An enduring fan favorite of the CW, Supernatural has reached a milestone that few television series achieve, maintaining a dedicated fanbase while continuing to push forward with its monstrous mythology. Although Sam and Dean have made it to season fourteen, they cannot last forever. Much like the hunters before them, they will inevitability succumb to the harsh reality of their career, either ending their journey with an unfortunate early exit, or retiring before their bodies have been put through the wringer one too many times. Much like the generations of hunters who’ve existed before the Winchester siblings, Sam and Dean learned the ins and outs of the monster-slaying business through their emotionally distant father, whose consuming devotion to avenge the demise of his late wife kept him drawn towards the lifestyle. Since season one, the brotherly duo have traversed the lonely backroads of the United States in Dean’s ’67 Impala, cracking cases, and saving civilians from some seriously tragic outcomes.
Along the way, the hunter’s lifestyle has gotten even more complicated. Revelations about the existence of angels and multiple near world-ending disasters have kept the community on its toes, though the toughest hunters have persevered, refusing to lie down without a fight. Although many hunters seemingly live carelessly, enjoying the carefree pleasures of traveling from town to town and never putting down roots, there are certain rules by which many of them abide, and Sam and Dean are often depicted following such guidelines. So, count with us as we go over the 20 Wild Rules Hunters Must Follow.
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20 If You Can, Hunt In Groups
As a rule that’s preached across the business, this one comes as no surprise. As simplistic and obvious as it may seem, there have been numerous occasions in which a hunters tried to be overly courageous. Hunting alone isn’t merely idiotic, it’s downright thoughtless. No matter the circumstances, the unpredictability of a situation alone stands as reason enough for support. Try walking into a vampires nest or coven of witches as an army of one and you’ll immediately regret your lousy decision-making.
Sam and Dean Winchester may have the benefit of working alongside each other as experienced hunters, but even they have acknowledged the strength in numbers, picking up the heavenly powers of Castiel along the way. Other hunters may never be blessed with the powers of an angel, but any help should be greatly appreciated.
19 It Can Be Both
As an official tie-in to Supernatural, Bobby Singer scripted a guide to hunting, charting his various otherworldly encounters, including notes on every monster, demon, and ghost, along with how to properly defeat them. Passing down his knowledge to Sam and Dean, he included a few key rules to live by, one of which was to never assume that a single explanation is always the answer.
As far-fetched as it may seem, multiple monsters have been known to attack the same location simultaneously. As Bobby so expertly puts it, if an attack has the “telltale sign of a werewolf, but one of the [casualties] has a hole from a wraith spike on her forehead,” the most likely scenario suggests two perpetrators. Be wary of such situations while hunting and be prepared to tackle two creatures if necessary.
18 Have Reliable Transportation
A featured star on Supernatural, Dean Winchester’s 1967 Chevy Impala hardtop is a chromed-out road warrior with a roaring V8. Although Dean’s car has proven to be an essential instrument of its own, aiding the famous hunting siblings in their travels, the Impala only needs to excel in one category to pass the test: dependability.
Cruising the backstreets of the United States, Dean and Sam have stayed in seedy hotels across every part of the country with their reliable transportation serving them along the way. Their car is such an important star of the series that the crew has seven similarly-constructed vehicles on set of their Vancouver location, all oozing the same amount of charisma. The car doesn’t have to be as classy as Dean, but it has to get a hunter where he or she is going.
17 It Is What It Looks Like
A seemingly contradictory rule to Bobby Singer’s first rule of our list, this helpful hint reminds hunters of the philosophical principle of Occam’s razor, which suggests that the simplest explanations are, at often times, the best. As Bobby recalls, at one time, vampires were thought to be extinct, but a mess of casualties in Salt Lake City during a hunt pointed to vamps, suggesting that the monsters were responsible.
Using simple deductive reasoning and conventional wisdom courtesy of fellow hunter Rufus Turner, Bobby was able to vanquish the threat successfully. As simple-minded as the rule may seem, it’s mandatory to mark off the usual suspects before jumping to conclusions. Although it’s always best to approach a hunt with an open mind, many cases will appear open and shut from the very beginning, making the job a bit easier.
16 Always Burn A Hunter’s Body After Their Passing
In a similar tradition to the burial customs of the Viking Age, hunters’ bodies are usually burned in a funeral pyre after their passing. Although the funeral is a celebratory custom that places value on the high-stakes lifestyle of a hunter, with other well-renowned hunters often attending to pay respects, the tradition goes beyond merely admiring a life well spent.
As it’s well established in the Supernatural mythos, a lingering soul left bound to Earth may become a vengeful spirit if it dwells too long. Often, a person’s previous possessions will bind a spirit to Earth, although the vengeful ghost’s body may be the single connection left to the terrestrial plane. It’s therefore mandatory to burn the bodies of all hunters, along with some of their most valued possessions, so that they may live peacefully in the afterlife.
15 Don’t Hunt on an Empty Stomach
Despite all its far-fetched storylines, one thing has remained a constant throughout Supernatural: Dean’s love for food is so over the top, it rivals his brotherly bond with Sam. Whether he’s chowing down on bacon cheeseburgers or testing out pie at a highway diner in a dusty small town, there’s nothing he won’t shovel down his throat.
Although Dean’s gluttonous lifestyle isn’t recommended for anyone, it is necessary for a hunter to eat a balanced meal before starting a full day’s work. As unattractive as a full stomach of food may seem during a particularly enduring hunt, it’s an absolute necessity. With all the viscera and gory situations on the road, you’re bound to feel queasy, but a healthy breakfast will keep you thinking straight while ensuring that you are nourished for the long journeys ahead.
14 Be Prepared with an Alibi
In season seven, Sam and Dean become the subjects of a nationwide manhunt after Leviathans clone their likeness, using their faces to go on a crime spree. The nationally televised event lands them firmly on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, making them instantly recognizable fugitives without an alibi to save them from a serious prison sentence.
Although hunters often think multiple moves ahead, predicting which kind of unpleasant outcomes may await them down the road is impossible to predict. In Sam and Dean’s instance, a fiendish plan to villainize the hunting duo put their lives in jeopardy. The smart move would be to always have witnesses to corroborate your story, supporting your explanations, and confirming your whereabouts in case the worst should occur.
13 Do Your Research
As the Winchesters’ trustworthy research assistant during Supernatural‘s earlier seasons, Bobby Singer’s extensive knowledge on various paranormal activities aided the brothers in saving countless casualties from monstrosities across the U.S. Dusting off ancient texts and occasionally flipping through hunter journals, he always came through with the correct information to properly defeat an enemy, saving the siblings from imminent danger.
After Bobby’s passing, Sam took over the mantle as the Winchesters’ researcher, carrying around his trusty laptop and hitting the Internet to peruse various people’s helpful hints on all of the world’s dangerous creatures. As tedious as scouring the web for information may seem, it’s part of the baggage that comes with the hunting lifestyle. Not everyone will have a Bobby to rely upon for help, thus, it’s important to remember to do one’s research before taking on an enemy.
12 If Possible, Keep Everything Hidden from Civilians
As committed as the Winchesters are to one another, the brotherly hunters are guilty of holding onto potentially harmful pieces of information for too long. When Sam returned from Hell, he refused to admit that he was experiencing a psychological breakdown, which included an hallucination of Lucifer who constantly nagged at him. Similarly, Dean lied about the extent of the Mark of Cain’s influence over his mind and body.
While it may seem like the two can hide pieces of information, it’s almost certain that they’ve made the existence of supernatural entities known to almost everyone they’ve encountered. After an Apocalyptic wasteland ravaged the Earth time and again, it’s pretty much a certainty that everyone knows something is up. Still, if it’s possible, always keep such knowledge concealed. Once a civilian learns the truth about the world, that’s a reality they can’t unsee.
11 Know the Enemy Better Than They Know You
Preparation stretches beyond simply equipping one’s self with the proper tools for a hunt. A real hunter will go to extreme lengths to gain knowledge on a subject, including doing the necessary background research to understand the severity of a situation before heading in unaware.
As another one of Bobby Singer’s hunter rules, he states that knowing an enemy better than they know you is a critical part of hunting. In Topeka, Kansas, during a trip to the infamous Arthur Mansion, a potential poltergeist haunting turned intense when a mess of casualties were left behind. After further investigation, a mysterious creature was found to be the culprit, one which Bobby swore was a Minotaur, although he was never certain. Basically, it’s best to know the bad guy, otherwise, things could go from bad to worse quickly.
10 Never Hit the Same Town Twice
As hunters, not every adventurous outing leaves pleasant memories on those affected. After witnessing the outcome of a monster attack or some weird voodoo spell, it’s unlikely that a person will want to see the same hunter’s face reappearing any time soon, especially given the unfortunate circumstances that usually follow.
For Bobby Singer, this rule is yet another essential guideline to live by. During a succubus sighting in Lincoln, Nebraska, he and Rufus ran into some unforeseen backlash from a previous encounter. Having appeared in Lincoln a year prior on a witch hunt, a bad hex bag ritual led to the town’s women falling madly in love with Rufus, resulting in some angered husbands. Upon their return, the husbands vengefully chased after the duo, tampering with their plans. Let their example be a lesson for all future hunters.
9 Always Have a Few Fake IDs Handy
Creative aliases aren’t just Supernatural‘s way of planting Easter eggs inside the series, they’re the Winchesters’ precautionary measure to conceal their identities from civilians and authorities. As an essential tool for the hunting trade, aliases provide you with fake government-related identities. From becoming a federal agent for the FBI to a health inspector for the Food and Drug Administration, these fake identities give hunters the necessary credentials to properly investigate a crime scene, giving them full access to witnesses who can provide further details.
Although it’s fun to explore various identities, there are stipulations in place. A hunter should never use the same identity twice, nor is it recommended to borrow names from rock stars and famous movie actors, like the Winchesters often do. Instead, remember to use a unique alias to prevent too much suspicion.
8 Make Sure They’re No Longer Living
As a general rule of horror movies, a protagonist should never turn his or her back to a villain before knowing with absolute certainty that the bad guy has been one hundred percent vanquished. As Bobby Singer words it in his Guide to Hunting, it hasn’t passed away until “it’s in five pieces.”
In St. Louis, Missouri, a notorious resting place for witches, Bobby encountered a particularly nefarious spell-casting villain who was using her powers to turn her neighbors’ food into acid. After an all-out brawl, he fired shots at the witch’s head, but that wasn’t enough. After standing back up, she telekinetically pinned Bobby to a wall before Rufus managed to sneak behind her and finish her off for good, saving one of history’s most beloved hunters from certain doom.
7 Remember: The Moral Decision Isn’t Always Obvious
In the season two episode “Heart,” Sam established a reputation as a “monster lover” after he developed an affectionate relationship with Madison, a seemingly innocuous love interest who was transformed into a werewolf. Despite his inability to cure her lycanthropy, Sam is unwillingly to take the necessary steps to end Madison’s life; it’s only after pleading with him that he is able to carry out the deed.
Since the season two encounter, the Winchesters have stumbled upon other such scenarios where the monster in question isn’t always so villainous. In season seven, Dean finally sided with Sam’s beliefs after befriending Benny, a vampire who aided him in his escape from Purgatory, and ever since, the duo have relied upon further investigation before passing judgment on a monster. It’s important to keep a similar approach when your moral compass isn’t always working as it should.
6 Operating Outside the Law Isn’t Out of the Question
When hunting demons, defeating monsters, and expelling ghosts from their homes, it isn’t always easy to work within the confines of the law as a hunter’s lifestyle is a continual battle for survival. Simple necessities such as food and shelter aren’t simply rewarded and that’s why bending laws for the greater sake of humanity is an unfortunate reality for most hunters.
Whether you’re dining and dashing to get in a day’s meal or siphoning gas from someone else’s vehicle to fill your own tank, there are times when the moral justifications for a hunter’s actions aren’t always so clear-cut. Although a hunter’s decisions aren’t always helpful to authorities, difficult times call for difficult measures. It’s never easy to break the law, but sometimes, a hunter has to do what a hunter has to do.
5 Keep Family at a Distance
As the biggest violators of this rule, the Winchester’s greatest obstacles have often directly resulted from one disobeying the other. Often times, the sibling duo will risk the lives of countless people to save each other. In season three, Dean’s inability to surrender Sam’s life to the yellow-eyed demon Azazel landed him in a crossroads deal that sold his soul to Hell. Similarly, it was the disappearance of John Winchester that dragged Sam back into the life and his love for Dean that kept him in the hunt.
Although the brotherly bond of the Winchesters has fortified the hunting duo as a lethal pair, it’s also accounted for some serious heartbreak. Keeping family at a distance and preventing oneself from building romantic relationships will ultimately contribute to a longer lasting career and can potentially save your life down the road.
4 Never Hunt Angry
In a world of fiendish creatures, clearer heads often prevail. Most times, the Winchesters’ odds of surviving an Apocalyptic scenario are nearly zero percent, yet, they always concoct a life-risking plan that favors them in the end. Although they’re most likely to find themselves in another detrimental situation within days, they’d get nowhere if they couldn’t keep their heads on straight.
The Winchesters’ biggest mistakes have often came in moments of supreme anger. When Sam was coerced into opening the Gates of Hell, he did so under the scrutiny of Dean, who criticized him for his lust for demon plasma. Similarly, Dean nearly ended his own life after going on a rampage when he was imbued with powers from the Mark of Cain. Be mindful of your emotions, otherwise, you may be in for a rude awakening.
3 Always Look Out for Each Other
Never hunting alone is sound advice for a newbie just entering the game. Apart from learning the ropes and gathering career-long tips that will inevitably come in handy, it’s also extremely encouraging to know someone’s got your back in moments of extreme desperation.
Counting the numerous times Dean or Sam has bailed the other out of perilous situations is a monumental task, which goes to show how critical it is to have a partner. Although a family member isn’t recommended, the occasional hunter could tag along, especially if two are hitting the same town. Whether Sam is rescuing Dean from a sleep-inducing Djinn, or Dean is helping Sam overcome his intense fear of clowns, extra help goes a long way. Just make sure to keep an eye out for each other.
2 Come Prepared
Although Dean Winchester’s polished ’67 Impala makes for an attractive vehicle on the road, it’s more than just a decoration piece; it’s a stowaway for the most lethal arsenal of monster-slaying weaponry in the business. After all, with every monster comes a unique set of tools to manhandle your enemy with finesse.
Apart from specialty items such as the Colt, the First Blade, or Angel Blades, the majority of hunting weapons are pretty much standard practices among hunters. Simple supernatural weaponry includes wooden stakes for vampires, exorcism spells for demons, and salt to ward off vengeful spirits. Toting around such an extensive amount of items is an unfortunate necessity, so a proper amount of luggage space will be needed. Don’t forget, with more experience will come more weapons, so keep that in mind for future hunts.
1 You Can’t Save Everyone
In the season eleven episode “Safe House,” Sam and Dean investigate a paranormal case in which a young girl becomes comatose following a ghostly encounter. Upon further research, they discover a previous case where Bobby and Rufus explored the same house, encountering a Soul Eater.
Throughout the episode, Rufus echoes the same piece of information to Bobby, which has proven to be a critical bit of hunter logic and an essential rule that almost every hunter ignores. Stating that “everyone can’t be saved,” he constantly reminds his partner that he isn’t a superhero. Although it goes without saying that the Winchesters always try to prevent as many civilian casualties as possible, there’s bound to be a certain degree of turmoil from lives lost along the way. It’s an inevitability, and one of the most difficult pills to swallow for a hunter.
Do you know any other hunter rules that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments below?