Listed below are the sequence of events that occur during a hunt with some explanation about how a hunter can prepare to maximize their chances in each step.
The hunt is started
There are a few ways a hunt can be started, most commonly by the Hunter's Horn. Hunters can start an immediate hunt by sounding the horn themselves, or be taken on a hunt by friends in the same location sounding their own horns. Hunters are ready to hunt with friends if their horn has reappeared (typically 15 minutes since the last horn-initiated hunt for Apprentice and above ranks), they have been active in the past hour (by sounding their own horn or refreshing their camp page), and aren't blocked by a King's Reward. Hunters sounding their horns can take up to 8 friends on a hunt with them.
The second way a hunt can be started is by a trap check. These trap checks happen once per hour throughout the day. Hunters must have their trap baited and have sounded the horn or refreshed their camp page once within the previous 24 hours in order to receive a trap check.
The bait either attracts or fails to attract a mouse
Each type of cheese has a different, and fixed chance of attracting a mouse in each hunting location. Each time a hunt is started, whether or not a mouse is encountered depends on how attractive the specific cheese is in that location. Within the game, the terms "encounter" and "attract" are often used interchangeably. It is also worth noting that the attraction bonus of a trap setup will boost the attractiveness of the bait in a positive way.
The specific breeds of mice that can be encountered depend on the hunting location, and type of cheese baited or sometimes charms equipped. For example, SUPER|brie+ can lead to encounters of Master Burglar and Nibbler mice in the Town of Gnawnia; only with Cherry Cheese can hunters encounter the Cherry mouse in Calm Clearing; and Maki boosts the encounter rate for student mice in the Dojo by a rather large margin. Prospector's Charms and Dark Chocolate Charms have a special attraction in certain locations. Carefully read the descriptions of the various baits in the game to give hints about how effective they are at attracting certain types of mice, and in what areas of the game. The attractiveness of the bait is also reflected in the "Effectiveness" message shown under the hunter's trap setup on the camp page. It is important to note that bait has absolutely no effect on whether or not you catch a mouse once it is attracted.
Should you fail to attract a mouse then your bait has a chance of going stale based on your trap's cheese effect. The time you purchased your bait has no effect on whether your cheese turns stale. A stale trap setup typically consists of a weapon and base with a stale cheese effect.
Hunters with the rank of Apprentice or above can collect several varieties of stale cheese, depending on what kind of cheese was used as bait. These seemingly useless stale cheese can be used to craft different varieties of cheese that may prove useful to hunters and is often a requirement for successful hunting in the Bristle Woods region. Oftentimes, the trap setup used is an Obelisk of Incineration, Arcane Capturing Rod Of Never Yielding Mystery or Mutated Venus Mouse Trap paired with the Magma Base or Explosive Base because these setups give the lowest cheese effect currently possible and thus increases chances for the cheese to go stale. This method is commonly referred to as stale farming.
Your trap versus the mouse
Should a hunter successfully attract the mouse, it is now up to the statistics of their trap to determine if they catch it or not. A more powerful trap has a better chance to trap a more powerful mouse, although the probability to catch a mouse is never 100% (so even a puny White Mouse has a small chance to get away from the most powerful traps). Aside from power, a trap's luck rating also provides a chance to catch a mouse purely from luck. It is not uncommon for lucky traps to catch mice that are far more powerful than the trap or even outside of its power type (discussed below).
Weapons not only have power, but also a specific power type. Some mice are susceptible to certain power types, while others are resistant if not completely immune. An example is in the Mousoleum, where the vast majority of mice are vulnerable to shadow traps while being resistant to physical traps.
The hunter's title also plays a small role in their ability to catch a mouse. As players progress upwards through the ranks, their traps stats are boosted slightly, providing an extra edge.
The outcome of the hunt
The outcome of the hunt is fairly straightforward.
Should you attract but fail to catch the mouse, your adversary will always consume the one piece of cheese your trap was baited with. In some hunting locations, it is also possible for mice to steal additional pieces of cheese, gold, or even cripple your courage.