- "Tourist! He's got a fucking gun!"
- ―Hunters spotting Joel
Hunters are hostile survivors so named due to their tendency to brutally kill anyone entering their territory (referred to by hunters as "tourists") in order to steal their clothes, supplies, and food. Joel and Ellie encounter and battle a group of Hunters in Pittsburgh.
After the outbreak of cordyceps brain infection, the people of Pittsburgh gradually became impatient with FEDRA, accusing them of being corrupt liars when they ran short on rations or simply did not distribute food regularly. Eventually, after a protest was violently put down with at least three people executed and branded as traitors, the citizens rose up against the military and state of martial law. The surviving soldiers abandoned the city, the rioting citizens took complete control of the perimeter, demonstrating their animalistic brutality by killing any travelers passing through the area in order to steal their possessions. Because of this behavior, they became known to outsiders as hunters, and referred to outsiders as tourists.
Joel and Ellie encounter hunters when they drive into Pittsburgh in a Pick-up Truck. One pretends to be injured in an attempt to trick the pair into helping him, but Joel sees through this and simply drives through the group which begins to attack them. While fleeing the area, they crash after being rammed by a bus and are forced to escape and make their way through the city on foot. They head for a bridge leading out of the city and towards Wyoming, battling many hunters patrolling the city along the way. They also meet two other survivors, Henry and Sam, who were separated from their group passing through the city after being attacked and scattered by the hunters.
It is implied that most other Quarantine Zones ended up like Pittsburgh and became completely occupied by hunters. The hunters in Pittsburgh repeatedly mention that they are under the control of a leader, who is never seen or encountered by Joel or Ellie. It is also mentioned that they have had more than one leader over the course of time, suggesting that the previous leader or leaders died or got usurped by another hunter. More than once has the leader of the group attempted to expand the perimeter beyond the city limits, such attempts ending with multiple hunters getting killed, possibly by infected or other survivors.
The hunters in Pittsburgh possess a large arsenal of weaponry, including a modified military Humvee outfitted with the corpse of a tourist tied to the hood and, according to a note left by a military soldier, a stolen mortar launcher which is never seen being used in The Last of Us.
- The boss of the hunters is never revealed.
- No female hunters are encountered as enemies in-game, but their existence is implied by their presence in the Factions multiplayer mode as well as numerous bits of concept art. Also, in-game , two hunters debated whether or not they should have let a dead female tourist live and become part of their group instead of killing her.
- The Hunters have set up a high-security perimeter in Pittsburgh, as proved while Joel, Ellie, Sam and Henry attempt to sneak past a checkpoint with a spotlight.