In Africa, sportsmen and hunters refer to the most dangerous animals as the "Big Five": cape buffalo, rhinos, elephants, leopards, and lions. There is some disagreement as to where each animal ranks, but its the predators that generally top the list - with rogues considered the nastiest of them all.
Rogues work alone. Cut off from their tribe, rogues forget fear. They forget survival instincts. They forget their code. A predator that forgets its code, strays from its natural path, is a danger to every other creature, even those of its own kind.
(Taken from Predator: Race War #0)
Predation and Procreation
Predation: the natural cycle requiring death to sustain life. Each creature hunts or is hunted, each is driven to kill or survive.
Procreation: the preeminent drive is to survive. Each creature strives to pass on its genes, to preserve the species. They'll live on in future generations, or they'll pass silently into the night -- leaving no sign that they ever had been.
Life consists of these two things for the Yautja, hunting and breeding. The Hunt is sacred, the cornerstone of their race. In fact, the methods of Hunting and combat are known as the Path, and it has very specific rules to be followed.
This code appears similar to human warrior’s codes such as Bushido and chivalry in that it promoted bravery, martial skill, and loyalty to the pack.
Very similar to a pack mentality, the strongest and most efficient member of the group is the leader. This alpha male controls the actions of the group.
The Leader is always first to set foot on the Hunting grounds. Also, part of being a leader was not to seem excited by the prospect of a training Hunt, or at least show that excitement to others.
A good leader has many students still Hunting. The measure of a teacher was the life span of those he taught; the longer they lived, the better the teacher.
Only on the leader's command can the Yautja, after a training hunt, get their awu'asa. They run into the piles of equipment. There is always enough to suit them all, but they fight for the better trappings; the stronger male would get the prime supplies. That was always the way.
No one would start a fight without the Leader to witness it. Neither would they hunt without a leader's supervision.
When the Leader enters a room, all heads bow. It is a sign of respect and submission
Chalenging a Leader in anger is certain death, although a leader does not have to kill one of his own to prove anything.
When a pack challenges one's assumption to the role of Leader, the kiande amedha chiva (Hard Meat trial) would prove his worth.
There is only so much slack a Leader could give one who has broken the rules of the hunt, though, before the rope must be pulled taut. Then, the Yautja has to be destroyed. It is the law; a matter of honor.
A Leader should not make excuses; in hunting, they didn't matter - you died or you didn't.
A leader should handicap himself on a hunt by only using a spear or ki'cti-pa (wrist blades). Females smiled upon a brave male more often than they did others, and a Yautja did what a Yautja had to do to bolster his line. When the Final Hunt takes place, one should leave behind a legion of younglings.
Warriors and the Hunt
The first step in becoming a warrior was the agony of the pleating of their locks of tough, wire-like hair - a process that took months of ritual and scalp pain, performed in public sessions. If there was any sign of tears or even the tiniest voicing of pain, then the intricate weavings would be undone, and the candidate had to start from the beginning.
A true warrior never speak of their own battles. They allow others to tell the tale, holding a serious mandible at the embellishments they add in the singing of it.
The wedge of the older, glory-hogging go first in a hunt. All were equal in honor, all were esteemed. However, the Yautja are much like Earthly predator packs. The members jostled for dominance, and the older, smarter, and more experienced members are generally either given deference or simply plowed past the more awkward young members.
Even the brave must know when to run away from danger. Stupid men are not brave, they are simply dead. (Predator: Big Game TPB)
The older the Yautja, the less likely it is to use firearms. Any Yautja can shoot something to death, but it takes a real warrior to kill with knives and bare hands. For the same reason, not all Yautja use their stealth suits. The truly brave (stupid?) Hunt the Xenomorphs with only their bladed gauntlet.
The very last man had the least honorable position in battle, albeit a necessary one.
Good warriors stayed open to new information.
Beings of other races who prove worthy on a Hunt may well be accepted into the Yautja society. Such adopted beings are Blooded like a normal warrior. Of course, many Yautja, especially the young, resent the fact that a non-Yautja runs with them.
Insult no other hunter unless you are prepared to back your words with actions. If you are not, submit immediately.
Too long in one place creates stale kv'var (exercises). It blunted the warrior's soul, and made the Path rocky and illusory.
Greek historian Xenophon argued that hunting is an asset to society, in that it promotes the well-being and health of the hunter.
Human hunters of larger game (like deer) employ four techniques:
- Still-hunting, used when game is known to be in the area but no specific animal is in sight, involves following tracks and looking for signs such as antler-shredded trees or urination areas. The hunter moves quietly, on the alert to shoot should the quarry be sighted.
- When stand hunting, the hunter takes position along a game trail and waits for the quarry to go by.
- Stalking is done when a game animal is sighted but is out of range. In this case, the hunter tries to move into rifle range while remaining hidden and downwind of the quarry.
- In driving, or beating, a group of hunters moves through an area deliberately making noise and trying to frighten game animals in the direction of other hunters.
"I wondered what it would be like to hunt something that was capable of hunting me: the challenge, the danger. To put yourself on an equal footing with nature.."
(Aliens vs Predator #0)
During the hunt, Yautja employ a silent system of hand gestures to communicate with each other. This "sign language" is very simple and only capable of relating simple messages or ideas.
The hunter must be sure that his prey is considered game, and lawful to kill. It is dishonorable to Hunt something that is not a threat; those who have done no harm should have no harm done to them.
Never kill a non-fully grown member of an intelligent species, they are harmless. Penalty is combat to the death.
On a hunt, it is criminal to leave even a single prey behind.
When hunting for food, take only the weak. This is to purify the species' line.
The Yautja will generally ignore unarmed Oomans, especially women. If a person is skilled enough to be dangerous without weapons, the Yautja will be more than happy to fight. Of course, they consider a Kiande Amedha dangerous anytime.
It is considered a great honor by the Yautja to participate in the hunts, which obtain the Kiande Amedha queen from which they obtain their supply of eggs. To obtain a live queen, the Yautja hunting party must venture into an Kiande Amedha crèche, succeed in defeating all the queen's warrior drones, and then subdue the queen herself. Many of these parties never return.
When working discreetly, the Yautja tend to take their trophies and dispose of the bodies cleanly.
When a hunt needs strategy and tactics, strength did not make up for stupidity.
"Classic predator move - stake out the trail and wait for the prey to run straight into your arms." (Predator: Captive)
Move well or die; this is the main lesson of the hunt. There is no room for error.
Yautja will make good Hunting by stocking an area. They will capture a Xenomorph Queen (no easy feat) and harvest the eggs. These eggs are then scattered in an area with suitable hosts. After a few days, the Yautja will come in and Hunt the bugs. With the bugs' known penchant for survival, this results in the inevitable spread of aliens around the galaxy.
Fight until death or victory. If you are given mercy, accept it, you dishonor a greater warrior than yourself if you do not.
Those who defeat Yautja in a fair hunt and show mercy are to be considered equals. The Yautja must either kill himself and their prey (preferring to die than to live in shame), or treat the prey as an equal. To kill another Yautja intentionally, however, is the worst crime. This excludes self-defense and killing a foe in a wrestling match to settle a dispute.
However, some cowards prefer to live in obscurity rather than die. This is considered to be dishonorable and suicide is then "assisted" by an Arbitrator. It is far better to be brave and die than be cowardly and survive by hiding from the enemy.
Trophies and Trophy-taking
"Incapable of rage or fear or pity, unable to understand that what [the Yautja] had done to the dead was a vile dishonor.."
When coming upon game wounded by another hunter, and the animal is dying without sport, show honor to another's kill. If the game still shows sport, it is to be a joint trophy.
Do not join another's hunt, or hunt in their territory, without their permission. All trophies taken by this manner are stolen trophies, and shall be dealt with by the rightful oner.
A Yautja's status and pride is measured by the power of the creatures it Hunts. The Yautja claim the skulls of their prey as trophies. Always take a trophy. There is nothing worth more. Such trophies are treated with great honor, and they are polished and displayed at home. The trophy skull of an Ooman is the centerpiece of any collection.
The highest insult in Yautja society is to be killed by another Yautja who then smashes your skull rather than claim it as a trophy. It is a way of saying you were not worthy. This is a tremendous dishonor to the family and Leader of the Yautja thus killed. On the converse, it is a great honor to have your skull displayed by your killer, as it shows they considered you a noble conquest.
"A warrior's place is in battle. A hunter's place is in the hunt. Take the hunter from the hunt and he loses his way." "In any hunt, the hunter and the prey are drawn together by forces beyond their understanding. It is the way of the world. Often, the time isn't yet right for the hunter to hunt. Or for the prey to die. That too is the way of things."
(Predator: Big Game TPB)
It is only acceptable to give a trophy to another if done as a sign of utmost respect, or to replace a ritual weapon.
During a hunt, the main prize is to be treated honorably, subordinates are nothing, eliminate them ruthlessly.