In the Hunters' culture, it was socially acceptable way of life to chase and kill a sentient species, known as Tosk. In the past, the Hunters had developed genetic engineering to make the Tosk a 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. (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 also Hunters' starship
Like the designation "Tosk", it was not known whether the species name was "Hunter", or whether this was an indication of their job, or even their class or rank on their homeworld. However, a pre-production sketch of an original design for the Hunters in The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine indicated that the species was called the Drai. 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. Also, 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. (citation needed • edit) It was thus unknown whether or not the Hunters were part of the Dominion.