Hunting is integral to the gameplay of Red Dead Redemption 2. There are lots of things you can do once you have killed the animal. However, tracking them down is not that easy and using this Red Dead Redemption 2 Hunting Guide will ensure that you at least know what you are doing.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Hunting
Before we look at how to track down animals, let’s go ahead and take a look at all of the animals that you can find in RDR2. You will be hunting down in the wild these animals:
How to Track Animals
Usually, you can see animals such as rabbits and deer running around when you are in the wild.
If you do not see them, you can press the L3 and the R3 buttons at the same time to go into your “Eagle Eye” mode in which you can press your bumper buttons to start tracking animals. This will give you a trail to an animal nearby.
Once you exit your “Detective” mode, you will still be able to see the trail. Follow it to the animal and then you will have the chance to kill it which is a process that is quite simple. All you need to do is to use the weapon and shoot the animal.
You can read any animal you come across by pressing R1/RB. Studying animals helps you to identify the quality of the animals and also adds it your progress tracker. Animals have ratings which we can see with the name of the animal. You can hunt animals depending on the ratings.
One star – Poor
Two Stars – Good
Three Stars – Pristine
If you are somewhere far away from an animal then you use your binoculars in order to check the ratings of that animal.
On our way, we want to hunt as many Pristine animals as we can because that is going to give you perfect pelts
What to Do with Pelts and Meat
You can get the meat and set up camp to cook food and restore your vitals. You can also take the pelt but the best course of action is to take the carcass back to camp on your horse and have the gang eat it.
This can be done by donating the hunted animals to the gang’s butcher, Pearson.
They will stay happy this way and donating will allow you to have pelts for future crafting. It will also increase your honor which will only be beneficial in the end.
Whole carcasses also sell for more than skinned animals. So it’s ideal to keep the pelt intact to the animal as you choose whether to donate it back at the camp or sell it for gear at the Hunter.
Hunting Legendary Animals
There are going to be Legendary Weapons in the game. They are unique beasts which are found in the game’s world, but they are very rare.
Once you have killed a Legendary Animal, you can salvage its parts and take them to a trapper who will make unique clothes from it. There are over 200 species of animals in the game so it will be difficult to find all of the Legendary Animals.
However, you should definitely try to kill these animals whenever you get the chance. Although you might be better off if you do not actively search for them and instead focus on other, more important objectives that will have a much higher yield.
Animal Quality and Damage Mechanics
Each animal in the game has a quality which is essentially an indicator of how healthy it is. Animals of better quality have better pelts than those of poorer quality.
There are a total of 3 different quality standards which can be viewed in the info window or in the inspect tab when you inspect an animal using the L2/LT button.
The 3 quality standards are poor, good and pristine. In a perfect world, you want to get the pristine quality as much as possible. However, that will not be possible in every situation so you might need to settle for less in certain situations.
You can also deal with different types of damage to animals, which are the following:
This damage is dealt to the vital organs. Doing fatal damage ensures that the target dies in a single bullet. It is very hard to hit these organs since their area is quite small.
Dead Eye ability can be used once it is at level 4 or higher in order to have the vital organs glow red when your crosshair is near them.
This damage is dealt when you hit critical organs like the lungs. It may not be fatal but it does a lot of damage.
Having the Dead Eye ability on Rank 5 can be a big help as it makes the critical organs glow red. Organs with critical damage usually bleed and cause the animal to slow and then collapse.
This is the standard variant of damage which has absolutely no bonuses and works similar to the damage mechanic found in most games.
For each animal size, there is a different weapon that would be perfect for killing them. We will be taking a look at each animal size, all of the animals which qualify in that size and the weapon(s) that would be perfect for killing them.
Note, even when you’re using the optimal weapons, always go for a head-shot to ensure a perfect pelt at the demise of the animal you’ve hunted.
Small Game Arrow (Bow)
|Poison Arrow (Bow)
Big Horn Ram
|Poison Throwing Knife
Poison Arrow (Bow)
|Poison Arrow (Bow)
Improved Arrow (Bow)
Poison Throwing Knife
Although the aforementioned firearms are the way to go, sometimes you’ll have a hard time executing the shot.
In such cases, you may benefit from using a lasso in Dead Eye Mode and hog-tying an animal just like you would a human bounty. Although you’ll end up killing the animal by stabbing it in the heart, so the quality of the pelt may be compromised.
A horse can store up to three carcasses at a given time. One of a medium-sized animal like a deer and two smaller carcasses to each side, like a snake, rabbit, etc.
However, you can increase this capacity by having three more horses accompany your primary horse so you can store up to 12 Animal Carcasses.
This makes the hunting trip much more efficient and productive. It should be noted though these carcasses won’t stay fresh for long as pelts eventually decay depending on the time they’re left out in the open or the weather conditions.
Therefore, hurry to your destination and turn them in for cash, food or crafting resources as soon as you can.
We require clean headshots in order to get perfect pelts and also to maintain the quality of the animals. To get make these clean headshots, you have to position your weapon at the perfect angle so you do not shoot any other part of the animal. Make sure to level yourself with the ground the animal is standing on so you can get a clean headshot.
Use Dead Eye if you are having trouble hitting an animal. But, even when you are using Dead Eye, be cautious and hit the animal on the right place as we don’t want to reduce the quality of the animal. Wait until you can make a clean headshot and don’t rush your hunts as that isn’t going to benefit anyone.
There are a total of 2 types of different hunting accessories. The first one is the cover scent. A cover scent can mask your smell which will make it difficult for animals to figure out where you are so that you can sneak up close to them.
The second kind of accessory is the bait which will attract wild animals based on the type of bait that you have. Simply drop it on the ground and then hide nearby, waiting for the animal to come. A fresh carcass can also be used for this purpose.
There’s also a bonus item that you can purchase from the Fence after the vendor is unlocked for you when you’ve completed the “Exit Pursued by a Bruised Ego” mission with Hosea.
Before you can do that, however, you will need to hunt down a Legendary Buck west of Mount Shan in Strawberry.
Put down the animal and collect its antlers and bring it back to any Fence so to craft the Buck Antler Trinket. This unique item will automatically increase your chances to get higher-quality pelts and carcasses when hunting animals.