Groups of stores get together and create items to give away as hunt prizes in their shops. Gifts can and do include anything you can think of in SL, from clothes to shoes to hair to skins to jewelry to furniture to houses to vehicles...even poses, animations, gestures and so forth. If it's in SL, chances are someone somewhere has given it as a prize. It's also a great way to get a sample item from a store you have never shopped in before as a way to try them out.
BASIC HUNT STEPS
1. Pick a hunt. There are tons of them going on at any given time. You can check online at http://slhunts.wordpress.com/ for a huge list of current and upcoming hunts, you can check various personal blogs people have, you can join hunter groups in SL as well.
2. Once you have a hunt, trot yourself down to their starting point (that information can usually be found on their hunt blog or from any of the hunt signs scattered all over SL). Many hunts have specific groups you can join as well, and the hunt signs generally have that information as well. They usually give out LMs and notecards with all the info you need to get started.
3. So you have a hunt picked, you are at the start point...now it gets fun. This is like "Where's Waldo" for adults...you are searching for a hidden item (varies from hunt to hunt, what the item is you are looking for is usually indicated on the hunt sign or blogs). Somewhere in the shop, hidden or not hidden, you will find the item. Find it, click on it (some are touch/give items and some you buy for 0L), and get the prize inside.
4. Check your inventory for the item. The "Recent Items" portion of your inventory is your best hunt friend. Find the folder for the prize, look in the folder...and you have the gift (usually boxed) and an LM to a different store. Use the LM to get to the next stop on the hunt.
5. Rinse and repeat until you've found all the items from all the stores.
6. My favorite part comes next - find a quiet corner somewhere that you can rez things, and unpack. Its like Christmas morning all over again as you unwrap all the lovely gifts you've collected along the way.
7. If you find an item you really, really love - go back and shop at the store it came from. Supporting the vendors who participate in the hunts is a really great way to say thank you to them for the work and effort they put into creating so many fantastic prizes every month for us all to enjoy.
That's it - simple, huh?
1. First and foremost - you are going to be doing a lot of rezzing, a lot of TPing, and maybe running into other crowds of happy hunters out there, so the most important thing you can do to help yourself have a fun hunt is to DRESS DOWN. This doesn't mean you have to go primless or looking like a noob, but the lower your ARC and the fewer scripts you are wearing, the easier time you will have as you hop around SL. If you haven't noticed yet, Tess and I have our basic "hunting gear" we wear when we are hunting and taking pics - a nice hair that isnt a gazillion prims or scripted, simple clothing layers, minimum of prim bits. Save the fashionista extravaganza outfits for showing off all the goodies you are going to find from the hunts!
2. BE PATIENT. Hmm, maybe that should be #1. We all know that sometimes SL rezzes fast for us, and sometimes it's pokey as heck. Give the stores time to rez. Walk around a bit and look at whats there. If you are seeing nothing, grey shapes, stores not even rezzing, etc. you can try staring at the floor - sometimes it helps for your computer to be focused on one texture while the others have a chance to load. Sometimes it helps to TP out, then back to a store. Remember, the hunt icons you are looking for are textures like everything else, and sometimes take a while to load. It would really be a shame to miss out on something because you were too impatient and didn't give it a chance to pop into sight.
3. CHECK THE ITEMS as you get them into inventory - make sure the item number matches where you are in the hunt. Sometimes with multiple stores in a hunt in the same location, you find something, think you're all set, move on...then realize when unpacking that you missed an entire block of stores because you grabbed the wrong goodie at the wrong time.
4. Be sure you are in the RIGHT STORE [hello, Thanos! =)] - look for the hunt signs, check the hunt blogs for store listings, hints, etc. Also, check the LM for the name of the store you are porting to. This helps a lot in finding the right place in a mall or a sim with multiple shops. If you are in the hunt group for a particular hunt, check their notices, oftentimes coordinators will post a notice if a store has moved, if an LM is wrong, if a store is on hold while a problem is ironed out and so forth. This will save you lots of time searching fruitlessly in the wrong places and getting frustrated.
5. HUNT WITH YOUR FRIENDS. Granted, you can usually go a lot faster alone, but its SOOO much more fun with your friends. Not only do you get extra eyes to help find those tricksy hunt items, but you have someone along to play on the neat stuff you come across, or to commiserate with you on that oh so hard item you walked by 10 times before realizing it was there... o.O
6. BE POLITE. A *lot* of people are out there hunting too, and while the prizes you get are awesome, a good chunk of the enjoyment is in the actual hunt itself. Don't ruin someone else's fun by yelling out a location when you find something. Help out people along the way if they ask for it - you never know when you might be stuck and need a hand yourself. If you see the store owner in the shop, say hello. As a shop owner myself, I get a kick out of seeing people having fun on a hunt in my store. And remember the politeness bit if you get a gift you aren't crazy about - someone worked hard to make it. If you don't like it, just delete it. No big deal. No need to insult anyone's building or creative skills.
7. HAVE FUN. Its not about how many things you can get, or who has nicer gifts than someone else. Hunts are a chance to get out and explore SL. You see new sims, new shops, places you might not otherwise run across in your day-to-day SL experience. You get to meet people along the way, make new friends, and otherwise socialize and have a good time. Its not a race to finish, so take your time, enjoy yourself, and happy hunting! =)