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Once you have identified a vampire, the next thing is to do something about it. Unlike the werewolf, there is no cure for vampirism. The vampire in question died to become what they are and there are no ways to reverse death. If you’ve decided to do something about the vampire in your area, you have taken the first step to become a vampire hunter: choosing action instead of hiding from it.

So the next step is to understand what it takes to be a vampire hunter. You have heard, seen, or read about them before, no doubt when looking up information to help you determine if you have a vampire problem. They are pretty cool, always seeming to wear the hottest clothing, carry the ultimate weapon arsenal, and hunt the undead of the night. Who wouldn’t want to be a vampire?

Turns out a lot of people wouldn’t. Being a vampire hunter is more than just looking hot in leather, or having cool weapons. You have to understand how to work the weapons, clean them, and you have to understand your prey. That sounds pretty easy right?

Wrong. There are hundreds of different kinds of vampires from all over the world. And you have to know everything you can about each one of them. What works to destroy a European Strigoii will not work for a Chiang Shi (also known as Jiang Shi). Knowing the difference and the specifics of both prepares you for dealing with them. The lack of knowledge could end up with you dead or becoming an undead yourself.

So it is important to understand what you are fighting, not just general vampire-related information, but vampire species specific information. A good way to do this is to talk to other vampire hunters, and do as much research as possible in your downtime. Keeping a vampire notebook is a must for anyone interested in hunting the undead. The vampire notebook has the added benefit of allowing to keep your own records and notes for future hunters. It also doesn’t hurt if you add information about other creatures, as people may call you in to deal with other creatures than vampires, even if your business card states: “Only Vampires!” The other creatures you may want to include in your notebook are zombies, wisps, and various lycanthropes. (See my series of werewolf entries for information.)

Now this is important: Never, ever underestimate vampires. Though they usually have systematic approaches to hunting prey, they were once human, so they will vary every once in a while. Especially if they are aware that you are around. Also remember that vampires know a lot about their prey, or they wouldn’t be as successful in their human dealings or stay under the radar for long. Knowing as much about them as you can gives you equal footing.

Knowing your weapons is also necessary for anyone who wants to take this particular approach in the workforce. Many vampires have basic hunting kits that they carry with them. Typically, it includes stakes, a hammer, holy water, a crucifix, and a lighter. That is as basic as you can get. If you get called on a vampire hunt, you will want to talk to as many witnesses as possible to get an idea of the kind of vampire you are dealing with. This will help you prepare your kit for a specific undead, rather than just hauling your entire weapon collection with you everywhere you go.

Training with your arsenal is an absolute. You don’t want to use a weapon for the first time in the field. This is extremely dangerous. On the training ground, if a weapon fails, breaks, or whatnot, you won’t be killed. In the field, if the weapon doesn’t work like it’s supposed to, you will be.

With training, you learn the intricacy of the tools you have. And if you are good, you train yourself to work with each weapon until it doesn’t take thought or concentration. You want to get yourself to the point where you can use the tools in your sleep (maybe not literally). Remember, your tools are an extension of your vampire hunter persona. They should be treated as you would treat your own body, with respect and great care.

If you can, start training in martial arts. You never know when a vampire will take your tools away from you. Being able to use your body as a tool can often save your life. Other skills you may want to train in are tracking, fencing, and archery. Get these skills to the highest possible level, then maintain those levels by continuously practicing. You will also want to improve your memory through various exercises so that you will be able to recall anything important for your notebook. Improvisation is another tool. Being able to think quickly on your feet will assist in making sure that you are at an advantage when dealing with a vampire.

Never go hunting if you aren’t feeling a hundred (or more) percent. You need to be on top of your game when dealing with these creatures. They will do what they can to tempt you from your job and will often stoop to begging for their undead lives. You can’t let a moment of doubt enter your mind because that will be the line between life and death. But you can’t be overconfident either.

When you finally go on a hunt, you need to not only know the creature and the weapons needed to destroy it, you have to have a plan. Think of every possible outcome and prepare for them. Be aware of the time of day, too. If you are lucky and know where the vampire roosts, try to take them out during daylight (unless the vampire can move about in the day). Many vampires are day restricted, however some have unique hours. One vampire moves about only at dusk and dawn and sleeps the rest of the time.

Vampire hunters are well aware that any given hunt will be their last. So it is important that you make sure that before each hunt, your affairs are in order. You don’t want your family to throw out your weapons and meticulously kept notebooks. This is important especially if you have an apprentice because they should get the arsenal. If you have no apprentice, then make sure you bequeath your vampire hunting equipment to a fellow hunter.

Good luck to you in your future hunt!

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