[Top 5] Red Dead Online Best Animals to Hunt

Red Dead Online Best Animals to Hunt
Dinner to go: A player lines up a shot on a running deer.

What are the best animals to hunt for money in Red Dead Online?

Hunting can be one of the easiest and most reliable ways to make money in Red Dead Online. That said, Red Dead Online’s hunting systems are more complex than those in most full-on hunting games.

There are over 150 different animals to hunt in Red Dead Online, and they are all worth something different to the Butcher. You should try and hunt every animal you see, but some are worth a lot more than others. If you see these more valuable animals in the wild, it’s worth it to take your time and make that clean kill. If that wasn’t enough to keep track of, to score that valuable 3 star pelt or carcass, you’ll need to be sure and use the right weapon and ammo type for the job. 

I’ve spent dozens of hours hunting in Red Dead Online. I’ve stalked prey across every region of the 5 States and skinned every animal in the game. Along the way, I’ve learned the best ways to make money from hunting.

That’s why I’ve put together this list of the top 5 best animals to hunt in Red Dead Online, complete with hunting tips for each to make sure you bag that 3 star skin or carcass. 

Special Notes:

  • The prices listed below are for the Butchers, not the Trader Table at your camp. Cripps uses a different set of prices.
  • Never use explosive ammo to hunt. I may say “Any ammo type” but I DON’T MEAN EXPLOSIVE.
  • Keep animals whole whenever you can. The Hunting Wagon helps with this. If you don’t have room for more carcasses, you can still skin these animals for pretty good money.
  • Animal spawns in Red Dead Online can be unreliable. If you aren’t having any luck using the locations in this guide, try loading into a new online session by opening the Online Menu and selecting Free Roam.

Now, on to the guide. Here are the top 5 best animals to hunt in Red Dead Online.

5. Whitetail Buck

Be vewy quiet: A player stalks a Whitetail deer, rifle at the ready.

Deer are probably the most common animal you’ll come across in the wide world of Red Dead Online. This is a good thing, because hunting deer can be a reliable and easy source of money. You’ll encounter several different species of deer on your travels, but the most valuable is the Whitetail Buck.

Why Hunt Whitetail Bucks?

  • They are common and easy to take down.
  • A 3 star Whitetail Buck carcass sells for $10.00.
  • Skinned, you’ll get 4 Mature Venison, 1 Buck Antlers, and a 3 star Hide. Total value of $6.70.

Whitetail Buck Details:

  • Very skittish.
  • Almost always in a group.
  • Can be found in all regions of the map.
  • Often seen in lightly wooded areas and grassy plains.

How to Hunt Whitetail Bucks

  • Best to approach slowly from a distance. 
  • When hunting a group of deer, use your scope to pick out a 3 star Buck and line up a headshot. That way even if all the rest get away, or you both the shots, you can still claim the most valuable animal.
  • Use a bow with Regular or Poisoned arrows or a Rifle or Sniper Rifle with any ammunition for a clean kill.

4. North American Beaver

Dam you: A beaver contemplates where to build his next dam.

Beavers are small, furry animals found near rivers and lakes in the eastern portions of the map. You can carry two on the sides of your horse, and they are the most valuable animal in that size category.

Why Hunt Beavers?

  • Most valuable small animal.
  • A 3 star North American Beaver carcass sells for $5.25.
  • Skinned, you’ll get 1 Animal Fat, 1 Scent Glands, 2 Stringy Meat, and a 3 star Pelt. Total value of $3.50.

North American Beaver Details

  • Often found in groups.
  • Skittish but not very fast.
  • Spawns commonly near rivers and lakes. 
  • Reliably spawns along the banks of Owanjila lake, just west of Strawberry.

How to Hunt North American Beavers

  • Stay on your horse. It will be easier to see them on the ground from horseback, and when they start to run, you will be easily able to keep up.
  • Use a Varmint Rifle or a Bow with Regular or Poisoned Arrows for a clean kill.

3. American Bison

Oh, give me a home: Though technically not Buffalo, these American Bison roam the plains of Red Dead Online.

The American Bison is one of the most iconic animals of the Old West. It’s also one of the largest animals in Red Dead Online, and since they spawn in large herds, hunting Bison can be a very good way to earn cash. This is especially true if you have access to a Hunting Wagon.

Why Hunt American Bison?

  • It’s exciting. The herd always starts running after the first shot, forcing you to chase on your horse and fire at moving targets while galloping at full speed.
  • Since it’s a Large animal, you can’t take the whole carcass. But skinned, you’ll get 1 Bison Horns, 3 Prime Beef Joints, and a 3 star Bison Pelt. Total value of $7.10.

American Bison Details

  • Prime Beef Joints are one of the better food items to cook at your camp.
  • Found in herds of 6 or more in the Great Plains region and south of Tall Trees.
  • Spawns reliably in the plains just West of Blackwater, which is conveniently close to a Butcher.

How to Hunt American Bison

  • Stay on your horse. They move fast once startled by gunfire.
  • Take your time with the first shot to get a clean kill. You can get pretty close to Bison without scaring them, unlike a lot of other animals.
  • Use a Sniper Rifle with High Velocity Ammo or a Bow with Improved Arrows for a clean kill.

2. American Alligator

Smile for the camera: An alligator suns itself as a train goes by just north of Saint Denis.

Alligators are the best predators to hunt in Red Dead Online because they are not very dangerous, unless you step on one without seeing it. They typically hang around in groups in the swampier regions of the map, and come in two sizes. Both are worth hunting.

Why Hunt American Alligators

  • Easy to find, easier to kill.
  • A 3 star small Alligator carcass sells for $6.50.
  • A 3 star large Alligator must be skinned, but you’ll get 1 Alligator Fang, 5 Big Game Meat, and a 3 star Alligator Skin. Total value of $8.05.

American Alligator Details

  • Can be found on land or mostly submerged in water.
  • Often is groups, and shooting one usually doesn’t scare off the others.
  • If you drop a hogtied NPC or enemy player in front of an Alligator, the Alligator will kill the hogtied person.

Spawns in groups throughout the Bayou Nwa region and the marshy plains north of Saint Denis.

How to Hunt American Alligators

  • Stay on your horse. Alligators are easily spotted from horseback and your horse will warn you before you stumble into one.
  • Avoid going into the water to claim a skin if there are other Alligators around. They are not dangerous on land but can quickly kill you in the water.
  • The sweet spot for a clean kill is very small. Use Deadeye to highlight the brain.
  • Use a Rifle with any ammunition for a clean kill.

 1. Cougar

Bad kitty: A cougar gets the drop on an unsuspecting player and makes a meal out of his spine.

The Cougar is one of the deadliest animals in Read Dead Online. Fortunately, it's also the second most valuable. (Technically, the Panther beats it by a whole $0.50, but good luck getting a Panther to spawn in RDO.) Take care when trying to bag a Cougar; the hunter can quickly become the hunted!

Why Hunt Cougars?

  • The thrill of hunting something that can and will hunt you back.
  • A 3 star Cougar carcass sells for $13.50.
  • Skinned, you’ll get 1 Cougar Fang, 2 Big Game Meat, and a 3 star Cougar pelt. Total value of $7.00.

Cougar Details

  • Almost always spawns alone.
  • If a cougar sees you before you see it, it will show as a red dot on your minimap.
  • Spawns in woodland areas and in the plains south of Benedict Point
  • Reliably spawns in the cluster of buildings located to the southwest of Manzanita Post.

How to Hunt Cougars

  • Approach the area with caution.
  • Cougars tend to blend in with their surroundings so keep a sharp eye out. Watch for the red dot on your minimap.
  • Use a Rifle with any ammunition or a Bow with Poisoned Arrows for a clean kill.

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As a Texas native with a natural resistance to Heat damage, Phillip has made a lifetime of escaping into digital worlds where he can explore new lands and craft epic tales of adventure!
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: The Surge 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout 4, Grand Theft Auto V, Dying Light

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