Red Dead Redemption 1 hunting missions and Master Hunter guide

Red Dead Redemption
(Image credit: Rockstar)

Red Dead Redemption hunting challenges can be undertaken between story missions to up John's hunting rank and eventually reach Master Hunter. There are 10 of these hunting missions to complete, ranging from skewering some little critters all the way up to bringing down legendary beasts. Either way, you'll skin and butcher your quarry for profit, as hunting can be pretty lucrative in Red Dead Redemption. However, that's not to say hunting is easy, as many of these creatures can be pretty elusive. If you're stuck looking for a particular animal, or don't know how to complete a mission, we've laid out plenty of tips and maps for Red Dead Redemption hunting missions below.

If you've picked up the Undead Nightmare DLC, check out our Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare mythical creatures guide.

Red Dead Redemption hunting tips

  • Bring the Bait: In this guide, you’ll discover some of the best locations to find each animal in Red Dead Redemption. That said, these are just approximate locations and often to find your prey you’ll need to survey the surrounding area as well. While some exploration is impossible to avoid, one way to make your search easier to bring and employ bait. Each time you use a container of bait, an animal or group of animals near your location will come to investigate. There’s no guarantee you’ll attract the animal you need, but it’s still better than searching randomly.
  • Come Back Later: Sometimes all the waiting and searching in the world will yield you nothing. If you find yourself exploring the same areas over and over again and coming up empty handed, the best thing to do may just be to wait a while and come back later. The passage of a few days can sometimes make a big difference.
  • Never Go Home Empty Handed: Hunting takes time, especially when you’re hunting for something in particular. As such, if you find yourself ready to give up on that one elusive animal, hunt a few of the not so elusive ones. If you’ve used bait and a pack of wolves shows up rather than the cougar you were hoping for, don’t just pass up on the wolves. That bait cost money and those wolf pelts are valuable!
  • Double Tap: Small animals don’t take much to kill. Shoot a raccoon and chances are it will die. Hit a bear with a pistol round on the other hand, and it will probably just keep coming. Even more common animals like deer can take more than a single shot to bring down. The point is, unless you score a headshot, shoot twice. This is especially true when using Dead Eye.

Hunting mission 1

Collect 5 Coyote pelts.

This early mission is incredibly easy. Coyotes are very common in the wild and you shouldn’t have much trouble finding five to kill and skin.

Coyote Locations:

Hunting mission 2

Collect 5 Deer pelts.

Deer in Red Dead Redemption are not hard to find at all. Just riding between MacFarlane Ranch and Armadillo you’ll likely see more than five. Kill them and take their hides as your own.

Deer Locations:

Hunting mission 3

Kill 5 Wolves with your knife and collect 5 Wolf pelts.

While these objectives aren’t overly difficult, the requisite of using your knife rather than a gun does make things more difficult. The wolves themselves shouldn’t be hard to find since they show up all over the place. That said, knifing them can be a pain. The key is to just be quick about it. Pick one and kill it before the rest of the pack can come to its rescue. Continue this until they’re all dead.

Wolf Locations:

Hunting mission 4

Collect 5 Boar tusk and 3 Armadillo carapaces, not counting those already in your possession.

This is probably the first mission that will give you much trouble. This is for a number of reasons. Killing armadillos? That’s easy. Killing boars? Not so much. While a headshot will bring them down the same as it does anything else, boar are nonetheless fast and powerful. More often it will find you before you find it, and your first sign of its presence will be it ploughing you over. The key here is to activate Dead Eye the second you realise there’s a boar coming for you. 

Beyond this, boars can just be hard to find. Even in their regular nesting grounds, it is more or less random as to whether you’ll spot one. It can take several days to find one, let alone enough for five tusks.

Boar Locations:

Armadillo Locations:

Hunting mission 5

Kill 2 Cougars with your knife and collect 2 Cougar pelts.

Like the boar, the cougar will generally be on top of you before you even know it's there. The difference is that the cougar is both faster and more powerful. Two hits from this bad boy will generally be enough to leave you in the dirt, so keep your eyes open and your knife ready.

Cougar Locations:

Hunting mission 6

Collect 5 Raccoon pelts, 5 Fox pelts and 5 Skunk pelts.

While these critters lack the raw killing power of your previous prey, they are hard as hell to find and you need a lot of them. The key here is persistence. Keep it up and you will eventually find what you need. Try hunting at night, as the nocturnal nature of these animals has them out more often when the sun has set, and make sure you use a smaller caliber weapon. Some smaller animals seem have a chance of just plain exploding if you shoot them with a powerful rifle, leaving them quite unharvestable.

Raccoon Locations:

Fox Locations:

Skunk Locations:

Hunting mission 7

Collect 5 Elk meat and 5 Bighorn skins, not counting those already in your possession.

The difficulty here is again that elk and bighorn are rare and generally located in a single area. This means that you’re in for a long hunt. Just be persistent and eventually you’ll accumulate the goods you need.

Elk Locations:

Bighorn Locations:

Hunting mission 8

Kill a Bear with your melee knife and collect a Bear pelt.

Bears are vicious, brutal animals and chances are that the first time you encounter one it’s going to tear you apart. You only need to kill one bear by you must kill it using just your knife which can be real challenge. Keep at it, don't push your luck, and dodge often - eventually you should catch a break. You can use Dead Eye to slow down time for the knife as well as weapons, so try it out if you’re having difficulties.

Bear Locations:

Hunting mission 9

Hunt “Khan” the Jaguar and collect his pelt.

This is the first of two missions dealing with legendary animals. Khan the jaguar can be found in Ojo Del Diablo. He can be hard to find so bring some bait with you, and when you do encounter him don’t bother trying to be impressive with your knife. Khan is fast and tough, so just put a bullet to him and be done with it.

Khan Location:

Hunting mission 10

Hunt “Lobo” the Wolf, “Gordo” the Boar, and “Brumas” the Bear.

This last hunting mission requires you to track down three legendary animals scattered at different points across the land. Lobo can be found in the Aurora Basin, Gordo near Stillwater Creek and Brumas near Nekoti Rock. The same deal applies as with Khan; find the legendary animals, kill them and skin them.

Lobo Location:

Gordo Location:

Brumas Location:

Congratulations, you are now a Legendary Master Hunter and can obtain Vittles from skinning animals to restore your health!

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Stewart has been a freelance journalist writing for titles like GamesRadar, GamePro, IGN, UGO Entertainment, and more for over 13 years. He covers features, walkthroughs, reviews, and more in the video game space.