the infection.

What remains of his eyes emit the white reflective glow displayed by Common Infected in the dark; although this effect may be light reflecting off the blood leaking from his eye sockets. The limbs of his outfit are battened down with duct tape, in a manner similar to Traceurs, practitioners of parkour, which is done to lessen wind resistance.

Hunters are primarily identified by their distinctive and intimidating growl or the screams and snarls they emit upon sighting a Survivor or whilst attacking. Hunters are the only Special Infected who do not make any noise while in a passive state.

Extent of Mutations

The Hunter is the least visibly mutated Special Infected and superficially resembles a Common Infected. It has yet to be explained how the Hunter's mutations onset, whether it be genetic, biochemical, or a Hunter-specific strain of the virus, but the mutations seem to be gender-linked as only male Hunters have been observed. The Hunter's reaction to the Infection has granted him an increase in lower-body strength.

While not creating massive muscle growth like the Tank, this added strength has given the Hunter the ability to repeatedly jump and pounce from long distances and rapidly scale the sides of buildings with ease as well as toughen its legs in order to withstand the great distances and heights it can achieve. Decreased pain response visible in all sufferers of the Infection also results in the Hunter not suffering from perpetual lactic acid build up from muscle overexertion or impact damage after experiencing a large fall.

At the same time, there seems to be some sort of muscle delay after an initial attack (post-attack recharge) where the Hunter is not able to move as swiftly. One of the most notable physical observations is that the Hunter lacks eyes. Whether this is self-inflicted, a by-product of the Infection, or both, is unknown.

The extent of damage to the Hunter's sight suggests his other senses are far more developed than those of typical Infected, allowing him to hunt with far greater efficiency. It is possible that the screeching noises he makes and the growling are his own echolocation method. He might also use scent to tell the Survivors apart from Infected. As with the other Special Infected, he is not distracted by such high-frequency noises as Pipe bombs or car alarms going off. Hunters also appear to be the only Infected with a self-defense reflex: when shot at a distance and knowing it cannot pounce, the Hunter will sometimes jump away into safety.

Left 4 Dead 2

Hunter 2

The Hunter's appearance in Left 4 Dead 2.

As with all the original Special Infected (excluding the Witch who kept her original model), the Hunter received a change of appearance in Left 4 Dead 2. Parts of his outfit have been ripped away, revealing his skin heavily disfigured by clusters of boils and scratches, similar to that of the Smoker. His left wrist remains wrapped in tape along with fragments of his sleeves, while his right hand is bare with a visible band of heavily bruised flesh where the duct tape would have been, possibly from muscle growth around the tightly wrapped tape.

He has lost his shoes, and his feet seem to be covered in a mixture of mud and blood. His hoodie now has a zipper, has a wider hood, and much more blood spattered upon it. His face is now entirely obscured in the shadow of his hood showing only the bottom half of his face. His fingernails have grown in length and thickness, giving his hands a closer resemblance to animal claws.

The Hunter's signifying scream of seeing a Survivor is different, higher in pitch than the previous version; however, both of his original screams are still featured in Left 4 Dead 2. His screams become louder and more high-pitched as he nears.

It seems likely that most of the differences in the Hunter's appearance in Left 4 Dead 2 were caused by the Hunter itself, clawing at its restrictive taping and clothes in an effort to remove them. However, the growth of his nails, his amplified scream, and the increase of deformation upon his skin does suggest that the Hunter has mutated further from his manifestation in Left 4 Dead.

A new graphical feature in Left 4 Dead 2's Hunter is that it can be covered in blood due to prolonged pouncing. As it continuously pounces one Survivor on the ground, its body can be covered in blood (see the image in the gallery below).


Hunterlunge 1

A Hunter pouncing toward the Survivors.

The Hunter has two attacks: a claw attack, which does 10 damage on Normal and 6 damage on Versus Mode, and a pouncing attack, which pins down a helpless Survivor while the Hunter claws at them dealing damage every 0.5 seconds. The Hunter will not stop until he has killed the Survivor, been killed itself, or shoved off by another Survivor or an explosion. The actual pounce itself will also cause damage if the Hunter manages to pounce upon the Survivor from a great enough distance. The maximum pounce damage that can be caused is 25, which makes it the most powerful individual attack in the game which can be caused by a playable non-Tank Infected.

When a player takes control of the Hunter in Versus mode, the Hunter's pounce ability is measured by meters from where the player crouches down. The time it takes for his jump to charge is 1 second.

Hunter bite

The Hunter biting Ellis.

  • The knock-back he causes upon Survivors in close proximity to those he has pounced is longer, although Survivors who are knocked back into walls or other obstacles recover faster.
  • The Hunter's roll, a very rare occurrence in Left 4 Dead, has been made more common. If the Hunter is shoved off his victim in the left hip, he may perform a back roll and be ready to pounce again in about a second. The Hunter can perform this move in any and all game modes. Rolls are performed in parkour to absorb shock and make the practitioner ready for a quick followup movement, the Hunter uses it to continue the attack.
  • The AI-controlled Hunter can leap out of danger's path. However, player-controlled Hunters can only do this on Single Player, with the help of a special plugin, or console modifications in the original Left 4 Dead.


Hunter dark

The Hunter, crouched and ready to pounce a Survivor.

Fast and agile, this Special Infected will growl and scream to inform you of his presence. The Hunter is often used as a distraction by both AI and human Infected. Solo players fare especially badly against Hunters since their attack is often much harder to avoid than the tongue of a Smoker or the bile of a Boomer.

Without timely intervention, Hunters kill very quickly. While Hunters are hurt by being on fire and will eventually die, any Survivor pounced on by a flaming Hunter will suffer much more damage from the attack (as of an update, only dynamic fire sources such as those created by the molotov and gas cans add to the damage bonus). Although in Left 4 Dead 2, a flaming Hunter will no longer do any extra damage. It is best to wait until a Survivor falls behind because they are wounded or just generally falling behind so you can pounce them and deal out maximum damage. Also, when you see a high building or wall, get on it and try to get high point pounces.


General strategy:

  • Always have at least one buddy close at hand, especially on Advanced and Expert difficulty, where Hunter can kill a lone survivor very quickly.
  • Listen for the distinctive growl the Hunter makes when crouched and ready to pounce. Once you hear the cues, remind the other Survivors of the Hunter's presence to keep everyone on their toes. This may sound useless, but it often prevents Survivors from taking unnecessary damage from Hunters.
    • Turning on the subtitles will also help. You will then be able to read the Hunter's growls. This is extremely useful during noisy situations such as the latter half of the Hard Rain campaign. Be wary, however, that if playing Versus, the Hunter is silent when standing up.
  • Remember that the Hunter won't usually pounce as soon as he sees a Survivor, be it an AI-controlled one or a player-controlled one. Even the AI waits and bides its time. The cry does show you it is nearby, though.
  • On Expert, the Hunter AI seems to be much smarter than the other difficulties and will often claw Survivors rather than pouncing on them. This does an extremely deadly amount of damage and should be avoided at all costs. Be careful as the Hunter will also sometimes try to blend into the horde and claw Survivors instead of pouncing.
  • Remember, a Hunter usually hides behind corners when he is ready to pounce on his victims.
    • Moreover, in areas where there is little light to distinguish him and common infected, he can stand up and be mistaken for a regular zombie until he is ready to pounce on a Survivor.
  • If you hear a Hunter nearby, listen after where the growls and snarls come from. AI Hunters always begin to create their growling sounds as soon as a player is "close" enough for them. If it gives off a loud scream, it has spotted someone and is able to pounce them.

Before pounce:

  • Be warned: when on Expert, even if you have full health, it only takes about 9 seconds to kill you.
    • Hunters deal 15 damage per 0.5 seconds on Expert, 60 while incapped every 0.5 seconds.
    • Hunters deal 10 damage per 0.5 seconds on Advanced, 40 while incapped every 0.5 seconds.
    • Hunters deal 5 damage per 0.5 seconds on Normal and Versus, 20 while incapped every 0.5 seconds.
    • Hunters deal 5 damage per 0.5 seconds on Easy, 20 while incapped every 0.5 seconds.
Left 4 dead hunter attack 01

Zoey being attacked by a Hunter.

  • If the Hunter is outside pounce range, open fire. Head-shots are particularly effective.
  • Otherwise, throw a melee attack just as the Hunter starts his pounce. This will knock him back, stunning him, and you can finish him off with three additional melee attacks or weapon fire (takes a total of four melee attacks to kill a Hunter).
  • If you manage to stop the Hunter mid-pounce (known as "dead stopping"), keep hitting him as this keeps him from doing anything. Definitely use this tactic when he is close to other Survivors to avoid friendly fire. Sometimes, when you dead stop an AI Hunter, he will still be able to claw you through the stun.
  • Learn the cry of a Hunter both before and during a pounce. Then zigzag run while he's pouncing. Change direction every time you hear the "pouncing" growl. This will allow you to avoid and possibly even outrun the Hunter without ever even seeing him. This, obviously, does not work in Versus against human players.
  • The Hunter is not to be underestimated. It's not the kind of Infected to give up easily. While running from one, it may continue pouncing and following you through the area, sometimes leading you into danger. Kill it immediately, especially if another Survivor has been pounced on.
  • If you round a corner and a Hunter is crouching within a few feet, run towards it and throw a melee at the same time. Not only does this catch the Hunter off guard but also make it stumble, allowing you to exploit the situation with either your current firearm or melee weapon. It is not recommended on Expert to follow up with more melee strikes, as all Special Infected have the ability to hit you even as they stagger or are stunned. Considering the Hunter does roughly 20 damage per swipe, it may be better to back up and shoot him.
  • A good way on higher difficulties is to let the Hunter use its ability on you. This needs a melee weapon to ensure it will not try to pounce again. First, let it attempt to pounce at you. Move back a bit, and shove the Hunter. Get your melee weapon out and whack the Hunter, or if using guns, shoot the Hunter before it will be able to pounce again. This works well on Advanced and Expert, as Hunters do a lot of damage on their pounce/claw attack. The only problem with this is that it may be able to claw you for very high damage.

After a Hunter has pounced your fellow Survivor:

  • You will receive a visual notification that a fellow Survivor has been pounced on.
  • Shoot at the Hunter if you are far away and melee if you are close to him. Friendly fire does not hurt a player while they are pinned down (although once the Hunter is off, they are once again vulnerable).
  • If the Hunter is on another player at close range and you're surrounded by Common Infected, pull out a melee weapon and use it. This will thin out the Horde faster than any firearm and kill the Hunter with one hit if you make contact.
  • If the Hunter is out of pouncing range and there is no Survivor closer than you are, go ahead and shoot.
    • A headshot with a shotgun or a sniper-type rifle will kill a Hunter in one shot.
    • Don't let walls stop you. If the only way to save a fellow Survivor is to shoot through a wall or ceiling, do it. The sniping-type weapons are particularly effective at this, although even Pistols can punch through, although this takes multiple shots just to get through the wall.
    • It is highly recommended to kill the Hunter while it is on the Survivor. If you shove the Hunter off, it may perform a roll and pounce you or its former victim again. This is especially critical during Horde and Tank events, where you may become distracted after shoving the Hunter off, allowing it to cause further damage. The Hunter may also roll into a horde of Infected, making it extremely hard to target it before it pounces.
    • If you see an AI Hunter going for you and you are in a big space, you may sidestep and run around him in circles. The AI Hunter will then leap to your previous spots; just make sure you don't run in a straight line, run in circles.
  • When alone and dealing with a Hunter whose whereabouts are unknown, it's best to find an area with a choke point, and wait for him to enter said opening.


"The Hunter was designed to punish the Survivors that have wandered from the others rather than attacking the main pack. They serve as the "strong-arm" of the Infected, being very adept at finishing off Survivors. By coordinating with other Infected, the Hunter becomes a valuable ally, and a deadly foe."

In Left 4 Dead's Versus, you will spend more time as a Hunter than any other Infected. Coincidentally, the Hunter is also the hardest Special Infected to master, so the extra time spent pouncing pays off. In Left 4 Dead 2, you have more Special Infected to be assigned to, so it's less likely to get a Hunter in that game.

  • In Left 4 Dead 2, the Hunter recovers his special attack very quickly, so a good thing to do when near Survivors is to hold the crouch key and press the shoot button so you keep pouncing all the time. It helps sometimes when you're against players via LAN or online.
  • Try to disguise yourself as part of the horde. Then you can hit the Survivors with your melee attack, which is second only to the Tank and Charger's. They will think you are part of the horde and so will their teammates, not just focusing on you but the other Infected as well unless they either pay attention to the slashing noise from your Claws or the Player taking damage notices he's taking more damage than a Common Infected would normally deal.
  • Never attack the Survivor's group as a whole; always attack the "lone wolf" players who wander off from the others or those who are lagging behind.
  • The exception to the above strategy is during a Tank/horde/Boomer event/other means of distraction for the Survivors where it would be difficult for them to rescue your victim.
  • Camping is always a viable option, especially in dark areas where the Survivors have no idea what they are getting into. Remember that this takes some patience.
  • As the Horde attacks the Survivors, creep around behind them and jump for the back; you can usually take more time to aim that way when crouched and the other Survivors are often too busy fighting off the Common Infected to help immediately.
  • Preparation is key, master wall-jumps quickly, and enjoy catching the Survivors off guard even in areas with many corners.
  • Open areas are not the hunting ground, while alleyways are the perfect place to pounce (even if it is not a lonely Survivor, it will cause enough confusion in less experienced teams).
  • Go for high areas, like the top of buildings. In that way, you'll have the total overview of where Survivors are located and if they are together as a team. In that way, you can go for lone Survivors, that they'll become helpless and you'll enjoy the kill of it without you being interrupted.
  • Watch out for Survivors with Hunting/Sniper Rifles and Assault Rifles! While crouching, you'll probably be shot in the head, and most likely die from it. Even a perfect shot with a Magnum can kill you, so its best to find some area of cover before attacking.

General Strategy

  • Hunters have few hit points, so never attack a group of two or more Survivors on your own (unless they are distracted, such as by a horde of Common Infected). Lone wolves are the bread-and-butter of the Hunter; pounce them first. If you hold off on attacking players, they may become more spread out and placid, possibly enough to pounce and do more damage before their friends can assist. Sometimes a Survivor will run ahead of the group and trigger a Crescendo event or cause a Tank to spawn. Take advantage of this either to pounce on the loner or attempt to attack the remaining members left farther back as they attempt to rush up ahead. This rule also applies to players that take their time or get lost. Also keep an eye out for Survivors who backtrack to get a first-aid kit or another useful item back at either a weapon cache or the safe room. Teach them the hard lesson of why going solo is not a bright idea.
  • A Hunter's pounce in Versus mode will knock back nearby Survivors, thus breaking up their formation. This can also push Survivors off of ledges and leave them helpless. Utilize this!
  • If you need to escape quickly (e.g., after being knocked off a victim and you are lucky enough to have done a roll), the Hunter can "wall jump" by leaping at a wall. When they reach the wall, they must quickly turn around to face the other direction and leap again. Repeat this and you can leap as long as you can keep it up, or until you hit the skybox. This can also be useful when attacking, or getting to a place from which to attack.
    • In both games, a Hunter cannot wall pounce if he is on fire. This is most likely an attempt by Valve to encourage you to attack in what time you have left, as a burning Hunter does more damage per second than a regular Hunter, although this is not true in Left 4 Dead 2.
  • Hunters only make noise when crouched, and let out a shriek when making eye contact with a Survivor. So if you are near Survivors and don't want to be shot, stand up and stay well hidden and you will be silent. You also move faster when standing. Instead of pouncing, try to do a hit-and-run tactic. Simply run up to a Survivor's back, claw, and run away. This is especially effective when a Survivor is low on health. If a Survivor has gone down twice, a simple claw will kill him/her instantly. It's best to save pounces for when you are on high ledges to try and gain the extra pounce damage.
Left 4 dead hunter attack 02

Survivor's view after being pounced.

  • The Hunter bonus pounce damage is based on the distance between your launch point and the point where you hit the Survivor; therefore, launching straight up or down is not the most effective pounce. Instead, perch on the highest place you can get to, such as the top of a roof, a vent, water tower, or a fire escape. Be sure the Survivors cannot see you and then propel yourself up and forward at a 45-degree angle. You have some limited control in the air and can somewhat guide yourself to your target once airborne. Twenty-plus damage pounces are not as hard as they seem once you become better acquainted with the pounce mechanic. 25 extra damage is the maximum. This is a good way to "incapacitate on pounce" a Survivor instantly who has less health than the damage dealt, even before he begins his ripping attack. When performing this technique, try to start as far away from the Survivors as you can while still able to hit them, as upon hearing your scream, many Survivors will immediately begin scanning the air for your coming.
  • Use the wall jump technique whenever you can. This tactic can be used properly for quick escapes and high-damage pounces, which are plentiful on The Apartments in No Mercy and some spots in Dead Air. Here are a few videos to help with this: video to teach you the basics of wall jumping, then once you mastered the wall jump, you can perform several tricks to use against your Survivor foes.
  • Target Survivors outlined in red, indicating that their health is low. Instead of pouncing on a weak Survivor, try clawing them. Once they're down, pounce on another Survivor to be even more effective.
  • Most Hunters controlled by inexperienced players will pounce a Smoker's or Jockey's victim in an attempt to steal a kill. While this is typically frowned upon for good reason, it can sometimes be very beneficial. The Hunter can deal much more damage at a faster rate than a Smoker or Jockey. It also can allow them to escape and let their abilities recharge (especially for a Jockey, which has less of a recharge time if he does not incapacitate the Survivor), which can have very nasty results. If you attempt to do this, ask your team or tell them that this is what you're doing.
  • "Hiding" behind or standing in front of cars with alarms and Witches is as malicious as it is effective at tricking the other players to shoot both you and the hazard. They either will not notice the Witch or think they can pull off shooting you, but once they've fired one shot, the Witch will stand up and attack the Survivor who shot you, and you can pounce on the other which is shooting the Witch. Another tactic is to wait for the Witch to notice the Survivors. Scratch her and her rage will be at its peak, so the very moment they cross her path, they're dead.
  • As most average Survivor groups end up splitting into pairs; always try to team up with the other Hunter player to pin two Survivors at once. There will normally be distance between those pinned and the other Survivors, who may be distracted by something else, giving the Hunters a few more seconds to deal damage.
  • As long as you are crouching, you can pounce continuously, though you obviously need to make sure you are hitting a surface.
  • Continuously pouncing is a great way to distract the enemy team if you're waiting for your teammates to spawn. Simply pounce randomly and let them waste their time trying to shoot you. This works best in large areas where the Survivors are likely to miss.

A Hunter's point of view as he starts to leap through the air.

  • On levels with miniguns, you can quickly teach the Survivors why manning the minigun is a bad idea, especially if they are alone.
  • After getting knocked off your victim, immediately run for cover. If you're lucky, the Survivors will be distracted, and you'll get away in one piece, gaining another valuable opportunity for pouncing on them. However, if you feel death is imminent, attempt to scratch the Survivors and swipe off a few more precious chunks of their life.
  • Use the Survivors' attacks against them. If one of them throws a Molotov either your way or at a teammate, show them the error of their ways. Light yourself on fire and land on one of them. Though the damage dealt was reduced in the March 11 update, you still do more damage that a regular pounce. Note: This only works with fires the Survivors started, not static flames, like those in oil drums or in rubble of The Subway.

A Hunter's point of view in Versus mode.

  • When the Survivors have to climb a ladder, try to pounce the last one to go up or down. This will force the other Survivors either to jump down and possibly take damage, or climb back up/down. This will delay them for a few seconds, allowing your teammates to spawn and set up an attack.
  • Running after a Horde and clawing Survivors is a great way to take off tons of hit points, as it does 6 damage per hit.[2]
  • The Hunter, while pinning a Survivor, deals 5 damage every 0.6 seconds[3] and can kill a Survivor very fast with the assistance of only a handful of Common Infected.
  • The Charger and the Hunter make a deadly pair, with the Charger pounding the Survivor and the Hunter pouncing and clawing the Survivors and generally causing chaos. Working like this, a Charger and Hunter pair can quickly deal a lot of damage to the Survivors. If two Survivors remain, or a pair has split off from the other two, this technique works twice as well, with each of you taking a Survivor. They will be helpless to resist, and if your team is well-coordinated, you can incapacitate the other two Survivors, resulting in victory.
  • Hunters are the only Infected that look very similar to the Common Infected. This can make it harder to differentiate a Hunter from a Common Infected, especially at a distance. Unless you are facing a team of snipers, or the enemy team is exceptionally trigger-happy, you can easily slip past them undetected to set up an ambush position during a panic event, a Crescendo Event, or Boomer bile events.
  • If you use the Hunter's ability to wall jump, you can easily surprise Survivors from any angle (even directly in front of them). The frightening movement speed and the fact that the Hunter literally "appeared" in front of them, may often surprise a Survivor and leave them open for a few seconds before they can respond. This is especially effective if they are in a doorway or there is plenty of cover to pop up out of nowhere. Plus the screams of a Hunter jumping around can set the Survivors on edge.
  • Hunters also have their own distinct sound when clawing doors or furniture. Keep this in mind if you plan on busting down doors for your allies near the Survivors. They may take note of your presence and pack tightly enough that it will be hard for you to get a shot in.
  • If there are a lot of ledges around, such as the third part of No Mercy or the first part of Dead Center, you can take out several Survivors at once if you time your pounce right. If the Survivors are clumped together, just aim for the middle one and watch as the others stagger back and become incapacitated on the ledge. Even if you don't knock off all the Survivors, you can at least damage and slow them down long enough for your allies to form an effective counterattack later on.
  • Don't try to attack a Survivor with the other three Survivors right beside them. You will be killed in about two seconds if they aren't covered in bile or distracted. However, if you can pounce and deal 25 damage or more, it can really hurt the Survivor or even incapacitate him.

Working with teammates


Hunter about to pounce Zoey.

  • Go for Survivors covered in bile. The Hunter will pin them down and leave them helpless for the Horde. The Horde also serves as a meat shield in this case (don't count on them too much, however, as most weapon fire penetrates multiple targets if they are lined up). If three Survivors have been covered in bile, it is better to pounce the clean Survivor, as bile obscures vision and the Horde will prevent them from getting to you. The Boomer's victims are unable to see the aura surrounding their teammates while they're covered, so they won't be able to see the pounced victim until the initial blindness wears off. But if more than one person is covered in bile, go for the clean one. Inflict some damage to them while the others are blind.
  • Don't melee people who are being strangled by a Smoker, as your claws will damage (and may break) the tongue. Since an update on Left 4 Dead 2 clawing a Survivor being attacked by a Smoker will no longer break the Smoker's tongue.
  • Try not to steal any kills from Smokers (pouncing on a grabbed Survivor). Protect the Smoker by pouncing would-be rescuers. However, at the same time, you could sacrifice yourself by taking the Survivor, giving the Smoker a chance to flee to safety.
  • If your team has microphones, there is a spot where a Hunter and Smoker can instant kill on Dead Air. On Chapter One, when the Survivors exit the greenhouse, have a Smoker hide on the roof across the plank then have it snag one, pulling the victim over the edge. If the Hunter then pounces that Survivor, it will cause the Survivor to fall through the gap and die. Another way is to have the Smoker hide in the alley below the plank between the two buildings, and have them attempt to pull a Survivor as he/she crosses. Have a Hunter as backup if anyone attempts to rescue the constricted Survivor. If a Hunter manages to pounce the Survivor currently smoked over the long-fall gap, the Survivor will die upon contact with the ground. This is because there is no place for the Survivor to climb back up to his or her fellow teammates.
  • Most importantly, you are part of a team. Ask for backup from your fellow Infected. This will often allow you to do massive damage while the Survivors are preoccupied with your teammates. Even Survivors with full or almost full health will die extremely fast if the Infected team work together in focused attacks. In Left 4 Dead 2, you can pounce a Jockey's victim, buying the Jockey recharge time.
  • Tip: It is smart only to do the Smoker/Jockey "rescue" tricks if Survivors are right around the corner, seeing as the player will be angry once they realize you stole some of their "damage" points.
  • When the Jockey has grabbed a Survivor, pounce on the would-be rescuers just like a Hunter would do to a would-be rescuer of an entangled Survivor by a Smoker.

Good ambush spots

Generally, any high location such as the roof of a building, a fire escape, or a lamp post will do significant damage to a Survivor if pounced on. Here are some level-specific areas that will decide a Survivor's fate.

Left 4 Dead

No Mercy

  • On The Apartments, hide on the huge vents to the opposite side of where the helicopter exits, and once the Survivors exit the door at the end of the apartment building, pounce, and it will be worth 25 damage points.
  • On The Sewer, after passing the gas station and climbing up to the roof, go inside and wait behind the boxes in the next room. Pounce the last Survivor before he/she drops down the hole into the next room. The backtracking that the Survivors will have to do to save the victim will be at least 20-30 seconds, enough to easily incapacitate your victim. Though be warned, experienced players might be able to shoot you through the floor.
  • Pounce on the last Survivor before he/she enters the hole into the sewers.
  • Try pouncing on any Survivors coming up the ladder in front of the Hospital. If you aim it right, you can do one of two things: You could cause the Survivor to fall to the ground, further damaging them. Or you could block the hole, forcing the other Survivors to shoot at you from below.
  • In The Hospital, after the elevator, pouncing in on a close group could cause Survivors close to the edge to fall off or hang on for their life.
  • On the Rooftop Finale, when the Survivors reach the elevator shaft, near the big hole, go up on a small ladder you will find to go to another ladder, (which is more longer) beside the big hole, there is another small hole (very small) that you can climb up to hide in a place that is close to the elevator shafts, wait up there, wait for the last Survivor to go up the other ladder (which is longer), pounce on him and he will falls down back to the ground, which deals a lot more damage, wait for the opportunity to do that, like waiting for the last Survivor to go up that ladder, wait for him to go up nearly to the top so that you can deal more damage.
  • On The Sewer, it is possible to vertically wall-jump to the top of Mercy Hospital [4]. If a Survivor is pounced, it does 25 damage and if you missed, you will experience a vibration and shaking screen due to the height of the jump.

Death Toll

  • At the beginning of the first chapter, the top of the ledge to the right of the spawn point provides ample opportunity for 25-point pounces, and runs along a good portion of the map.
  • On the same chapter, pouncing from the overpass onto the Survivors below (or climbing the ladder) will cause some nice damage from the pounce alone, and if you get them when they're on the ladder, there's a very high chance for fall damage too.
  • In The Drains, by pouncing from the warehouse at the end of the level.
  • The watch tower at the beginning of The Church. The steeple is also a good spot for a high damage pounce; however, you're completely exposed to sniper fire. You can also use this in The Town .
  • During the finale, hang out on the roof with the Smoker. This provides you with tactical opportunities, such as when a Tank shows up and the Survivors are distracted. Also, if the Survivors camp in the water, you can pounce on them from the roof, getting good damage.

Dead Air

  • On The Greenhouse, get on top of the water tower to the left, an easy place for 20-25 damage pounces.
  • On The Crane, being on the top of the actual crane.
  • In The Terminal, above the baggage claim area (with the van) there's a ledge that runs around the whole lobby, which gives you a nice vantage point for 10-plus damage pounces.
  • On The Finale, teamwork is a key for this one. If the Survivors are holding near the minigun have a Boomer come from behind and puke on them, then a Smoker should pull a Survivor into the fire. Then as the Hunter pounce the Survivor that is in the fire, with the fire damage bonus to the Hunter, the Survivor will die quickly.
  • On the finale, there is a lamp leaning behind the plane. You cannot run up it; however you can pounce your way to the top which is just high enough to do a good amount of damage. However like the steeple, you are completely noticeable up here so don't hang out here too much or you'll be dead before you get the chance to attack.

Blood Harvest

  • On The Woods, pouncing from the rock formation near the beginning or the tops of any trees.
  • On The Tunnel, pounce on any lone Survivors that might have stayed in the rooms above the scaffolds. It will take Survivors a while to get to you and free their comrade.
  • Pouncing from the top of The Bridge.
  • On the Farmhouse Finale, pounce the last Survivor before they go into the cornfield.
  • Also on the Farmhouse Finale, you can wall jump up the grain silos near the Farmhouse. To perform the vertical jump, get your back to a "pipe" leading up to the top of the silo and aim your reticule for the top of the opposite pipe. Make sure you are on the side that is closest to the shack. If you get up to the top and have the Hunter mechanics down, you can get an easy 25 damage pounce. Beware of Survivors with sniper rifles though. They'll snipe you off your spot and you'll have to set up again, but by that time the Survivors will most likely be in the Farmhouse.

Left 4 Dead 2

Dead Center

  • In The Hotel, when the Survivors are out on the ledge, the knock-back from your pounce can knock teammates off the edge.
  • On The Streets, go on top of Whitaker's gun shop and go for a high damage pounce.
  • In The Mall, go up an escalator to a floor above the Survivors and pounce on a Survivor on the floor below you.
  • During the Atrium Finale, pounce a Survivor pouring gas into the car from the top floor; if done right you can get a 25 damage pounce.

Dark Carnival

  • At The Highway, pounce from the tops of the road bridges on the way down from the traffic jam. Pouncing down on a Survivor from the top of the hill (about 75% of the chapter) to the bottom can also do quite a bit of pounce damage
  • On The Coaster, a lone wolf will sometimes try and be a hero at the Crescendo Event. Teach him/her a lesson about why this is not a good idea, especially in Versus. There is also a point on The Coaster to where you can get a 25 dmg pounce, from jumping off the roof above the event's starting point down to the ground area of the coaster track.
  • At The Barns, by being on top of the actual barns.
  • In the Concert Finale, if someone tries to make a run into the stands for supplies, jump them.
  • In the Concert Finale, pounce from the top of the plywood tower on the right at Survivors on the stage. This will do 15-20 damage.
  • At the same finale, pouncing from the top of the concert itself is a near-certain 20-plus damage pounce

Swamp Fever

  • At the Plank Country, practice your damage pounces from rooftops.
  • Supplies spawn often in Plank Country. If someone goes off by themselves in search of them, get the drop on 'em!
  • Also in Plank Country, wall jump vertically on a tree near the engine the survivors will have to start. Once its started pounce the nearest survivor during the fight and it will be a good 25 damage pounce depending on his distance from you. Just remember no to crouch while they haven't started it or else they will notice you!
  • In The Swamp, at the Crescendo Event some players are so preoccupied with the swarm of zombies running at them they forget to watch their backs.
  • The Crescendo event at the crashed plane also yields some high damage pounce areas; for instance, if you pounce up to one of the trees, you can get quite a pounce on a Survivor! But be warned, you are quite visible up here, so either make it quick or hope the Survivors don't look up.
  • Likewise, some people will have a rear guard to watch their backs. If they're alone, pounce them. By the time they realize you're on them, it may be too late.
  • At the beginning of the level the water is very deep, pouncing a Survivor in that water will leave only your head visible. That spot is mostly effective in Realism Versus.
  • When you're in The Shantytown, as with Plank County, people can leave the pack to look for items. If you can find a Survivor who's taking a moment alone in a shed to grab that health kit, take advantage of it!
  • When at The Plantation, as always when people make ammo/health runs, get them! Also Pouncing a Survivor from the roof of the Plantation House will do some good pounce damage when they go to start the Rescue.
  • Since there are quite a few tall trees in Swamp Fever, and it is possible to wall jump up onto a tree top for a good 20-25 damage pounce.

Hard Rain

  • In the The Milltown, if you can get a Survivor pinned behind the Burger Tank, a rescuer coming to kill you can be an easy target for a Charger for a one-hit kill.
  • There are houses all over this map - use this for some high-damage pounces, especially when the Survivors are forced to walk between two-story ones.
  • In the Sugar Mill, the broken-down buildings offer some high vantage points. There are also catwalks and vats lining the Survivors' path which serve as excellent launch points, as well as the 3-story mill itself.
  • On the Sugar Mill, if the enemy team is camping in the safehouse fooling around, it can give you enough time to wall jump all the way up to the top of the big Silo. It will give you a good 20-25 damage pounce. Once they come out, teach them a lesson why it isn't good to let the Infected prepare themselves!
  • There are pipes lining the very top of some walls leading up to the Sugar Mill. These look like they're only there to add realism to the game, but it is possible to leap up and land on them. These are at least twice as high as the vats and catwalks, making higher point pounces easier.
  • Pouncing Survivors in the cane field should only be done as if there aren't any sugar canes to begin with (except in Realism Versus). The Survivors might not be able to see well, but your aura upon pouncing someone is more than enough for them to snipe you with just an assault rifle. Instead, wait for a Boomer shower, because this disables their ability to see aura, which makes you effectively invisible within the sugar cane. If there is no Boomer, then pounce from the top of the Sugar Mill, for this is one of the best places to achieve 25-point pounces. Extremely high vantage point, limited Survivor vision (so they can't snipe you) and they start running from directly beneath your vantage point.
  • Survivors with auto-shotguns are often very cocky and overconfident. They fear no Witches. Pounce them near Witches and show either them or their would-be rescuers that it's never a good idea to tangle with a Witch.
  • On The Sugar Mill, by the trailer with weapons there is a small building with 2 really tall Silos. You can wall jump them and pounce on the Survivors which is an instant 25 damage pounce.
  • Obviously, all these ambush spots are just as good on the Survivors' return trip, especially when its storming and there's a lone wolf outside.

The Parish

  • In The Park level of The Parish, you can hide in the bushes. Wait until a Survivor is separated from the rest of the group while you stand in the bushes, hidden, and then pounce on them. You can deal a lot of damage before the other Survivors can save the player, and if you get someone who is low on health, you may even be able to kill them, or at the very least put them on their last down. This tactic works extremely well if the Boomer and the Hunter work in unison, with the Boomer vomiting on the pounced Survivor, effectively creating a shield of Common Infected.
  • On the same level, pouncing from the tower with the alarm is a nice spot for 10-plus damage pounces.
  • At the finale, pouncing from the second level of the bridge is a nice way to surprise the Survivors.
  • At the finale, hiding in the helicopter is useful especially when there is only one survivor alive, or when he tries to give support fire from the helicopter.


See Main Article: Achievements

L4d hunter punter HUNTER PUNTER (10G)
Shove a Hunter off of a pinned and helpless Survivor.

L4d dead stop DEAD STOP (10G)
Punch a Hunter as he is pouncing.

L4d jump shot JUMP SHOT (20G)
Headshot a Hunter while he's leaping.


L4d double jump DOUBLE JUMP (20G)
Pounce two different Survivors in one life as a Hunter.

L4d achievement cause x pounce damage JUMPIN' JACK SMASH (25G)
Pounce a Survivor for 25 points of damage in the Crash Course campaign.

Glitches and Oddities

  • When you are pounced by a Hunter, you are still able to pick up objects if you are close enough to them. For instance, if you are pounced near an ammo cache, you can pick up ammo or when near doors, you can even close or open them.
  • Sometimes when a Hunter pounces a Survivor, the bots will not help the victim (even if the Survivor is right next to them).
    • In some cases, the bots may go around the Hunter and the Survivor for a matter of seconds before helping their teammate.
    • If you are pounced in the saferoom with the door open after a horde, the Bots will look at the unclosed door until your health gets below 40/30. Then they will turn to face you, usually stare at you for 10 seconds, and attack the Hunter.
  • The Hunter, in Single-Player mode, can jump out of harm's way when being shot from a distance. This ability does not require him to crouch. In Versus mode, this ability is not normally available to player zombies. However, through manipulation of Console commands (Entering "mp_gamemode versus" then changing to the infected team and finally resetting mp_gamemode to "coop"), this ability becomes available in Single-player, defaulting to the "Fire" key while standing. The jump appears identical to the Hunter's pounce attack, with different sounds, and results in Survivors being pushed as if hit by a Survivor's melee attack. This becomes an effective tactic in areas of No Mercy in which falling from high places can incapacitate or even kill Survivors.
  • Sometimes after knocking a Hunter off a Survivor, he will glitch and simply glide across the floor while still acting as if he were attacking the Survivor.
  • A common glitch that can happen in Left 4 Dead is that when a Hunter has been killed after pouncing on a Survivor, you will still hear the sounds of the Hunter's attacks and you'll see blood spurting out from the Survivors even after they have recovered for a few seconds. This is likely because the game still thinks that the Survivors are being attacked by the Hunter.
  • Hunters can be killed instantly when hit by the secondary attack of other Infected players when they are in mid-pounce, or if they were hit right as they land on a Survivor. This is shared with the Jockey.
  • Shoving the Hunter exactly when he lands on his victim may result in a "You saved (teammate)" message, but the Hunter will still be on your teammate. Another shove will save them, resulting in two "You saved (teammate)" messages.
  • In very rare occasions, the A.I. Hunter will use his evasive jump to attack the Survivors rather than to pounce them.
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, if you simply walked off of a high building and directly onto a Survivor, you would start attacking them, but no tearing noises could be heard, and it would be a 25 damage pounce.
    • This was fixed in the Passing patch.
  • Sometimes when you are pounced by a Hunter from behind, it would result in the Hunter facing, and subsequent clawing the Survivor's lower body.
  • If you face the ground while in front of a door and pounce several times, you may teleport to the other side of the door.
    • However, this was fixed in the Passing patch.
  • In Left 4 Dead, if a Survivor is pounced on and the Hunter is killed immediately after, you would still hear the tearing and shredding noises along with the blood spilling out where the Hunter had pounced their target. But, it disappears soon after once the animation is complete.

Behind the Scenes

The Hunter has an unused animation of it hanging upside-down. It is unknown how this was supposed to be done in-game, as no pre-release footage shows the Hunter doing this. But a probability was that you were to leap off it and start attacking the survivors'. Or you went up there when you went idle and the A.I. took control and would climb a ceiling to stay hidden until you came back to the game.

Originally, when a Hunter pounced a Survivor, there would be no special visual indicators (such as the red light around the Survivor).

The Hunter's ability was originally to become invisible. It did this when backed up against a wall, then the pounce ability could be used. For some reason, it was cut to just leaping, possibly due to that Left 4 Dead tries to keep a realistic theme, and an invisible Infected may have simply been too far-fetched. It also could regenerate, but this was cut along with the invisibility.

During development, you used to be able to jump off Survivors after you pounced them by holding crouch then primary fire again. This was cut, although some modded servers turned it on.


  • Inspiration for the Hunter's design may have come from the Parkour culture, a physical discipline that allows its practitioners to move fluidly and effortlessly through an environment, often overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles. Some traceurs are seen with the sleeves and hems of clothing taped down to prevent air resistance. Also, during Versus, if controlled by a player, it can perform Parkour from a building's wall to another. (An example is in the Dead Air campaign, Construction Site.)
    • This makes the Hunter the only Special Infected that wears clothing not entirely common to be seen in day-to-day society. However, it is also one of the few Special Infected that mutated into something relevant to its background.
  • Though his hood always hides his face, the Hunter's face is still visible when looked at from the right angle, and it is revealed that he has empty eye sockets, and the exposed flesh and what’s left of the skin around it can be seen. This indicates that his other senses may have hyper-developed, especially his sense of hearing and smelling (possibly into a form of echolocation, which may explain why the Hunter screams all the time), as Versus demonstrates that the Hunter has some ability to see, although this may be to balance out gameplay, considering it would be very difficult to play Versus with your ears alone.
    • Also, people think that echolocation "draws" a picture in your mind of what's around you. If that is true, that is why the hunters can see in Versus.
  • The Hunter lets out a pained scream when he falls from a very high place.
  • Two of the Hunter's death sounds are very slightly modified standard headcrab zombie death sounds. The Hunter's screams are also re-used and modified sounds from the beta version of the Stalkers from Half-Life 2. [5]
  • The Hunter is the only Special Infected that does not have a node that spawns him in the commentary mode.
  • Occasionally, when a Hunter is around, Francis might say "I smell a Hunter". This could just be an insult, but it could also hint that Infected have distinctive odors, as they also do the same with other Special Infected. Due to the amount of blood on its sweatshirt, it may smell like a mixture of blood, dirt, and sweat, or something similar. This is further supported by one of his lines; "Witch," then, you can hear an audible sniffing noise before Francis says "and, she's close."
  • The grunts a Hunter makes while clawing are entitled zombiedog_attack(number).
  • In the early days of Left 4 Dead Versus, if a Hunter pounced you while he was on fire, it did extra damage. This has since been patched for both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. It also took effect in Single Player if the AI-controlled Hunter was on fire. This can still occur if the Survivors have lit the fire, although the extra damage was reduced. The Hunter setting itself on fire with stagnant fire sources like a fire barrel will not result in a damage increase.
  • According to a poster in Left 4 Dead 2, the Hunter is the most common Special Infected.
  • The Hunter is also the the most favored of the Special Infected (according to the Blog Post on Friday May 28th 2010), winning with 20% of the votes and closely followed by the Charger at 17%.
  • The Hunter is the only Special Infected whose ability recharges instantly after an unsuccessful pounce or shove-off (In single-player, missed Smoker attempts need a while to recharge before attacking again) can target incapacitated players on the floor (not including the Tank's primary ability to punch Survivors), and doesn't move its victim (Chargers pick up and carry their target, Smokers drag their target to them, and Jockeys steer their target about the environment)
  • On occasions, when a hunter is about to pounce and is killed, blood that comes from the hunter will leap in the direction the hunter would have jumped.
  • Most of the time, an AI hunter can deal pounce damage to survivors. It is confirmed that a hunter deals 1-10 pounce damage on flat surfaces. Up to 15 can be dealt when the Hunter pounces downhill.
  • Hunter is the only Special Infected that can be completely silent, as he does not make any noise when standing up.
  • Extremely rare, Survivor Bots are able to kill a Hunter while it is using the Pounce attack.
  • In The Sacrifice comic, a Hunter is seen tearing a soldier, but it's eyes can be seen as a pale white with very small pupils.
  • In Team Fortress 2, another Valve game, the cosmetic set "Rooftop Rebel" is based off The Hunter from Left 4 Dead 2.


See image archive for more images...

See Also


  1. Infected:
The Infected
Introduced in Left 4 Dead Introduced in Left 4 Dead 2
Boomer nav Hunter nav Smoker nav Tank nav Charger nav Jockey nav Spitter nav
The Boomer The Hunter The Smoker The Tank The Charger The Jockey The Spitter
Introduced in Left 4 Dead Introduced in Left 4 Dead 2 Cut Infected
Witch nav Common nav Uncommon Infected nav 70px-Screamer nav
The Witch Common Infected Uncommon Infected The Screamer

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