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Hunting Guide: Tips for Red Dead Online and RDR2 Story Mode

While Red Dead Online may not be getting the December DLC it needs, there are still plenty of enjoyable activities to do in the online multiplayer sandbox. And what’s a more enjoyable activity than picking up your favorite rifle and heading into the great outdoors for some good old-fashioned hunting?

If you’re new to the game (or just don’t spend a lot of time hunting), you may not know much about it. That’s where we come in — hunting is one of my personal most played activities in the game, and I’ve even maxed out the Trader Role! In this hunting guide, we cover hunting tips for Red Dead Redemption 2’s story mode and Red Dead Online (with a focus on online play).

Top 13 Hunting Tips for Red Dead Online & Story Mode

Let’s get started on our list of the best hunting tips for Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online!


Clean Your Guns First

The first step to a successful hunt is ensuring all of your guns are clean and well-oiled. A dirty firearm will suffer from lower stats, which can make one-shotting animals difficult on your hunting trip.

Screenshot of the Lancaster Repeater in Red Dead Redemption 2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

To clean one of your guns, simply highlight it on the weapon wheel. Then press the middle mouse button (PC), square (PlayStation), or X (Xbox) to start. As long as you have at least one gun oil in your inventory, you can clean any weapon at any time. Gun oil can be purchased from general stores or the catalog if you’re running low.


Ensure Your Businesses Are Stocked

This one isn’t a hunting tip per see, but it’s still incredibly important nonetheless. If you’ve purchased the Trader Role or the Moonshiner Role, you’re going to want them fully stocked with products so they can make you money in the background while you go hunting.

Screenshot of enjoyment of Berry Cobbler Moonshine in Red Dead Online
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

This tip is especially important for Traders, as making money with it requires you to do loads of hunting. If you have purchased this role, simply interact with the Butcher Table at your camp and either start a resupply mission or buy them directly for $20.

If you have the Moonshiner Role, you can head over to your shack and buy mash for up to $60. Alternatively, you can complete one or two bootlegger missions to reduce the price.


Study Your Animals

Screenshot of bow hunting in Red Dead Online
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

Before taking the shot on your prey, it’s a good idea to pull out your binoculars and study the animal first. This is useful in single-player, as studying all animals is needed to obtain 100% completion.

If you’re playing online mode and you have the Naturalist Role, you can use your camera to take pictures of them instead. This will allow you to fill out your collection. Once a collection of animals is complete, you can then turn it in for cash and XP rewards!


Use the Right Calibers

One of the neat things about hunting in Red Dead Redemption 2 is how immersive and realistic it is. For example, if you want to get the best quality pelts, you’ll need to use the right caliber weapons for the prey you’re hunting.

Screenshot of purchasing ammo in Red Dead Redemption 2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

There are five different sizes of animals, each requiring their own respective ammo types to kill effectively. Small animals — snakes, robins, and squirrels — are best killed with the Varmint Rifle, which uses .22 rounds.

Moderate and medium-sized animals can all be killed with just about every rifle and repeater. Large and massive animals can only be effectively killed with rifles and sniper rifles.


Use Dead Eye Often

In order to get a clean kill (and secure a perfect pelt), you need to kill the animal in one shot. This can be done by shooting them with the correct caliber weapon in their head or heart. You can see these two weak points much easier if you use Dead Eye, which highlights them in red.

Screenshot of activating Dead Eye in Red Dead Redemption 2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

Additionally, activating Dead Eye while wandering through the wilderness can help you spot animals from a distance. They will be highlighted and give off particle effects. Just make sure you pack some items to refill your Dead Eye core! Coffee, tonics, and alcohol can all be used to keep it sated.

I would also advise you to get some Ability Cards that enhance your Dead Eye. My personal favorite is the “Live For The Fight” Ability Card (unlocked at Level 10), which allows players to slowly regenerate their Dead Eye automatically!


Bring a Hunting Wagon

Image of a hunting wagon from Rockstar Games
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG

Hunting wagons are used to carry around multiple pelts and carcasses at once, meaning you’ll spend more time hunting and less time dropping off your spoils at camp. To unlock a hunting wagon, you must first reach Level 10 in the Trader Role. Then, you can buy one from a stable for $875.00.

After you’ve bought your wagon, just call it from the interaction menu by heading to Stables and then selecting Vehicles. It will spawn almost immediately if you’re near a road. Just make sure you take the weapons you need off your horse first. Calling in the wagon will dismiss them back to the stable!

Something very handy about the hunting wagon is that once you place an animal carcass inside, it will be completely safe from other players looking to steal it. The parts will also stay stored in your hunting wagon between sessions. This lets you leave the game without fear of losing anything you’ve collected!


The Lasso Haul Trick

While using the hunting wagon may be viable for the average player, what if you haven’t unlocked it yet or just can’t afford it? Allow me to let you in on a little trick.

If you manage to kill certain-sized animals (such as deer or pronghorns), you can throw your lasso onto them and drag them around while riding your horse. This allows you to carry two carcasses back to the butcher at once! You can use this trick with the normal lasso, no extra equipment required. Just make sure it’s not a large animal like a bison or a bear.

Screenshot of the Lasso Haul Trick in RDR2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

This trick was especially helpful when I was just starting out in the game, as it allowed me to accumulate animal parts for my Trading business much faster! The best part is, despite being dragged through the mud, your animal carcass won’t go down in quality. Does it make any sense? No, but who cares!


Carry Efficiently

As previously mentioned, you can carry up to two carcasses at once using your lasso. But you don’t have to carry just two carcasses, you know.

Screenshot of carrying a carcass in Red Dead Redemption 2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

Your horse can store multiple pelts on its back at the same time, allowing you to hold more goods at once. You can also store a carcass on the back of it, meaning you don’t have to choose between a whole animal carcass and some pelts.

Taking things a step further, you can hold two small animals on both sides of your horse! In total, you can hold multiple pelts, two carcasses (using the lasso method), and two small animals with you on either side. Now that’s efficient!


Gather Herbs

A good way to kill two birds with one stone in Red Dead Online is to gather some herbs while you’re out hunting! Red Dead’s map features dozens of varieties of berries, roots, and other plants for you to harvest.

Screenshot of gathering herbs in Red Dead Online
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

These herbs can be used to season meat for added benefits, added to Moonshine recipes for extra profits, or crafted into a variety of useful tonics. It’s then a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for these wild plants while hunting.

You can spot them more easily by activating Dead Eye, which highlights them similar to how it highlights animals. It doesn’t really matter if you’re looking for a specific plant or not, as they’re all useful in their own ways. You should gather everyone you can find in case you need it in the future.


The Lasso Knife Trick

Not to be confused with the previously mentioned lasso trick, this one is a bit different. In order to secure a three-star pelt, once you find an animal with one, you need to kill them with the right caliber. But if you don’t have access to the right gun, there is an alternative way you can do things.

Screenshot of the Lasso Knife Trick in RDR2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

Simply ride up to an animal on your horse and lasso them. The animal will turn around and start resisting you. Once you are off your horse, start slowly walking up to the animal and then press the melee button. This will cause you to pull out your knife and get a clean kill.

This is a very good way to secure three-star pelts without any extra purchases, as your lasso and knife are given to you at the start of the game. Obviously using a gun is quicker, but for low-level players and those just starting out the story mode, this tip is a game-changer!


Do Daily Challenges

Most players may prefer to hunt in a specific region or go for a certain animal. However, it’s sometimes more beneficial to gather pelts from different animals thanks to Daily Challenges. These challenges can range from skinning a certain type of animal, donating one type of pelt or carcass to Cripps, or even gathering a specific plant from the wilderness. After completing one, you’ll earn 0.10 gold.

Screenshot of Daily Challenges in Red Dead Online
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

To see view Daily Challenges, simply open up the interaction menu and scroll down to the option that says “Daily Challenges.” From here, you’ll want to check out the “General” and “Trader” categories. These are the ones that feature hunting and gathering challenges.

You can also view them from this website which allows you to see the challenges for the day without even launching the game!


Hunt in The Great Plains (West Elizabeth)

For our second to last Red Dead Redemption 2 hunting tip, we suggest going where the land is plentiful. Perhaps one of the best spots on the map to hunt is in the territory of West Elizabeth. More specifically, in the Great Plains region. The Great Plains features wide open spaces, with mostly grasslands and very few trees or structures obstructing your view. This is important, as it makes spotting animals that much easier.

Screenshot of the Great Plains in Red Dead Redemption 2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

There are plenty of good alternative spots — such as The Heartlands in New Hanover — but none of them are as easy to hunt in as the Great Plains. Additionally, the region is one of the best places on the map to find bison. But why would you want to hunt bison, specifically…?


The Bison Farming Method

This hunting tip is really only useful for high-level players. The method requires you to own a sniper rifle (preferable a Rolling Block Rifle) and the hunting wagon mentioned earlier. Once you have both of these things, simply explore around until you find a heard of wild American Bison.

An image of hunting bison from Rockstar Games
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG

After you locate them, take out your rifle and look around the herd. Be sure to keep track of every three and two-starred bison. Once you’re ready, shoot each of these bison in the head or heart. Try to kill as many of them as you can, but make sure you only do it in one shot!

After that is done, simply drive your wagon up to the corpses. Now you can skin the highest quality pelts and load them up into the wagon one by one. After that, simply join a new session and you should spawn back at the same location. Now, new bison will be spawned in and are ready to be killed again!

This is by far the fastest method to gather up loads of meat and animal parts to donate to Cripps for your Trading business. I always do this when I first join the game. It allows me to spend the session doing whatever I want while my Trading business generates my products.

Join the High Ground

What did you think of our hunting vuide for Red Dead Online and RDR2? Did you learn anything useful? Let us know in the comment section!

Image of a sunrise in Red Dead Redemption 2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG

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Happy gaming!

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