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Red Dead Redemption 2 Pelts Guide: How to get perfect pelts

And where to sell and store pelts in RDR2.

A field full of Bisons in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Image credit: Rockstar Games

While their use isn't immediately obvious, collecting animal pelts in Red Dead Redemption 2 is well worth your time. Not only are the best pelts worth a pretty penny, but they also unlock unique equipment. Here's what to do with pelts in RDR2, including where to store them, where to sell them, and how to get perfect pelts.

To make the most out of the animals you track, you're going to need a few things: binoculars, your horse, and the right type of weapon.

Trading fur and animal pelts was a cornerstone of the frontier economy all the way from the sixteenth century to the start of the twentieth. Dedicated hunters toiled and stored their skins for months to bring them to market, but luckily for us, it's a bit quicker to do so in Red Dead Redemption 2.

With such fastidious attention to detail throughout the game, it's no surprise that pelt trade also plays an important role in Arthur Morgan's journey. Collecting and selling perfect pelts is not just a good source of income and how you access some of Arthur's most stylish garments, but one of the most fun diversions in Red Dead Redemption 2 to boot.

What to do with pelts and where to store them

First off, if you're just trying your hand at pelt collecting - these are the basics.

You've hunted an animal, skinned it, and now the pelt is in your hands. What now?

First, you need to whistle or walk up to your horse, where you can “stow” the skin until you've decided what to do with it. This adds it to your horse cargo menu, so you can find it again either by walking up to your horse and pressing right on the d-pad, or by selecting the Horse Cargo section of a shop menu.

A player-controlled character in Red Dead Redemption 2 approaches his horse to stow away a pelt.
Image credit: Rockstar Games

Once you've stored the pelts on the back of your horse, you can do a few things with them. Sell them at a general store in town, donate them to Mr. Pearson at camp, or most importantly, take your best pelts to the Trapper to craft new equipment. Once you're at the Trapper, sell your skins to him, and they'll appear in his inventory for crafting equipment.

We have a full guide on where to find the Trapper in Red Dead Redemption 2, so take a look at that if you've got some decent skins.

Lower quality pelts that you've stored on the back of your horse aren't safe, however. If you die, it looks like they're gone forever. Don't worry too much about Legendary skins though - if you lose the Legendary Bear Skin, or any other Legendary pelt for that matter, it will be automatically sent to the Trapper so you can craft the unique outfit item that it's linked to. If you can't find the Legendary skin you've looted, try looking at the Trapper.

Where to sell pelts in Red Dead Redemption 2

You can sell pelts to most general stores and some stores that sell hunting equipment in Red Dead Redemption 2. It's probably a better idea to save your best skins for crafting though, since you can make unique items you can't get anywhere else. But if you're looking for a few more dollars to contribute to the camp kitty, there are worse pursuits than trading in spare skins.

In the very early game, the best place to sell your pelts will be in Valentine, since you've got access to different kinds of shops there.

How to get a perfect pelt in Red Dead Redemption 2

Getting a perfect pelt can be finicky to begin with, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be hitting the bulls-eye every time.

To identify an animal which produces a perfect pelt, you need to use binoculars. You can find these in the “kit” tab of your satchel. With the binoculars equipped, hold the left trigger and use the left stick to zoom in.

You can also equip your binoculars from the right hand side of your item wheel.

The Satchel menu screen in Red Dead Redemption 2 which a player is using to equip binoculars.
Image credit: Rockstar Games

Once you've got an animal in view, hold the right shoulder button (R1 on PS4) to study and identify the creature. This will tell you which weapon is best used for a clean kill.

A Red Dead Redemption 2 player enters a first-person mode to look through a pair of binoculars and hunt for animals.
Image credit: Rockstar Games

Next to its name will be three stars. Animals with all three stars filled in can produce a perfect pelt. Two stars is a good pelt, while one star is poor.

But there's still a catch. Being too rough with a skin will damage it and lower its quality, so you can't use too high-powered of a weapon or certain types of ammo to bring down the beast. For example, blasting a raccoon with explosive ammo will damage the resulting skin, regardless of its original quality.

Secondly, you need to try and take down the animal in one hit to get a perfect pelt. Filling the poor creature full of holes will result in a poor quality skin. To do this, you need to score critical or fatal damage on the animal. This is achieved by aiming for the head, neck, or vital organs (heart, lungs).

Headshots will do most of the time - especially if you're using Dead Eye. Level 4 Dead Eye is great for hunting, because it allows you to see the vital organs. It unlocks in chapter 5.

Now that you've found a three star animal, use the weapon it tells to you use when you study it to kill it, and you should receive a three-star pelt when you skin it.

Killing an animal with the weapon it says when you study it is not 100% required to get a perfect pelt, but does make sure. For example, a gray wolf's entry says you can kill it with a bow and poison arrow for a clean kill. However, since it's a "large" animal you can kill it with a rifle and still get a perfect pelt. We've listed the different weapons you can use below.

You can also view this information for each animal in the Compendium. To find the Compendium, enter the pause menu and select "Progress". But the quickest way to see the information is by pressing the right shoulder button (R1 on PS4) while you're looking at an animal through binoculars.

We've listed the different ammo types that you can use to cleanly kill different types of game below:

Weapons and ammo for perfect pelts

A female character in Red Dead Redemption 2 fires the varmint rifle.
Image credit: Rockstar Games
Perfect Pelt typeAnimal typeWeapon typeAmmo type
SmallRats, Bats, Squirrels, Chipmunks, Bullfrogs, Toads, Snakes, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Robins, Woodpeckers, Other Small BirdsBow & ArrowSmall game arrows
ModerateIguanas, Gila Monsters, Rabbits, Armadillos, Badgers, Muskrats, Opossums, Racoons, Skunks, Eagles, Cranes, Hawks, Owls, Other Big BirdsVarmint Rifle0.22 ammo
MediumCayotes, Foxes, Pigs, BeaversBow & Arrow, Throwing Knives, Rifles, Sniper Rifles, LassoNormal Arrows, Poison Arrows, Throwing Knives, Poison Throwing Knives, any Rifle Ammo except Explosive, any Sniper Rifle Ammo except Explosive
LargeTurtles, Small Alligators, Boars, Bucks, Cougars, Panthers, Big Horn Rams, Wolves, Deer, Pronghorns, Goats, Sheep, PeccaryBow & Arrow, Throwing Knives, Rifles, Sniper Rifles, LassoNormal Arrows, Poison Arrows, Throwing Knives, Poison Throwing Knives, any Rifle Ammo except Explosive, any Sniper Rifle Ammo except Explosive
MassiveBears, Bison, Bulls, Elk, Moose, Ox, Cows, Large Alligators.Bow & Arrow, Throwing Knives, Rifles, Sniper Rifles, Slug-firing ShotgunsPoison Arrows, Improved Arrows, Poison Throwing Knives, any Rifle Ammo except Explosive, any Sniper Rifle Ammo except Explosive, and Shotgun Slug rounds

As we mentioned before, as well as using the right ammo and weapon type, you also need to make sure that you score a lethal hit on the animal. Having to shoot them multiple times will most likely result in reducing the quality of the pelt. Aiming for the head and neck is always a good way to go - in addition to using the correct ammo type - but these are our preferred weapons for taking out each class of animal.

Best weapon types for each animal

These are the weapons that we've generally used while hunting, but always double-check with your binoculars and study the animal you're hunting for the right gun to use with every animal.

Animal categoryBest weapon
SmallBow & Arrow
ModerateVarmint Rifle
MediumCarbine Repeater
LargeRolling Block Rifle
MassiveRare Rolling Block Rifle

How to get Perfect Rabbit Pelts and Perfect Bison Pelts

Small animals like rats, bats, squirrels, and snakes are all killed with a bow and arrow, using small game arrows, if you want perfect pelts.

Moderate animals like rabbits, iguanas, raccoons, and large birds like hawks, owls, and vultures are best killed with the varmint rifle with 0.22 ammo for pristine pelts.

For Medium animals like cayotes, foxes, and beavers, we like to use the common carbine repeater with regular ammo to get a clean kill and perfect pelt - just make sure you aim for the head (which is easier with Dead Eye).

Large animals are a little different. With predators like cougars, wolves, and the panther, it's best to use something like the rolling block rifle to go for a headshot from a distance. However, with prey animals like deer, sheep, and pronghorns you can use the same rifle or chase them down with your horse and lasso them. You can then dismount and knife them for a clean kill.

Then for the biggest tier, Massive animals you have a couple of options. These include bears, bison, elk, moose, and even the largest alligators. Either go with the same rolling block rifle - or the rare variant if you have it - or if you're adept at getting close to your target, try using shotgun slugs, or improved arrows. We have a guide on how to upgrade your bow and improved arrows if you need any more help.

A Red Dead Redemption 2 character stands next to and overlooking a dead animal that they hunted.
Image credit: Rockstar Games

We've got plenty more guides to help you get the best out of Red Dead Redemption 2, including a full list of RDR2 cheats, beginners tips to get your started, and locations for all of the best weapons in the game.

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