Andreas Weimann’s first-half strike was cancelled out by Hunt after the break as an entertaining game petered out into a draw.
The point means both the Royals and the Hornets have now failed to register a win in their last six league games and stay in the mid-table region of the Championship.
Reading looked the more dangerous early on with Jimmy Kebe lively down the right and after the winger broke clear, he delivered a dangerous ball across the face of the box but the Watford defence were equal to the danger and cleared their lines.
The visitors responded with John Eustace testing Adam Federici before Martin Taylor headed just over the crossbar as the Hornets applied the pressure.
The Royals attacked and after Andy Griffin and Kebe combined brilliantly down the right-hand side, the ball found Jobi McAnuff but his shot went inches wide of the post.
Watford held their own and had a great chance on 21 minutes but Matthew Whichelow could not hit the target with a left-footed strike after he did so well to wriggle his way into the penalty area.
The visitors looked threatening going forward and got their reward on 27 minutes when poor Reading defending allowed Weimann space in the area and the on-loan Aston Villa striker made no mistake as he thumped the ball into the back of the net after his initial shot was blocked.
The Hornets started to dominate and could have gone further in front but 16-goal striker Danny Graham was twice denied spectacularly by Federici while defender Matt Mills had a header that just went wide as the Royals tried to find a way back into the contest.
Scott Loach was called into action on the stroke of half-time when the goalkeeper had to parry a Mikele Leigertwood shot to safety.
Loach had to be alert a minute after the interval when he scrambled McAnuff’s header away but the Royals drew level on 47 minutes when Hunt nodded into an empty goal after Howard’s cross had rebounded off the bar.
The home side pushed hard to find the all-important third goal, with Kebe and McAnuff proving to be a nuisance for the visitors’ defence all afternoon.
Substitute Simon Church wasted a great chance to score the winner on 77 minutes as Kebe laid the ball perfectly into the striker’s path but the Wales international failed to direct his shot on target.
Reading made all the running late on but were unable to find a winner.