I would like to know if you are required in RDR2 to hunt or otherwise kill animals in order to sustain yourself or to progress through the storyline.

I would love to buy the game to explore its huge open world, which is more of a reason for me to play than to achieve the game's real objective.

But then, while it does not bother me too much having to kill adversaries in a game, I think having to kill an animal would ruin it for me.

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    I don't feel it's appropriate to question the OPs personal feelings towards killing animals in a game. If you feel you don't understand their viewpoint enough to help answer the question - I'd recommend remaining silent on the matter. The question as written is straightfoward and does not require judgement of the OPs personal values.
    – Bilkokuya
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 11:20
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    @Bilkokuya That is a fair point but keep in mind that, except from the very first sentence, everything else is about the OP feelings. If the OP doesn't want his personal feelings questioned he shouldn't put then in the question in the first place.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 11:11

5 Answers 5


All (or at least, much) of the crafting requires skins/pelts from animals (in particular, inventory expansions). Someone who has played more than me could tell you if you can buy these from traders in the game, but my experience so far has been that there's a fair amount of hunting required. You also need to supply the camp with food and the 'normal' way to do that is via hunting though in theory I think you can just give the camp $$ to take care of that.

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    Okay, your answer is much appreciated! I think this would probably ruin it for me, so I'll keep looking for another game. I just want to note that I do not want to be judgemental towards other people. I just want to make sure that I enjoy the game before I spend a lot of money on it.
    – tigrefurry
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 14:39
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    Once you've upgraded the camp (tent upgrades - requires $), the camp contributions and your own are more than good enough to cover for all supplies (food/medical/ammo). I haven't really brought in any food since chapter 2 (now on chapter 5) and the pelts I brought in were for decorative/satchel reasons, not a requirement.
    – Flater
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 7:00

There are two main story missions that involve hunting that can't be avoided. The first one involves hunting two deer in the first chapter of the game. The second one involves hunting a bear early in the second chapter.

There are also some parts of the story where you have to shoot wild animals like wolves, especially in the first chapter. And you will run across aggressive animals while roaming free as well, and they'll kill you if you don't shoot them first.

The crafting aspects also involve animal products, but you can probably ignore them. The advantages are relatively minor, it's mostly just increased inventory size. You can also buy the improved satchels after the end of the main story without hunting.

You need to eat somewhat regularly in the game, but you can buy food in stores. It's much cheaper to hunt and cook, but it's easily possible to survive without hunting. I don't think anything happens if you don't provide provisions to the camp, but I never tested that fully.

But in general, if you strongly dislike hunting it's the wrong game for you. I would also warn you that many aspects of hunting are very realistic. If you don't hit the deer fatally, they will make heartbreaking sounds until you kill them. If you strongly dislike even virtual animals suffering, don't play the game.

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    +1 for the last sentence. The hunting is baked into the game.
    – Mixxiphoid
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 19:50
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    The two missions mentioned above are unavoidable. The crafting is avoidable as it's purely for upgrades, I don't have any. Aggressive animals, I suppose you could avoid/ outrun and or just let them kill you and you spawn nearby. As for food, you make enough money that buying beans and stuff from general stores or robbing is no issue, hunting is not necessary for camp purposes, money upgraded everything for me. I am halfway into chapter 5 and never hunt, pretty much main story line and occasional side quests. Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 16:27

Yes, to a point

I don't believe you need to hunt continuously throughout the game, though I haven't played much so can't say for certain. However, there is at least one story mission where you will hunt deer.

The Aftermath of Genesis

This is a story mission in Chapter 1 where you hunt down 2 deer. The mission objectives are as follows (from the link):

  1. Talk to Pearson in the camp
  2. Follow Charles to the hunting ground
  3. Dismount from your horse and take your bow from its inventory
  4. Crouch down and follow the tracks
  5. Kill the first deer near the river bank
  6. Kill the second deer on the other side of the bank
  7. Go to one of the carcasses
  8. Pick up the deer then whistle to your horse
  9. Stow the deer at the back of your horse
  10. Mount your horse then meet up with Charles
  11. Ride back to camp
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    Okay, if this is the only instance I think can live through it and still spend a bunch of money on the game for the sake of enjoying the gorgeous western setting. ("These are only wireframe models. These are only wireframe models." Rinse, repeat...)
    – tigrefurry
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 13:34
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    @tigrefurry I can't say 100% if it is the only required case of hunting but it is certainly the first required case. Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 13:39
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    Sadly nobody has yet mentioned the inevitable result of combining horse hooves with small woodland animals - pretty unavoidable :(
    – davidA
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 4:25

Although you can play, explore and complete the game without hunting (outside of the scripted story missions), you'll have to keep travelling back to town to get more food. However, there are plants/herbs that you can gather and eat.

Having said that, hunting is fairly fundamental to the game in terms of gaining food and crafting supplies, and as a consequence, increasing your stats.

The game rewards you for humanely killing your prey in giving you more meat and better quality pelts. This leads you into finding and selecting those "three-star" animals and ignoring the rest.

It's not been mentioned in the answers/comments so far, but fishing is a part of the game as well, and you're given the opportunity to throw your catch back every time.


You only have to hunt once in the beginning- two deer to survive-, and during a bear hunting mission. During the bear hunt, you can do the mission without killing the bear, but I think you will have to shoot a rabbit for food. There’s also a side mission- optional and not required for story progression- where you might have to kill a lion in self defense, but the atmosphere surrounding this mission is that Arthur is upset he had to do it and upset at the irresponsibility of the people who let it happen. Other than that there is no requirement to kill animals. Other answers are right in saying it’s needed for a lot of crafting but the great thing about that is you can buy a lot of the stuff you could craft from stores instead of hunting for the materials, and there are lots of random encounters where people are being attacked by predators, so if you save them you’re only killing in self defense and you can use those animals instead of ones you kill out of malice. You can also encounter random hunters in the wild looking for prey animals or walking with dead animals on their horses and you can just steal from them. It’s a lot more convoluted but it works! There’s also an undertone of anti-hunting in lots of scenes like -spoilers ahead-

You can talk to a gang member and if you’ve been killing a lot of animals you’re conversation will sound like “I’ve been killing animals needlessly” One gang member goes to hunt a bear, and fails miserably almost getting killed You meet a stranger who tries to photograph wildlife and is anti-hunting, and help him and it’s awesome There’s another stranger who hunts for sport you can help and if you do at the end of his stranger missions he dies getting gored by a boar You are only required to kill 5 legendaries for total completion instead of the full 16

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