Hunting Grounds are a set of activities in Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds. There are six known hunting grounds. Five are are maintained by Keepers from the Hunters Lodge of Meridian. The sixth is located in the Banuk territory known as The Cut and has no connection with the Hunters Lodge. All hunting grounds offer trials at which hunters are able to test their skills.
At each of the Lodge hunting grounds, hunters are tested via trials on different hunting skills used against machines, such as tools (blast wires, etc.), elemental ammunition (fire arrows etc.), stamina, stealth, and leverage (use of one machine's weaponry against others). The Banuk hunting ground tests the skills of hunters who have completed the journey known as The Shaman's Path, and has a special trial reserved only for Banuk chieftains. Each hunting ground has three trials. Judging of a hunter's performance in a trial is done by the groundskeeper.
At the Lodge hunting grounds, a hunter’s performance is judged based on the hunter's ability to complete the trial in an allotted time. The hunter is awarded a mark called a sun, the rank of which depends on the time taken to complete the trial. Each trial has a certain time limit for each sun rank; the shorter the time limit, the higher the rank. The ranks are as follows:
- Blazing Sun - the highest rank
- Full Sun - the second highest rank
- Half Sun - the third highest rank
Failure to complete the trial in at least the time for which a half sun is awarded is considered a failure of the trial.
At the Banuk hunting ground, a hunter is awarded first place, second place or third place in a trial depending on the time he/she takes to complete successfully complete it. Failure to complete the trial in a time that earns at least third place is considered a failure of the trial.
At the Lodge grounds, if a hunter is awarded at least a half-sun from three hunting grounds, he/she is eligible to gain admittance to the Hunting Lodge in Meridian. If the hunter wins blazing suns at each of the five hunting grounds, he/she is awarded three specially upgraded Lodge hunting weapons at the Hunter's Lodge on presentation of the suns to Aidaba, the Lodge's weapons keeper. These weapons are the Lodge Ropecaster, the Lodge War Bow, and the Lodge Blast Sling. The Banuk hunting ground offers no such rewards.
Earning all three blazing suns at a Lodge hunting grounds earns the player a skill point. Furthermore, each blazing sun earns two reward boxes, one for each of the lesser marks. First place in all three trials at the Banuk hunting ground does not earn skill points, but does earn reward boxes in the same manner as the Lodge hunting grounds.
Known Hunting Grounds
- Nora Hunting Grounds
- Valleymeet Hunting Grounds
- Greatrun Hunting Grounds
- Spurflints Hunting Grounds
- Sun Furrows Hunting Grounds
- Snowchants Hunting Grounds (Banuk hunting grounds)
Each Lodge hunting ground is managed by a keeper selected by the Hunter's Lodge. The Banuk hunting ground is managed by Lauvuk, who was once a runner for an exclusively female werak.