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Looking for the name of a SF short story about a hunter who has been hired to kill the last of what is thought to be a "pest species" but he has begun to think it is sentient (it is).

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    Is this on Earth or another planet? Is it set in the future? Did you read this in a book or magazine, and when did you read it? You might need to provide some more details to get an answer. – Nathan Griffiths Oct 3 '17 at 23:36
  • Welcome to SFF:SE. We recommend having a look at the tour, which contains helpful hints for using the site, including tips on story identification questions. – Politank-Z Oct 3 '17 at 23:41
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    An anonymous user, who appears to be the OP, attempted to edit the question to some details: Definitely on an alien planet and a short story. Near the end of the story the hunter has killed the creature's mate (so it is the last of its species) and it seems to be deciding whether to continue to evade the hunter or to simply commit suicide by revealing itself. – Mithrandir Oct 10 '17 at 21:50
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This could be "Death of a Hunter" by Michael Shaara (although the question is terse enough that other stories might qualify).

In this story, humans are exploring and exploiting a world called Morgan. There is a roughly humanoid species native to the planet, referred to as "Morgans". The species is dangerous to the human colonists, killing them whenever possible.

Similar to the Little Fuzzy books, there are extreme economic incentives for the Morgans to be declared non-intelligent, and the body which decides such things has indeed found them to be so. A breeding colony of the Morgans is to be preserved for the future; at first in a sealed enclosure, perhaps later to be released on a part of the planet undesirable to the humans.

The remaining wild Morgans are being hunted down and killed by professional hunters. The story's plot concerns the last wild band and the hunter that tracks and kills them. He personally believes the Morgans to be intelligent, but reconciles himself with the thought that a breeding population is to be preserved.

The incident related in @Mithrandir's comment is similar but not exactly like the killing of the last two wild individuals.

At approximately the same time that this hunter kills the last wild band, while out of contact in the wilderness, back in the settlement a mistake is made in the enclosure that results in the death of the breeding population. When the hunter finds out that he has exterminated the species, he sets out for revenge on the colony management that brought him in to do the job, murders some of them, and is eventually hunted down in the wilderness and killed himself.

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Not just a short story, but Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper is along these lines. Details don't match 'hunter', though.

  • Sorry, but Little Fuzzy doesn't match at all. The only Fuzzy killed in Little Fuzzy is far from being the last one of her kind; the further the novel progresses, the more Fuzzies appear. Jack Holloway, the main protagonist isn't a hunter, but a prospector; he discovers and protects the Fuzzies and certainly doesn't intend to hurt any of them. Nobody is hired to kill any fuzzies; the death of Goldilocks happens in the heat of the moment. – straycat Oct 9 '17 at 21:41

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