Although hunting is still critical to the subsistence of many people throughout Amazonia, this practice may not be sustainable under current socio-economic conditions. Native societies are rapidly undergoing socio-economic changes that exacerbate the pressure on wildlife and habitats, indicating the urgent need to assess the impacts of subsistence hunting. In a 12-month study we assessed hunting patterns in four Shuar native communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Hunting patterns and impact of hunting activities were documented using interviews, direct observations, self-monitoring records, community landscape mapping and mammal surveys. Although Shuar harvest a wide-range of wildlife species, including insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals we only report information about mammals. A total of 3,181 individuals (c. 26,000 kg) of 21 mammal species were hunted during the 12 months. We used three algorithms for assessing the sustainability of hunting: the production, stock-recruitment and harvest models. Of the 21 mammal species hunted there were sufficient data to assess 15, 12 of which were hunted above maximum sustainable levels within the 243 km2 hunting catchment area. The immediate need to conserve wildlife populations is not obvious to Shuar hunters who still enjoy what they perceive to be an inexhaustible source of wild meat. In this context management of Shuar hunting practices to control harvest levels is complex. The assessment presented here is the first step of what needs to be a long-term wildlife management process.