An admirable trait of Rainsford's is his perseverance. He does not give up during any of the challenges with which he is faced. When Rainsford falls into the ocean, he swims until he reaches shore, despite the fact that fatigue threatens to overwhelm him. After General Zaroff informs him of his delight in hunting humans, Rainsford refuses to accept this idea and is forced to play the role of the hunted for his doing so. Persistence and determination, in addition to his skills as an outdoorsman and his inate cleverness, enable Rainsford to ultimately defeat General Zaroff. Had Rainsford possessed any less perseverance, he probably would have died either from drowning or at Zaroff's hands.
In the beginning of the story, Rainsford shows a certain degree of cockiness and hardheartedness. This is evident in his obvious lack of sympathy for or consideration of the feelings of his prey. It is not necessary that hunters be unfeeling or kill casually.
Sanger Rainsford, the main character in Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game," is a world class hunter who falls off his yacht and swims ashore on Ship-Trap Island. Rainsford is resourceful, cunning and physically imposing. He is intelligent, well-read and worldly, since he recognizes many of the fine accoutrements in Zaroff's home. He enjoys a good meal, a fine wine and a comfortable bed. He keeps his head even under the most trying conditions, and he has nerve enough for many men.
The fact that he is a skillful hunter may not necessarily be a positive trait, especially to animal rights activists. But unlike Zaroff, hunting animals satisfy him--at least until the end of the story when his desire for revenge overwhelms him.