At the beginning of the story, Rainsford is having a conversation with his shipmate, Whitney. "The best sport in the world. For the hunter, not for the jaguar." (Man vs Man). Around them, they are swallowed in the "black velvet" night sky near a suspicious island. Indirect characterization is found here because they think that animals don't have emotions which tell us that they don't care about them.
Rainsford falls overboard and swims to shore. He later met General Zaroff, an aristocrat, who also hunts. He told Rainsford that, "We will hunt -- you and I." They are talking in the General's house over champagne. This is man vs man. Indirect characterization occurs here because Zaroff wants to "hunt" Rainford; meaning to kill him.
Next, the hunt begins and Rainsford hides and sets up traps in the heavily vegetated island in various places to try to stop Zaroff. Rainsford hiding in a tree, Zaroff walked up to the tree and blew a big smoke puff up to him. This is man vs nature because they are both in the wilderness trying to survive. In this part of the story, there is indirect characterization because you can infer that Rainsford is using his past experiences so he is being wise.
Laying on the ground is the dead bodyguard, Ivan, who was killed by a trap; a sapling with a knife tied to it. "The knife, driven by the recoil of the springing tree, had not wholly failed." General comes close with Rainsford when he made an escape across the bay. Since the General is still after Rainsford, this is man vs man conflict. Rainsford used his surroundings to his advantage to get away from Zaroff, so it is indirect characterization.
At the end of the story, General Zaroff went back to his room only to be surprised by Rainsford standing behind the curtains. "I am still a beast at bay," he said, in a low, hoarse voice. "Get ready, General Zaroff." Now, they fight till the death of another. However, Zaroff returned to his room, thinking that he would kill Rainsford the next day; a little too confident in himself. (indirect characterization)
The overall conflict in this short story is man vs man. These two men are hunting each other and this is the only way for Rainsford to leave the island. There is also man vs nature from where they are moving around in the jungle and having to survive for three days.