Box art - Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 Get Perfect Pelts – What Weapon to Use on Each Animal

Getting perfect pelts in Red Dead Redemption 2 can be a frustrating endeavor. It’s not immediately evident as to what you need to do to get a perfect pelt in Red Dead 2. Sure, it makes sense that blasting a coyote with a shotgun generates a poor hide, the thing is riddled with holes. However, you might be asking yourself why a pistol shot to the head is only producing a good quality pelt.

Since perfect pelts are used to make many clothing items, you’ll need quite a few if you plan to fill out your wardrobe. However, there is a process you can use to make sure that you get a perfect pelt with every single kill. All you have to do is follow this method, and you can get as many as you need to complete challenges in RDR2 or generate the items you need to craft with at trappers.

How to Get Perfect Pelts in Red Dead Redemption 2: Identifying Animal Quality

Red Dead Redemption 2 Identify Animal Quality

The first step to getting your perfect pelt in Red Dead 2 is to find the right specimen of an animal. Each animal in the game has a quality rating which you can see once you’ve focused and studied it. To examine an animal, you need to get close to it and hold L2/LT until you see the “Study” prompt appear in the lower right corner of the screen and then hold R1/RB to study it. You can also do this from afar by using the binoculars or a scoped rifle.

When you study an animal, you’ll see three stars appear by its name. These stars indicate its quality and dictate which pelts you can harvest from it:

  • Red Dead Redemption 2 One Star Animal Quality One-Star (Poor): These animals will only generate poor quality pelts.
  •  Red Dead Redemption 2 Star Animal Quality Two-Star (Good): These animals can be harvested for up to good quality pelts.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 Three Star Animal Quality Three-Star (Pristine): These animals are the only ones you can harvest for perfect pelts.

If you want to get a perfect pelt in Red Dead Redemption 2, you should never hunt less than a three-star quality animal.

How to Get Perfect Pelts in Red Dead Redemption 2: Classifying Animal Sizes

The second thing you need to do to obtain a perfect pelt is to identify its size group. What size group an animal belongs to dictates which weapon you should use to hunt. There are five different size groups, and each of them requires a different approach when hunting if you want a perfect pelt.

Small-Size Animals List:

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

Moderate-Size Animals List

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

Medium-Size Animals List

  • Beaver
  • Coyote
  • Fox
  • Pig

Large-Size Animals List

  • Alligator (Small)
  • Big Horn Ram
  • Boar
  • Buck
  • Cougar
  • Deer
  • Goat
  • Panther
  • Peccary
  • Pronghorn
  • Sheep
  • Turtle
  • Wolf

Massive-Size Animals List

  • Alligator
  • Bear
  • Bison
  • Bull
  • Cow
  • Elk
  • Moose
  • Ox

How to Get Perfect Pelts in Red Dead Redemption 2: Choosing the Right Weapon

Red Dead Redemption 2 Fatal Damage Perfect Pelt

There are optimal weapons for hunting each animal size. Choose the wrong weapon, and you’ll end up damaging the pelt too much, and the best you’ll get is a good quality hide. You also must make sure it only takes one shot to bring the animal down if you want a perfect pelt. However, the shot doesn’t have to be immediately fatal. You just have to inflict either a fatal hit or a critical hit without a follow-up.

A fatal hit doesn’t require much explaining. This is a one-hit kill, usually to the brain or the heart. This instantly brings the animal down and is the easiest way to ensure you get a perfect pelt.

A critical hit can also give you a chance to harvest a perfect pelt, but it isn’t immediately apparent when you’ve performed one. When you get to Dead Eye level 5, you’ll start to see a red aura highlighting the fatal and critical spots of targets. Causing critical damage will cause an animal to start bleeding out and eventually collapse, which allows you to finish it off with your knife and preserve the integrity of the hide.

Dealing either of these types of damage in the first shot is crucial to getting a perfect pelt. Deal normal damage and the best you’ll get is a good pelt.

The following are the optimal weapons for each size group of animal. The first entry in each category is the recommended weapon, with the additional listings being less effective alternatives:

Small Animal Best Hunting Weapons

  • Bow with Small Game Arrow

Moderate Animal Best Hunting Weapons

  • Varmint Rifle

Medium Animal Best Hunting Weapons

  • Repeater with:
    • Regular Ammo
    • Split Point Ammo
    • High-Velocity Ammo
    • Express Ammo
  • Throwing Knife
  • Poison Throwing Knife
  • Bow
    • Arrow
    • Poison Arrow
  • Sniper Rifle with:
    • Regular Ammo
    • Split Point Ammo
    • High-Velocity Ammo
    • Express Ammo

Large Animal Best Hunting Weapons

  • Rifle with:
    • Regular Ammo
    • Split Point Ammo
    • High-Velocity Ammo
    • Express Ammo
  • Bow
    • Arrow
    • Poison Arrow
  • Poison Throwing Knife
  • Sniper Rifle with:
    • Regular Ammo
    • Split Point Ammo
    • High-Velocity Ammo
    • Express Ammo

Massive Animal Best Hunting Weapons

  • Sniper Rifle with:
    • Regular Ammo
    • Split Point Ammo
    • High-Velocity Ammo
    • Express Ammo
  • Bow
    • Poison Arrow
    • Improved Arrow
  • Poison Throwing Knife
  • Rifle with:
    • Regular Ammo
    • Split Point Ammo
    • High-Velocity Ammo
    • Express Ammo
  • Shotgun with:
    • Slug Ammo

If you try to hunt animals with any weapons other than the ones stated then the best you’ll end up with is a good quality pelt.