How-To Kill Animals in Red Dead Redemption

Members of PETA, you get a warning on the first line: if fake violence against nonexistent animals offends you, steer clear right now.

One of the my favorite diversions in Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption is hunting, and the Hunter challenges. There’s a few challenges that are pretty tough, so I thought I’d give a run down on a couple, in case you’re looking to employ some strategy while decimating the wild life.

The challenges I’ll break down are:

  • Master Hunter, Rank 3: Kill 5 wolves with your melee knife and collect 5 pelts
  • Master Hunter, Rank 4: Collect 5 boar tusks and 3 armadillo carapaces in addition to those you already have
  • Master Hunter, Rank 5: Kill 2 cougars with your melee knife and collect 2 cougar pelts

OK, here we go.

Kill 5 Wolves using the melee knife

Depending on your implementation of just ONE key strategy, this can either be extremely difficult, or a walk in the park. Number rule for winning the wolf knife fight: keep the pack in front of you at all times. Sound simple? Well it is if you’re paying attention. The pack’s mentality is to surround you and they will try; keep moving and strafing, with your knife ready. If you have to, even charge one to keep them from closing in. If you can keep them in front of you, I don’t care how many there are, one or two well-timed swipes of your knife will take them down, one by one.

Bottom line, if they’re coming straight at you, you’re good. If they’re coming at you from the side, or worse, from behind, you’re in deep fertilizer.

Kill 5 Boars and 3 Armadillos

Two things will make this challenge easy for you: location of Armadillos in New Austin, and strategy for not getting trampled by boars.

First, the armadillos. You’ll get typically receive the level 4 Master Hunter challenge before reaching Mexico, so I’m focusing on armadillo locations in New Austin. Start by going West from Armadillo until you hit Jorge’s Gap; it’s just South of Odd Fellow’s Rest. Jorge’s Gap is a narrow trench that runs from South of Armadillo, into Odd Fellow’s Rest. The armadillos are literally scurrying around in the trench. The first time I went in there I saw three, right next to each other. Three bullets, two seconds, and one dead eye later – half my challenge was done.

Second, killing boars. They’re only dangerous when they charge you. Either kill them from afar using repeater or rifle to get a head shot, or try something a little more daring with a shotgun. If you’re going from distance, do it fast and quiet. Boars don’t travel in tight packs, but if you’re making noise or lingering around a second or third will notice and charge, or run off, scaring the others.

If you want to get up close, and you’re not particularly attached to your horse, ride in with a shotgun ready and try some dead eye up in close quarters. The reason why you ride in is so you can either a) bolt on the horse or b) let the damn horse take a hit and all you suffer is a fall.

Kill 2 cougars with your knife

This is the deadliest Master Hunter challenge you will face before level 8, easily. The key is location, timing, and some leveling of the playing field. First, location. Go North of McFarlane’s Ranch, past the railroad, and slightly West. If you can see the river/creek that runs all the way down from Aurora Basin, you’re too far East. There’s a spot where the train tracks bend East, just beyond that is a hill – that hill is where you want to be. It’s the spot where your map should show a boar icon.

Second, time. On the hill’s incline (not at the top, but actually the side of the hill), at night, but especially early morning hours, you will encounter one, two, or even three cougars, some times all at once. You can find some during the day time, but far less frequently than between 12Am and 6Am.

Last, even the playing field. Again, if you’re not attached to your horse, stay on it. Cougars are deathly quiet (pun intended) and stay low to the ground. Often you won’t see a cougar coming, you’ll only hear its terrifying snarl as it tears you to the ground. At least this way the horse gets mangled and you just have to get on your feet quickly. This is the most important part: shoot the cougar. Yes, I know it’s a knife challenge. The difference between the wolf knife challenge and this one, is that a cougar will easily survive a pistol or revolver shot to the leg. Use dead eye for accuracy, and put one round into one of its legs. It might try and run, in which case just chase it, it’s hobbled anyway.

Even when it’s weakened, it’s still dangerous and will still knock you down if it attacks. Knife it when it jumps at you; you should be able to finish it in two knife swipes. If two or more cougars are around, go into dead eye and put a round into each of them, aiming for the leg, then use the wolves strategy.


If you use these strategies, you should be able to ace these challenges easily. Hit the comment box to boast of your victory over the local wildlife, or if you have some tips of your own, or if you’d like to verbally skin me if some of these didn’t work for you.

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