Valheim hunting guide: Tips, tricks, and everything you need to know

Valheim (Image credit: Iron Gate Studio)

The mythological Norse world of Valheim is filled with many challenges and dangers, and to effectively overcome them, you'll need to stay well-fed and well-equipped. The berries you can find foraging are decent food at first, and basic tools and weapons will get you through the early game. But as you progress further, you'll find that you need to go hunting to procure important items like meat, leather scraps, and hide. Hunting can be difficult if you don't know how to approach the task, but fear not, young viking — we're here to assist. Here's everything you need to know about hunting effectively in Valheim.

Valheim hunting guide: Preparing for the hunt

Source: Iron Gate Studio (Image credit: Source: Iron Gate Studio)

Before you actually head out into the wilderness to hunt, you're going to want to stock up on important hunting gear as well as some other useful items.

  • It's important to have the right weapons at the ready when hunting. In your hotbar, I recommend having a spear, a knife, and a bow with a good amount of arrows.
  • You should also bring a shield with you, as it will be useful if you come across enemies or end up battling more aggressive prey.
  • Stock up on raspberries and/or blueberries before hunting. Staying fed is important, as if you hunt hungry your health will be reduced.
  • Depending on how long you plan on being away from your house, it may be worth bringing along a good amount of wood and stone and a building hammer for a basic campfire, tent, and bed to get you through nights safely.
  • If you plan to try and hunt at night, crafting a torch will help you see and stay warm while you're holding it.
  • Mark your home base on your map so you don't get lost trying to return home. Placing standing torches outside of your house so you can see it from afar easier is also a good idea.

Valheim hunting guide: Deer

Deer are the trickiest creature to hunt in Valheim, as they're very sensitive to movement and other sensory stimuli. If they detect you, they'll bolt and you'll have a significantly harder time taking them down.

  • Deer tend to congregate in open fields and within forests. Search for them here.
  • You need to be sneaking to get anywhere near deer without them seeing you.
  • Moving while crouched takes stamina, so don't move too much at once and deplete your stamina bar. Your character will then stand up, making it easy for deer to spot you.
  • Crouching in and moving between bushes and shrubs will improve how stealthy you are.
  • Deer can also detect you if they catch your scent on the wind. Make sure to check the wind direction (bottom-left cornerr of your mini-map) and make sure the wind isn't blowing your scent at the deer. If it is, change your approach angle.
  • If using a bow, make sure to aim slightly above the deer so that your arrow arcs into it. This also applies if you're throwing your spear at deer.
  • If using a spear or knife, slowly sneaking up behind the deer and then stabbing them will do the trick. The spear has better range, while the knife does higher damage with sneak crits.
  • Deer tend to travel together, and if you kill a deer that's close to the others, they will scatter. However, you can prevent this from happening by targeting deer that wander a bit from the group. This makes it easier to hunt the whole pack.
  • Spooked deer tend to come back to the area they were scared away from after a minute or two of fleeing. Instead of trying to chase a fleeing deer, reposition to a new spot and wait for them to calm down and return.
  • Deer that have stars over their name and health bar drop more meat and hide, so make killing them a priority if you see them.

Valheim hunting guide: Boar, neck, and wolves

While deer prefer to flee instead of fighting back, many other hostile creatures like boar, necks (little lizards), and wolves will attack you once they spot you. Therefore, you'll need to be more careful when hunting them.

  • Boar stick around fields and forests, while necks like marshy terrain, lake/river edges, and coastlines. Wolves are exclusive to the Mountain biome, which you can't visit until later in the game.
  • All of the same strategies used to approach deer work with these creatures as well.
  • It's generally a bad idea to try and attack aggressive prey while they're grouped up tightly, especially if there are more than four or five of them. You can quickly become overwhelmed and killed by the pack if you don't pick them off when they're alone or in smaller groups.
  • Sneaking up and using the knife's special attack allows you to leap forward and jam the knife downwards. Performed from stealth, this quick attack does huge crit damage and will easily kill your prey so that you don't have to risk a fight.
  • Spears are also a good option, as they have good damage, range, and can be thrown if necessary. If you accidentally anger the pack, using a spear with a shield is an excellent way to fight them head-on.
  • Bows are risky since the more dangerous animals aren't as large as deer, so if you want to use one, try and get as close as possible so you have a clearer shot.

Any questions?

Let me know if you have any other questions about the hunting process and I'll be happy to answer them. Also, if you're looking for details on Valheim's bosses, don't miss our boss guide on how to find, summon, and defeat every boss.

Valheim is available now in Early Access for $20 on Steam. I highly recommend playing it if you haven't gotten it already, as it's easily one of the best survival games for PC out there right now.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.