It does seem that Rainsford has done an about face concerning his previous beliefs and statements concerning murder and the prey's understanding of fear and death. Rainsford had earlier told Whitney that the hunter's prey has "no understanding" of the fear of pain or death. But when Rainsford becomes the huntee of Zaroff, he soon feels all of the emotions that he had so easily dismissed. At the end of the story, when Rainsford surprises Zaroff in his bedroom, Zaroff honorably names Rainsford the winner of the hunt. Despite Zaroff's past acts of murdering his human victims, there is no reason to believe that he will not honor the rules of the game. Instead, Rainsford wants to continue the hunt, and this time he apparently kills the Russian. Whether Rainsford's days on the run has made him envious of switching places with Zaroff, or whether his act is simply one of revenge, Rainsford has taken to murder, and he seems content with the result.
He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.
Although dead tired from his ordeal, the final line seems to show that Rainsford has also enjoyed this final hunt, and one can only wonder what prey he will next choose to stalk.