|Original Airdate||March 13, 2011|
|Previous Episode: Blood Lust|
|Next Episode: Special Delivery|
Hunting Ground is the sixteenth episode of season 9 of CSI: Miami.
When a man is shot and killed by a bow and arrow, Horatio goes against the clock to solve the case involving an exclusive hunting club that hunts humans for sport.
Two men run through the Everglades, trying to escape the predator that is hunting them. One of the men gets injured, and when he kneels down to tend to his wounds, an arrow flies through the air and kills him, leaving his body pinned to a tree. Horatio is led to the scene by a man in a boat who says he heard a scream. Horatio locates the victim, and there’s another man standing over the body. The second man starts speaking in French, and he tells Horatio to kill him.
The victim was shot with a compound bow. He has a brand on his arm in the shape of the number nine, and there’s a strange wound around his ankle. Horatio talks to a ranger and gets the license plate of a truck that sped off that morning. Tripp talks to the man, Arnold Watkins, wondering if this is the hunter they’re looking for, and the man admits to hunting illegally in the Everglades—but he was hunting orchids. Walter and Eric speak to the man they found standing over their victim’s body, Jean Guiton, and they realize he’s Haitian. Walter asks Jean questions in French, but the man isn’t willing to talk. They see a wound on his ankle similar to the one on the victim, and he has a brand on his arm in the shape of the number 10. The ankle wounds are on opposite legs, leading them to believe the men were shackled together.
Ryan and Natalia locate the hunter’s perch in the Everglades, and they realize that this was no hunting accident—their victim was targeted. Someone is out there hunting human beings. Horatio talks to Jean, who speaks English just fine. A group of immigrants were promised freedom and a better life, but they were trapped and locked in a house. They were only let out to be hunted. Jean was paired up with the victim, Enrique, who knew he was going to die. He asked Jean to give the locket around his neck to his wife and daughter, and Jean was trying to retrieve the locket when Horatio found him. Jean admits that he didn’t tell the team anything because his brother Henri is still trapped in the house. Horatio promises to save Henri and the others.
Ryan and Natalia locate a compound bow near the hunting perch, and Calleigh tests it. She confirms that the bow was the murder weapon, and it’s top of the line. So is the arrow—in fact, there are only two places that make arrows like this. One is in North Carolina, and the other is in Miami. They speak to the man who owns the shop in Miami, Wesley Habeck. He gets them the name of the customer who bought the arrows, Steve Raymer, but Steve claims his credit card was stolen. He denies going to the shop or killing Enrique.
The team tries to track down the person supplying the ‘prey’ for this twisted hunting expedition. They’re looking for someone who specializes in Cuban and Haitian immigrants, and they get a name: Javier Lopez. They raid the house and arrest Javier, and they find Enrique’s wife and daughter. Horatio has to break the bad news. Javier gives them the name of the man who has been buying the immigrants from him: it’s Wesley Habeck. They find nothing at his shop, but they locate the van used to transport the victims. They decide to put a tracker in the van so they’ll know when Habeck is on the move.
Travers finds a leech, and Natalia accidentally hurts her arm testing out the bow because she is inexperienced. They check Steve Raymer’s arm, and he has a similar wound. He also has a leech wound on his ankle, so Natalia tests a leech found in the hunter’s perch. The DNA is a match, so they know Steve killed Enrique. He can only give them Habeck’s name, but the tracking device is able to give them a lead as Habeck takes Henri and another man out to be hunted. Tripp and Natalia go after the hunters, and they arrive just in time to save Henri and the other man from being killed. Horatio goes after Habeck and arrests him. He is able to reunite Jean and Henri, and Jean gets to fulfill his promise to give Enrique’s locket to his wife and daughter.
- David Caruso as Horatio Caine
- Emily Procter as Calleigh Duquesne
- Adam Rodríguez as Eric Delko
- Jonathan Togo as Ryan Wolfe
- Rex Linn as Frank Tripp
- Eva LaRue as Natalia Boa Vista
- Omar Benson Miller as Walter Simmons
(Talking about all the evidence Travers has processed)
Travers: We have a leech even.
Natalia: We've had our share of those today.
Travers: (amused): I heard one attached itself to Ryan.
Natalia: He's a very likeable guy.
- The storyline is similar to The Most Dangerous Game, Richard Connell, where a hunter, shipwrecked on a "deserted" island, is hunted himself.
- This episode was written and directed by Adam Rodriguez, is the first time a cast member directs and writes an episode at the same time.