There’s something oddly hypnotic about the hunting in Red Dead Redemption 2. Even non-gamers have found themselves losing hours to its pull, killing and cleaning fake animals all the live long day. But for those of us trudging around online, what are the best hunting spots RDR2 Online has to offer? Where do we go to stand among the great hunters and trappers of the West?

For an answer, we turn to the expertise of Rowan “Mama Bear” McGill. 

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The Best Hunting Spots in RDR2 Online

Let’s start big: West Elizabeth is a great state for hunting. Strawberry and its surroundings provide a range of game not unlike those found in the likes of the Heartlands and Scarlett Meadows. Those with a taste for danger will find that Tall Trees is always lousy with angry grizzly bears, and these are always more than happy to tear your face off — or offer up their pelts, provided you’re a good shot with nerves of steel. 

Skinning a Cougar
Following a minor dispute, Rowan begins skinning a cougar / Rockstar Games via HGG

Otherwise, you can head out in search of cougar country — that’d be the Great Plains. Also roaming the Great Plains are herds of bison, which can provide huge dividends for the enterprising hunter. You might be tempted to spring for an elephant rifle to hunt these creatures, but note that an accurate shot with any old rifle will get the job done. If you’re not sure what the buffalo’s vital areas are, you can always use Dead-Eye to suss them out. 

Mama Bear Rowan
Dressed in full “Mama Bear” regalia, Rowan hunts bison on the Great Plains of West Elizabeth / Rockstar Games via HGG

North of Strawberry are the East Watsons, where you can find elk and bighorn sheep and the like. You’ve got to be an accurate shot with a rifle to bring them down cleanly, but elk offer up a litany of resources for traders and simple hunters alike. Squirrels, western chipmunks, turkeys, and pronghorn deer are also endemic to West Elizabeth. 

Shooting an American Pronghorn Buck
Rowan cleanly shoots an American pronghorn buck using a bolt-action rifle / Rockstar Games via HGG

If you want a single state that gives you a nice blend of predator and prey animals of various sizes (without having to brave that godawful bayou), West Elizabeth is the best hunting spot in RDR2 Online

The Best Hunting Spots for Trader Role

Tracking an American Red Squirrel
Rowan tracks down an American red squirrel / Rockstar Games via HGG

For the up-and-coming trader, Lemoyne is home to some prime hunting grounds. Setting up a camp in either Scarlett Meadows or Bayou Nwa is a great way to keep a steady stream of materials flowing toward Cripps. Nearby Rhodes and St. Denis also provide a good outlet for spare animal parts to be sold, and butchers will also buy meat from you, which Cripps does not accept as part of the Trader role. 

Skinning a Boar
Rowan sets about skinning a wild boar

As for the actual wildlife, roundabouts Scarlett Meadows you’ll get a fairly standard spread — white-tailed deer, black-tailed jackrabbits, American red squirrels, and an abundance of wild boars. Head over to Bayou Nwa, and you’ll find game you can’t bag anywhere else. American alligators, alligator snapping turtles, and river snakes all call that stretch of swamplands home. 

American Alligator Awaiting Demise
An American alligator patiently awaits its demise / Rockstar Games via HGG

In sum, Lemoyne is where you want to go when your priority is inundating Cripps with a huge volume of different materials to process into salable goods. If you want a more long-term location where you can engage with any aspect of the Trader role — resupply missions, wagon driving, etc. — you can do better. The terrain of Lemoyne (particularly around Bluewater Marsh and Bayou Nwa) is relatively hostile to drives with precious goods, so you’re better off pitching camp somewhere that’s a little more even-keeled in terms of transportation. 

New Hannover is the state I’d peg for the best all-rounder when it comes to Trader affairs. The Heartlands in particular are wide, open country that’s easily navigable. The wildlife is diverse and plentiful, and the only downside is that you won’t be bagging a vast amount of rare or interesting kills. But if you want to get a true machine going with your trading operation, New Hannover is the place to be. 

On the Hunt: Tips and Tricks

Now that we’ve seen the RDR2 Online best hunting spots, what armaments should one bring on a hunting trip? If you want to make clean kills of any game, you’ll need a rifle, a repeater, a varmint rifle, and a bow. For that bow, you’ll also need to learn the crafting recipe for small game arrows and keep a tidy stock of the things. Another benefit of the bow is that, unlike guns, it doesn’t require any maintenance to remain at peak functionality. There’s no need to use gun oil; there’s no need to even think about it. It’s also a good option for quietly taking out your foes, animalistic or otherwise, and one that’ll give you your used ammo back, to boot. 

A Perfect Kill
Using small game arrows on this western gray squirrel, Rowan nabs a perfect kill / Rockstar Games via HGG

Now, all that said, merely having these weapons doesn’t mean you’ll get the most you can out of them. Take, for example, scopes — both your main rifle and your varmint rifle will benefit from such an option. For the former, the option to shoot big game from afar eliminates the need to manually track down your quarry. For the latter, lofty birds are now much more feasible to shoot down accurately. Opening up your options on the hunting grounds will mean more successful trips, more opportunities to bag perfect kills, and more fun.

Shoot Your Shot
Rowan aligns the shot / Rockstar Games via HGG

This kind of stuff allows you to mix up your approach and experiment with different tactics, keeping your hunts fresh and interesting. In that same spirit, don’t be afraid to pick up bait for your quarry, particularly if the constant need to click both sticks together while tracking becomes tiresome. Truly the best way to hunt is that which keeps you engaged and entertained and not bored out of your mind. 

Hunting Fundamentals: Differences Between Online and Singleplayer 

There are some things you should know about the best hunting spots RDR2 Online has to offer, as well as how Red Dead Online differs from single-player. As with many things online, basic functions readily available to Arthur Morgan are hidden behind paywalls. If you don’t want to pay 25(!) gold to Harriet Davenport, you’ll have to get used to some uncomfortable facts of life. 

Fending Off a Wolf Attack
Rowan uses her Evans repeater to fend off a wolf attack / Rockstar Games via HGG

Foremost among these is that your character — who is well-versed enough in hunting to skin and clean all sorts of animals — doesn’t know how to stab an animal in the heart to put it out of its misery. That means that if you mortally wound an animal, your two options are to either a) shoot it again and mangle the kill, or b) wait for the thing to bleed out, dragging its suffering on and taking a hit to your honor in the process. 

Kill Steal
One must be prepared to deal with thieves — truly, the epitome of a kill-steal / Rockstar Games via HGG

Additionally, regular wilderness camps are locked behind the Naturalist role progression. If you want to do as my Arthur did for a spell — pitch camp just outside Strawberry and make a living as an honest hunter — you’ll either need to shovel time, effort, and money into it or put up with the presence of Cripps (and the fact that you can’t pitch your camp just anywhere). The good news is that rotting doesn’t seem to be a factor in the online, and butchers are not bound to the day-night cycle as they are in the single-player. 

High Ground View

That’s it for the best hunting spots RDR2 Online has to offer! Thanks for reading, and if you found this guide helpful and/or interesting, subscribe to our newsletter for more content like it.

Happy gaming!

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