Red Dead Redemption 2’s hunting mechanics are more in-depth than they are in most dedicated hunting games. You not only have to worry about tracking and taking down game, but what you use to do it.
The hundreds of species, the different ammo types, the different weapons, the tactics and equipment make it incredibly involved. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Worry not, as we’re here to walk you through it, to guide to you the right spots, and to help you bag perfect pelts.
Red Dead Redemption 2 hunting guide
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
Red Dead Redemption 2 hunting tips
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.
Red Dead Redemption 2 - how to get clean hunting kills
As mentioned above, 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.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Legendary Animal locations
Looking for the best pelts for the trapper? Here are the legendary animal locations in Red Dead Redemption 2.
- 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
Red Dead Redemption 2 animal locations and habitats
So, you now know exactly what to do with each animal you encounter. The only problem is, where do you find the buggers? Here I’ll break down animal habitats for you so you can head off to bag your trophies.
I’m not going to list every animal in the game because I will be dead before I’ve finished. Some of the animals can be found across large portions of the map anyway - those damn badgers are everywhere. Instead, I’ll list some of the hardest animals to track down.
Need some bat wings or stringy meat? Here’s where to look:
Armadillo, iguana and gila monster locations
If you want armadillo skin, you’re going to need to ride past Blackwater and into New Austin. Appropriately, these are all around the outskirts of the town of Armadillo. You can also find gila monsters and iguana around here:
Whether you want scent glands or beaver fur, these little critters can be tough to track down. You will find a patch of them to the West of Strawberry, around a lake. You can also find some under the ‘E’ and ‘R’ of ‘NEW HANOVER’. Here’s a look:
As far as I know, there are two spots for bulls. If you want bull horns, prime beef, or pelts, here’s where you need to go:
If you need condor feathers, there’s only one place to get them and it’s just to the West of Tumbleweed in New Austin:
These are tricky to track down as well, but here’s where you can find some crustacean meat:
These small birds can be difficult to track down, so head to these locations to get those cedar waxwing feathers:
For other animal species, just use a bit of common sense. Pigeons scavenge in Saint Denis, gulls are by the coast, farm animals are in farms, and amphibians are by lakes and rivers.
The Bayou North of Saint Denis features its own habitat and hosts species such as bullfrog, alligators, cranes, egrets, and turtles. New Austin is home to desert-dwelling animals.
Check out our Red Dead Redemption 2 Legendary Fish guide if you want to hunt the relaxing way. You can also check out our guide on how to get perfect pelts and where to sell them.
Now that you've got to grip with the basics, here's our guide to the best weapons in Red Dead Redemption 2. If you want to get rich quick, find a fence or want to know where to hunt legendary animals, then check out our complete Red Dead Redemption 2 guide here.