Drawn to heat and conflict, the Predators have visited Earth occasionally throughout the human history. In the Predator books and comics, they have taken part in the biggest and bloodiest wars of mankind. Some Predators even encountered real-life historical figures. Here is an overview of historical Predator hunts, including taking trophies in World War 1 and the Vietnam War.
Thousands of years ago, the Predators had a prominent presence on Earth. They taught humans to build and were worshiped as gods in return. In actuality, the humans were used as slaves and as victims for breeding the Aliens. Back then, the Predators were not interested in hunting the inferior humans, but only the Xenomorphs. These Yautja hunts happened inside and on the exterior of the pyramids that humans had built. The Predator presence on Earth was cut back when the Xenomorph infestation got out of hand and the Predators had to detonate a self destruct device on top of one of the pyramids, wiping out the entire civilization with it.
The Elder Predator nicknamed "Greyback" from the end of Predator 2 was at least 300 years old and had his share of historical hunts. One of his first hunts was at the coast of Guinea in the year 1718, as seen in the Predator: 1718 comic. A group of pirates mutinied against their captain Raphael Adolini over a case of treasure. The Predator observed the mutiny and was thrown into the middle of it, fighting side by side with Adolini against the mutineers. Together they managed to take down the pirates, however, Adolini was mortally wounded. His last act was to give the Yautja his flintlock pistol, with "Raphael Adolini 1715" engraved on it. Greyback later gave it to Mike Harrigan.
The Predator's connection to the samurai is often depicted in fan-art but not much in the movies and comic books. In Predators, we saw a Yakuza called Hanzo fighting a Super Predator with a samurai sword. The short fight ended in a tie, with both participants dying. In the Predator: Blood Feud comic, an old Yautja returned to Earth to hunt down a decadent of a samurai he fought hundreds of years ago in feudal Japan. During the feudal period, a big battle between dozens of Yautja and hundreds of samurai took place on the plains, with most participants dying. A long-living samurai called Subotai also shows up in the Predator: Xenogenesis comic series, and is mentioned in Aliens vs. Predator: Eternal.
At least two Predators have been known to have hunted during the American Civil War, both encountering real-life historical figures. The first one had a run-in with Jesse James in the Predator: Hell Come a Walkin' comic. Before his outlaw career, Jesse was a soldier amongst a unit of Confederate soldiers. They joined forces with Union soldiers to take down a Predator who had been slaughtering soldiers on both sides. Another Predator hunt during the Civil War occurred in the Predator: If It Bleeds anthology novel, in the short story titled Stonewall's Last Stand. In the book, Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson joined a group of criminal soldiers to scout the Union lines. They encountered a Union soldier who warns them about a Predator hunting nearby. The Yautja proceeded to slaughter the group, but was finally killed by Union cannon fire. Jackson was accidentally shot and mortally wounded by his men when returning to his own lines, something that happened in real-life.
In the Predator: Nemesis comic, a lone Predator visited Victorian age London in the year 1896. This happened a few years after the killing spree of Jack the Ripper and the additional murders by the Yautja made him to be nicknamed the "Springheeled Jack". Mycroft Holmes, a high ranking Victorian British intelligence officer and a character from the Sherlock Holmes novels, dispatched Captain Soames to investigate the case. Soames discovered the Predator's ship and trophy wall hidden in the sewers. Soon after, they had a bloody duel with the Predator being shot through the shoulder and chest. Soames cut his arm off with a machete and the Predator drowned in the waters of the Thames river.
A Predator fought and hunted on the muddy Western Front in World War 1 in the Predator: Bloody Sands of Time comic book. In the story, ordinary French soldiers in the trenches observed the Predator killing soldiers from both sides. They told their superiours but the story was so outlandish that they thought they were mad. One of the memorable scenes from the comic is the Predator taking down a British Mark 1 tank and being wounded by a mustard gas attack. The Predator also seems to be one of the few to survive, taking the head of a disbelieving French general as a trophy in the end.
The Predators could not keep away from the biggest human conflict ever. However, there are no records of them participating in the main hotspot - Europe. The black and white comic book Predator: Demon's Gold has a Yautja encountering a group of SS soldiers in South America who were looking for ancient treasure to bolster Germany's war effort. The nazis had kidnapped a boy from a nearby village that they burned down. The child took them to a cave in the mountains that was said to contain ancient gold. Instead, a Predator appeared and massacred the whole unit of soldiers, taking the head of the commanding officer as a trophy. The boy survived and later told the story which became a legend.
Most of Dutch's squad from the first Predator movie fought in Vietnam or Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Obviously, they didn't encounter any Yautja or this would have been mentioned. However, in Predator 2, Peter Keys mentions that mankind has encountered Predators before in Cambodia. Furthermore, in The Predator movie prequel comic - Hunters and Hunted, a CIA agent named Pappy Elliot had his squad slaughtered in Vietnam during the war. The incident haunted him to present day and motivated him to put together a Predator hunting squad - the Reapers, a predecessor to the Stargazer task force seen in the movie. Pappy Elliot met another Predator in the book who killed him while escaping the Stargazer facility, a familiar scene from the movie.
At least two different Yautja hunted during the still ongoing war in Afghanistan, not to be confused with the Soviet Afghanistan War. Predator: Hunters reveals the story of mercenary Tyler Swain who was working as a contractor to safeguard a convoy of supplies. His car was hit by a mortar and he lost consciousness. When he came to, he saw that a single Yautja had massacred and taken trophies from his whole squad, including a group of Taliban that had ambushed them. In Predator: Hunters II, the whole story took place in Afghanistan with the group of Predator Hunters traveling to the mountains to take down a lone Predator. The Yautja had established a cave full of trophies, including weapons from the war. The Predator managed to massacre a squad of Stargazer soldiers but was finally taken down by Predator Hunters squad.