In the early days of firearms, a shot would rarely completely down the animal. Instead, the creature would flee while mortally injured and the hunters would have to chase after it. Eventually, the target would succumb to its wounds and collapse.
Leaving the animal to die would be cruel, and therefore hunting blades were utilised to finish it off. This was a very popular tool to use while out on a hunt. In modern times, similar weapons are carried by hunters just in case they ever require them. However, these tend to be knives or machetes rather than swords.
The hunting swords of the past were light enough to be held with one hand. During the 12th century, swords designed specifically for hunting became prominent. However, they did not become significantly popular in Europe until the 17th century.
The sword would be straight with a blade which did not exceed 25 inches in length. Utilising the blade for finishing off game meant that the hunter did not have to use an extra shot. The upper class would often commission ornately designed hunting swords to show off their rank and wealth.