Hunting is a major part of Red Dead Redemption 2. Here are some tips to help you make sure you’re getting the most out of your time hunting and finding the best kills.
Hunting is mainly useful for three things: meat, pelts, and crafting items. If you want to keep your health core high, wear the best clothes, and craft the best ammo, hunting is your bread and butter. Here are just some of the things you can do with hunting goods:
- Setting up a campfire and cooking meat is one of the easiest ways to keep Arthur working at maximum capacity
- Animal parts can be used by a campfire to craft, such as animal fat for explosives and feathers for special arrow types
- Carcasses and animal parts can be donated to Pearson at camp, both as contributions and to unlock upgrades
- Animal carcasses and parts can be sold to butchers for profit
- You can use certain body parts to craft Talismans at fences, permanently boosting your stats
- Skinning animals works towards your Master Hunter challenges and towards Red Dead Redemption 2’s best outfit
First off, you should avoid going for animals under three star-quality where you can help it. When you spot your prey at a distance – make sure you stay downwind so they don’t pick up your scent, visible in Eagle Eye mode – pull out your binoculars. Study the animal and it should give you a star rating on their pelt. Three stars – Pristine – is what you want.
As our Red Dead Redemption 2 pelt guide points out, you then need to use the correct ammunition on the animal to keep the pelt at high quality. You also need to go for kill shots, rather than repeatedly firing at them.For the biggest animals, like bears and elk, you can use rifles to take them down. Again, focus on getting headshots for the cleanest kills to yield better carcass quality. If you’re having trouble landing those clean kills, especially on small animals, you can use Dead Eye to target a specific point.
The quality of your kill is about using the right ammunition (which you can check in the compendium), as well as making a clean kill. All animals have kill spots that you can target for an instant kill. These areas are highlighted in red once you reach Level 4 of Dead Eye.
Unlocked in Chapter 5, this Dead Eye upgrade makes your reticle turn red when close to a vital organ such as the brain or the heart. Hit these small targets for an instant kill. Be aware that you also have to account for penetration, though – animals with thick skulls, for example, can only be taken down instantly with high-velocity cartridges and powerful rifles.
Hunting Animals Locations
Looking for the best pelts for the trapper? Here are the hunting animal locations:
- Legendary Fox – North of the fence in Rhodes
- Legendary Bullgator – West of Lakay in the Bayou
- Legendary Elk – East of Bacchus Station, North of Fort Wallace
- Legendary Cougar – West of Tumbleweed, in Gaptooth Ridge
- Legendary Coyote – Northwest of Rhodes, in Scarlett Meadows
- Legendary Wolf – West of Bacchus Bridge, Cotorra Springs
- Legendary Buck – Northwest of Strawberry
- Legendary Boar – North of Lagras, Bluewater Marsh
- Legendary Beaver – Southwest of Butcher Creek
- Legendary Bharati Grizzly Bear – North of O’Creagh’s Run, Grizzlies East
- Legendary White Bison – West end of the Grizzlies, Lake Isabella
- Legendary Giaguaro Panther – West of Shady Belle, Lemoyne (only available after completing Rank 9 in the Master Hunter challenge)
- Legendary Tatanka Bison – Southeast of MacFarlane’s Ranch, Hennigan’s Stead
- Legendary Moose – Northeast edge of the map, Roanoke Ridge
- Legendary Bighorn Ram – West of Valentine, Cattail Pond
- Legendary Pronghorn – East of Fort Mercer, Rio Del Lobo Rock
Alternative Hunting Method
Your lasso is good for more than just wrangling your enemies. You can use it to tie up and kill animals too. If you do choose to use this method, be prepared to stab the animal you wrangle in the heart. This doesn’t work for small animals like rabbits or anything smaller, but if you can follow it on your horse, the lasso will work.
Don’t forget to use Dead Eye if you’re having a hard time landing the lasso! Get as close as you can to the animal and when the reticle turns red, throw your lasso at the animal. Arthur will immediately get off his horse when he catches an animal.
This kind of precise kill will always give you a perfect pelt if you hunted an animal in pristine condition.