How to Get Perfect Pelts in Red Dead Redemption 2 Guide – Upgrade Your Satchel, Create Unique Gear!

Get yourself some perfect pelts to craft you some awesome and unique items in Red Dead Redemption 2.

Our Red Dead Redemption 2 Perfect Pelts Guide will walk you through everything you need to know to master the art of getting the clean kills required of you to get the top quality pelts. These pelts can be used for upgrading your satchel, and creating unique rare gear that will have you feeling like the ultimate hunter!

Why Do I Need Perfect Pelts?

Perfect Pelts are very useful for upgrading things like your Satchel, which will increase your ability to carry more items. You can upgrade your tonics, ingredients, kit, provisions, materials, and valuables satchels. If you craft all of these, you will then be able to craft the Legend of the East Satchel which will greatly expand the capacity for all types of items!

If you want to look like the ultimate hunter, you can also take these perfect pelts to the trapper and combine them with some of your legendary animal pelts to create unique gear that will have you looking like a mountain man in no time!

Find the Animals

If you are looking for a particular animal, you can go to your map and zoom in on it pretty close and you will start to see animals on it. This encourages you to travel everywhere you can to open up the map and helps a lot when wanting to track down a specific animal. You can also guess where animals might be based on the biomes of the particular parts of the map. For example, Alligators are going to be in the swamp parts of the map, so to the east near Lagras is your best bet.

Observe the Animal & Kill the Right Grade

Your first step to getting one of those perfect pelts you are after is to either bring out your binocular or to target an animal. Near the animal type at the bottom right of the screen you will find stars. This signifies the grade of the animal, and there are three grades: poor, good, and perfect quality. You are going to need to find the three star animals if you want the best pelt. This might take a bit of searching the various locations on the map that have the type of animal you are looking to skin, but it shouldn't be a big problem.

Study the Animal

Be sure to study every particular animal type you come across because this information is useful when trying to get perfect pelts. You will need to use a specific weapon to get a clean kill, and getting a clean kill is the only way to get the perfect pelts. Now, once you've studied the animal, you an show info on it if you are targeting one of them and it will tell you in the description which weapon you need to use. Here's an example of a description:

American Bison - Pristine

Yields a pelt, a horn and bison meat. Used in crafting and cooking or can be sold. Use a rifle for a clean kill.

That part about the rifle for a clean kill is the information we needed!

Know Your Animal Sizes

There are five animal sizes that are useful to know because they correspond with the weapon you are going to need to use to get the clean kill. Small, Moderate, Medium, Large, and Massive. Here's a full list of where each animal that is in the game fits into these groups:


  • Reptiles: Bullfrog, Toad, Snake
  • Birds: Blue Jay, Cardinal, Waxwing, Crow, Oriole, Pigeon, Robin, Songbird, Sparrow, Woodpecker, Carolina Parakeet, Chicken, Duck, Loon, Parrot, Pheasant, Quail, Raven, Booby, Rooster Gull
  • Mammals: Bat, Squirrel, Rat, Chipmunk


  • Birds: Eagle, Crane, Cormorant, Egret, Hawk, Heron, Owl, Pelican, Spoonbill, Turkey, Vulture, Condor, Goose
  • Reptiles: Iguana, Gila Monster
  • Mammals: Rabbit, Armadillo, Badger, Muskrat, Possum, Raccoon, Skunk


  • Mammals: Coyote, Fox, Pig, Beaver


  • Mammals: Boar, Buck, Cougar, Panther, Big Horn Ram, Wolf, Deer, Pronhorn, Goat, Sheep Peccary
  • Reptiles: Alligator (Small), Turtle


  • Mammals: Bear, Bison, Bull, Elk, Moose, Ox, Cow
  • Reptiles: Alligator

Use the Right Weapon

Now that you know your animal size groups, let's take a look at what weapon will yield a perfect pelt based on the size of the animal.

For your small animals, you will want to use a Bow with the Small Game Arrow for the clean kill. You can't buy these from a shop, so go to a campfire or start a camp and go to the crafting menu, and under Ammo you will find Arrow - Small Game. You need 1x Flight Feather, 1x Arrow, and 1x Regular Shotgun Shell to craft one. The feathers are going to be the most annoying part, you should have plenty of the rest. Birds are pretty easy to find though, just run around on your horse and scare some into the air.

For the moderate sized animals, you will want to get yourself a Varmint Rifle. This can be bought at a gun store, and is only really useful for hunting and getting the perfect pelts from these smaller animals.

Medium animals have multiple different options for you to use. You can use a Bow with either a normal or poison arrow, throwing knives, repeater, regular rifles, and sniper rifles.

If you want to hunt down a large animal, you can only use a bow with a normal or poison arrow, poisoned throwing knife, rifle, or snipe rifle.

Finally, for the massive animals, you can use a bow with a poison or improved arrow, poisoned throwing knife, rifle, sniper rifle, and you can even use a shotgun but with slug ammunition.

Aim for the Vital Spots to Get Clean Kills

Now that you have the right weapon for your query, you are going to need to kill it with one fatal shot. This can be fairly simple, but there's a bit more to this than meets the eye. Obviously, for just about every animal you can just aim at the head and this will usually be enough to 1-shot whatever you are hunting. However, if you have upgraded dead eye available to you, then you can see the animal's vital areas. You will notice these when you enter dead eye, the target will have red areas on it, these are the spots you can target and get a clean kill with. Normally, it's the brain, heart, and stomach that are aglow. This can come in handy if you are in an awkward position and you don't have an easy shot on the head.

Use Cover Scent Lotion

If you are going to be hunting a lot, then you'll want to make sure not to spook the animals. You can use Cover Scent Lotion, which is purchasable at the general store, to cover your scent and make it so the animals you are targeting are less likely to run away from you and make your hunt more difficult.

Use Baits to Attract Animal

If you are having trouble tracking down a particular animal you can use a bait. Go to the area with the animal you are looking to get a pelt from and place either a Carnivore or Herbivore bait. The type you choose is based on the type of animal, is it a predator like a wolf or a bear? Then you'll use the carnivore bait, if it's a grazing animal that doesn't eat meat then you'd use herbivore bait. You can purchase these from the general store.

Legendary Animals

If you are wanting to hunt down legendary beasts then the above information is not very helpful! They are completely different, and you'll need to track them down to specific spots on the map. They don't have graded pelts, it's always legendary no matter how you kill them. You also can only kill them once, and then they are gone for good. To learn more about these, check out our Legendary Animal Guide!

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About the Author

Shaun aka Evident is a lifelong gamer and creator of websites. He mostly focuses on shooters, but has been known to dabble in the occasional card game as well. You can find him binge watching TV shows in his downtime.

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