A product of the Durham Academy, Hunter made his first-class debut for Durham in 2000, taking 45 wickets that summer.
The pace bowler joined Derbyshire during 2004, making one appearance that season.
He signed a two-year deal with the county starting in April 2005 and played in all but four games of their disappointing County Championship campaign, taking 33 wickets. He also claimed 15 victims in the National League.
He signed a new two-year contract with Derbyshire at the end of the 2006 season, but featured just once in the championship in 2007 due to a knee injury.
Four championship matches in 2008 brought Hunter six wickets at 50 apiece, although he topped the county's bowling averages in the NatWest Pro40 with 10 victims at 20 apiece.
In 2009 he returned similar figures when he took 22 wickets at 28 from seven games. Nonetheless, Hunter earned a contract for 2010.