A surname derived from the chase, in early charters Latinized venator. As the surname early appears in widely different parts of the kingdom there is no reason to think that all bearing the name have a common ancestor. William venator, who was one of the witnesses to the Inquisition of Earl David, before 1124, is most likely the first of the name recorded in Scotland. Yone Venatore was one of the witnesses to a Beauly charter of 1231 (Beauly, p. 33). Adam Hunter was granted the hereditary office of seargeantry in all causes touching life and limb throughout the abbey land of Crauford belonging to the Abbey of Newbattle before 1259 (Neubotle, p. 121). John the hunter (venator) was one of the jurors on an inquisition made on the lands of Hopkelchoc (now Kailzie) in 1259 (Bain, l, 2162; APS., 1, p. 88). Aylmer le Hunter of the county of Arne, Johan Hunter of the forest of Passelay, Huwe the Hunter of Stragrife, and Richard the Hunter of Stragryfe, rendered homage for their possessions in 1296 (Bain, II, p. 205, 212, 213), as also did Thomas le Huntere (ibid., 730). Maurice Hulnter was provost of Striuelyn in 1327 (ER., l, p. 61), Aymon Hunter was bailie of the burgh of Culan (Cullen) in 1328 (ibid., l, p. 91), and Thomas Hunter was a tenant of the Douglas in the parish of Morton in 1376 (RHM., l, p. lvi). Hunter of Hunterston, Ayrshire, is apparently the oldest family of the name. The Hunters of Polmood contested the honor of precedence with Hunter of Hunterston, but as Burke says (Landed gentry) it is noteworthy that the house of Hunter of Polmood was never styled “of that Ilk,” a distinction accorded to the Ayrshire family. A “Pedigree of Hunter of Abbotshall and Barjarg, and cadet families: Hunter of Bonytoun and Doonholm, Hunter-Blair of Blairquhan, Hunter of Auchterarder, Hunter of Thurston,” was published in London in 1905-An account of the Ayrshire family is in Paterson (2.ed.,III). The old Orcadian surname of Hunto, of quite different origin, is now merged in Hunter. Huntair 1530, Huntayr 1565, Huntter 1527, Hwntar 1535, Hwntare 1454, Hounttar, Hountter, and Hunttar in 1528.
-The Surnames of Scotland (1946) by George Fraser Black (1866-1948) (book owned by author of this blog)