In the Hunters' culture, it was a socially acceptable way of life to chase and kill another sentient species known as the Tosk. In the past, the Hunters had developed genetic engineering to make the Tosk worthy prey – a prey they came to respect and even admire.
In 2369, a group of Hunters arrived in the Alpha Quadrant via the Bajoran wormhole in pursuit of a Tosk. Their ship was small, but its technology was totally unknown to the Federation. Its weapon was capable of bombarding a target with an unusual type of radiation, which, when fired on Deep Space 9, was effective in reversing the polarity of the shield frequencies, allowing the Hunters to transport onto the station and attempt to locate the Tosk. They decreed that the Bajoran wormhole would be off-limits for future hunts, but the Tosk they were hunting escaped with the aid of Miles O'Brien to continue the hunt. (DS9: "Captive Pursuit")
Armed with energy crossbows powerful enough to blast through the door to the brig in one shot on the space station Deep Space 9, the Hunters were formidable opponents in a fire-fight. They dressed in a type of protective suit that shielded them from the full effects of stun settings on phasers. In addition, they wore deflector shields on their left arms and specialized helmets, which were able to locate an invisible Tosk.
- See: Unnamed Hunters
Background information Edit
This species was not given a formal designation or descriptor, but rather were simply described as such by Tosk when he stated "I live to outwit the hunters...", and later by O'Brien when he said "these... hunters". In every case the term was written in the script in lower case, indicating the occupation, and not a formal name. The lead hunter was identified in the script as "The Hunter", and at one point, one of his cohorts as "one of the hunters".
Their homeworld's name was never mentioned, or even their species. We only know what they are called from what Tosk tells Miles O'Brien. Michael Westmore talked about the creation of the make-up for the Hunters in the DS9 Season 1 DVD special feature "Michael Westmore's Aliens: Season One".
According to a pre-production sketch of an original design for the Hunters in The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (p. 35) indicated that the species was called the Drai. Here it was explained that "This complex design for what would become the Hunters of "Captive Pursuit" was made more cost-effective simply by changing the description of the alien within the helmet to: 'a rather mundane humanoid face, not far off human'."
In the episode "Broken Link", a Hunter was supposed to appear – thus establishing that the Hunters are members of the Dominion – but this was dropped. The Hunter was to be the character taking the helm of the USS Defiant but it was changed to the Jem'Hadar character of Amat'igan.