Hunt Initiation Log (Season 1)
The purpose of the Hunt Initiation Log is to track the source of the hunts Sam and Dean Winchester undertake. Sometimes they find hunts themselves, sometimes other characters give them information. Some episodes are more personal, with no clear hunt. This provides one more means of analyzing the characters. For example, it reveals that while Dean is the quintessential hunter of the family, Sam actually more often instigates the hunts, and that Sam gradually takes a more active role in that regard.
Hunt notes, by episode
John disappears. Dean's worried, comes to get Sam. Dean already knows John was in Jericho, he has the news clippings and the voicemail from John with EVP on it. Although it's John's disappearance that really starts it, Dean is the one who initiates the journey the boys take in season one. At the end of the episode Dean asks Sam to follow the coordinates John left in his journal, Sam refuses until Jess dies.
Initiator/Method: Dean/showing up. (via John by vanishing and a voicemail) Motivation is personal.
The boys follow the coordinates John left for Dean in the journal, discovered in the Pilot. John is the clear summoner. Sam becomes reluctant when they realize John may not be anywhere in the area, and Dean is the driving force behind the hunt.
1x03 Dead in the Water
Dean reads obituaries and notices a story about a strange death in a lake.
1x04 Phantom Traveler Jerry Panowski calls Dean. He was led to Dean's number by John's outgoing message on his cell phone telling people to call his son. Indirectly, John is the source of this job, since it was his message that led Jerry to Dean. But Jerry called Dean; it was a direct call for help.
Initiator/Method: Dean (call for help from Jerry)/phone
1x05 Bloody Mary
The boys are following a lead based on an obituary, but it's not clear which one discovered it. Was it Dean? I'm going to assume so; he seems to find a lot of their hunts that way.
Initiator/Method: Dean (presumed)/obituary
Sam gets an email from a college friend that her brother was charged with murder. Dean's reluctant to go, but Sam talks him into it. Sam's the driving force behind this one, although it wasn't his discovery but him responding to bad news from a friend. It's not, in fact, a direct call for help; Sam just gets the news and feels like he has to go and try and do something.
Initiator/Method: Sam (contacted by friend)/email
1x07 Hook Man
The boys are on John's trail. Sam is on a payphone checking the FBI's missing person databanks. Dean points out something on the laptop, a headline: "Mysterious Death of Fraternity Brother." It turns out to be their lead to a hunt.
Initiator/Method: Dean/newspaper article
Sam is reading a newspaper with a headline "Local Death a Mystery." Dean asks if it's a lead, Sam fills him in, Dean agrees they should check it out. This is a back-and-forth hunt initiation.
Initiator/Method: Sam and Dean/newspaper article
Sam has a dream/vision of a woman in peril in their old house. Dean resists the summons. He's not only reluctant but secretly afraid to return to their home. Sam insists, Dean gives in.
Initiator/Method: Sam/vision; motivation is personal
Dean's paging through John's journal ("the guy writes like freakin' Yoda") looking for leads to John when the boys get into an argument because Sam suggests John might be dead and Dean freaks. Then they get a text message with coordinates. The hunt results in a nasty rift between the brothers. The episode ends with Dean's cell phone ringing, Sam answering and "Dad?"
The episode continues where Asylum left off, with the boys asleep in their hotel room when the cell phone rings, Sam answers, it's John. Sam is the resistant one, asking questions, refusing to take the list of names John wants him to take down. When Dean takes the phone, he unquestioningly follows his father's orders. The list of names turns out to be couples who have vanished. Dean traces their routes to the same place in Indiana. It's not completely clear whether John fed all the information to Dean, or Dean put it together himself once John gave them the lead of the couples' names, although it seems like Dean put it together once he had the names. Dean also admiringly mentions the obits and research John had to go through to put the pattern together, saying "the man's a master," which suggests John fed him the information.
Initiator/Method: John/phone & name list
When Dean is injured, his heart weakened, Sam calls around in their father's network of contacts and gets the name of a faith healer. This is one of those epiosdes where there is no hunt initially. It starts personal and becomes a hunt when they find out about the reapers. This is the only episode with that pattern.
Initiator/method: Sam/name acquired through phone contact. Motivation is personal.
1x13 Route 666
Dean gets phone call from ex girlfriend Cassie and rushes to her aid.
Initiator/method: Dean/direct call for help. Motivation personal.
Sam has a vision of a man dying. Dean is skeptical but is persuaded by Sam to investigate. This is good example of a hunt turned personal when Sam realizes his connection with Max.
1x15 The Benders
In their first scene, Sam and Dean are posing as police investigating the disappearance of a man, interviewing the boy who heard a monster-sound. It's not clear how they found out about the vanishing. Sam points out John "marked the area" in his journal, but it sounds as if they didn't know that when they first got there. When Sam gets kidnapped it changes from a "job" to a personal mission for Dean. Hunt-turned-very-personal.
Initiator/method: Sam and/or Dean/unclear.
This begins with another headline, which Sam is reading: "Manhunt Continues for Stealth Killer." It has led Sam and Dean to Chicago. This is another one that doesn't start personal but turns out to be, as it turns out the murders were a lure, to get them there as a trap for John. Massively hunt-turned-personal.
Initiator/method: Sam/newspaper article.
1x17 Hell House
Sam and Dean are following a story, a legend or a news report, strange incident. We don't know who found it first. Sam says "I knew we were going to be passing through Texas," so he hunted up a website and read the first-hand account from the kids involved in the scary house incident.
1x18 Something Wicked
Sam mentions doing research on "Lexus Nexus, local police reports, newspapers" but can't figure out why John sent them the latest coordinates. This is another episode that doesn't seem to be a personal hunt but turns out to be unfinished childhood business for Dean. Which raises the question, did John know it was a shtriga, and the significance this hunt would have for Dean?
Sam peruses the journal and reads a newspaper article with the headline "Couples Throats Slashed in Own Home." Dean wants "shore leave" but Sam insists this is a lead for a hunt. He convinces Dean it's a real lead and not a regular murder, noting John had similar murders listed in his journal, so Dean concedes "it's worth checking out." Another back-and-forth, though I'm giving initiator status to Sam. Also somewhat a hunt-turned-personal, since Sam meets Sarah.
Initiator/method: Sam/newspaper article (with some prodding from John's journal).
1x20 Dead Man's Blood
This time Dean's reading the newspaper, complaining there are no decent leads. Dean coyly suggests they go to New York so Sam can visit Sarah but Sam says "we've got a lot of work to do." Sam finds a news story about one Daniel Elkins being mauled in his home; Dean says the name is familiar, and finds the name in John's journal. This episode is another one which starts out as a general hunt and turns out to be personal. John shows up, Daniel was a family friend, and the Winchesters find the legendary Colt. Also, the episode ends with John conceding they need to hunt together. So he won't be apart from them, sending coordinates. It all changes with Dead Man's Blood. This is also a classic back-and-forth research banter initiation.
Initiator/method: Sam and Dean (Sam finds the article, Dean finds the name)/newspaper article.
With no more need for obituaries, newspaper articles, or coordinates, John directly fills the boys in on everything he knows about the demon he's hunting and says the signs of the demon are starting up in Salvation, Iowa.
Initiator/method: John/showing up
1x22 Devil's Trap
For the first time in 22 episodes, the hunt begins, and remains, completely personal as the boys race to find John and rescue him from the demon. As Dean says, "screw the job." In effect, there is no hunt, only a rescue mission.
Initiator/method: Sam and Dean/not applicable
Hunt Initiation tallies
See also Hunt Initiation Log Season two