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8/5/20 Naturalist Role - R* Tips & Tricks


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Tips and Tricks for Aspiring Naturalists

August 5, 2020

To help budding Naturalists boost their progress and conquer the animal kingdom in Red Dead Online, we've compiled a list of a few helpful tips and tricks to get started. Whether it's helping Harriet catalogue the kaleidoscope of natural life on the frontier or skinning specimens for Gus Macmillan to turn into beautiful, custom-made pieces of clothing, these tips should come in handy for anyone taking on the latest Frontier Pursuit.


(source: Dande_Lion on Social Club)

Getting Started and Ranking Up

  • Visit Harriet Davenport at the Welcome Center in Strawberry to start your Naturalist journey. If you don't want to purchase the Sample Kit right away, it can be bought from her shop at any time.
  • Harriet has set up shops at three locations across the map - West of Wallace Station, in the marshes of Lagras and near MacFarlane Ranch.
  • Harriet sells .22 Sedative ammo for the Varmint Rifle, which you'll need in order to sedate and sample most animals. As soon as you wake up after your initial introduction to Harriet and the Naturalist Role, head back to one of Harriet's Shops and stock up.
  • Bringing Animal Samples from sedated animals to Harriet is the fastest way to start earning Naturalist XP and RDO$. As you rank up, you'll start to gain access to a variety of new gameplay options to continue your journey.
  • If you prefer, you can instead choose to bring carcasses or pelts to Gus Macmillan, who will pay RDO$ for these goods and can craft unique clothing from their hides for purchase. While working for Gus will bring you immediate benefits in the form of clothing, hunting for Gus does not provide Naturalist role XP.
  • Starting at Naturalist Rank 5, Harriet's Sighting Missions will become available. These are multi-staged and storied hunts in which a successful sighting will award you with Naturalist XP should you decide to sample the Legendary Animal. Subsequently selling your Legendary Animal sample will earn you even more Naturalist XP and allow you to progress through the role more quickly, while choosing instead to skin the animal for Gus will earn you regular XP and a Legendary Pelt for Gus to craft with - the choice is yours.
  • Harriet's "Poached Animals" Missions are also a great way to gain Naturalist XP. These can be accessed by speaking with Harriet at her shop, selecting "Missions" and pressing Square/X/Space to launch them. There will be a cooldown period before you can launch another mission.
  • Check your Animal Field Guide - found in your Satchel or the Item Wheel - to track your progress.
    • Each unique Animal Sample sold to Harriet will result in a stamp appearing over the corresponding Animal in your Guide.
    • Once each Animal within a single Category has been stamped, highlight your completed Category and select the “Trade In” option to receive a hefty payout of RDO$ & RP.
    • Once you’ve traded in a fully stamped Category, your stamp progress will reset and you can begin stamping them once again.
  • To seek out Legendary Animals, check your Legendary Animal Map (accessed via the Satchel). Turning in Legendary Animal Samples will earn more Role XP than regular samples.
  • As you rank up through the Naturalist Role, more Legendary Animals will begin to show up in Free Roam. Speak with Harriet regularly so she can mark these new discoveries on your Legendary Animal Map.
  • Complete any available Naturalist Daily Challenges to pull down Naturalist XP and Gold.
  • At Naturalist Rank 4, you will start to receive invites to Naturalist Free Roam Events - these will award large amounts of Naturalist XP for participating and some are also a great opportunity to get samples for Legendary Animals.
  • At Naturalist Rank 7, you may begin to come across poachers in Free Roam who have captured certain animals. Deal with them as appropriate and release the trapped animals to gain even more Naturalist XP.


Tools of The Trade

  • Remember to double check the ammo you’re using on your Varmint Rifle to make sure you don't kill an animal you’re trying to sedate. You can change your selected ammo on a weapon with the d-pad or mouse while using the Weapon Wheel (LB/L2/Tab key).
  • It takes multiple shots to sedate an animal - the amount of shots varies depending on the animal’s size. Hits to critical areas such as the head or heart will down the animal faster.
  • Smaller animals such as birds and squirrels cannot be sedated, so be careful not to kill them with sedative ammo (unless you're planning on selling these materials to Gus, of course)
  • Sedative ammo still does damage to an animal once it’s been knocked out. Once you have successfully sedated an animal, you will see your reticule turn to a red cross and hear a distinctive sound. 
  • A sedated animal can’t be sampled while in water – use the lasso to pull it to the shore.
  • You can’t use the lasso on smaller animals (e.g. water snakes) so it’s best to stalk them until they reach the shore before taking your shot.
  • You can also jump in and gently nudge them to shore if they manage to make it back into the water.
  • Animals will wake up naturally once you’ve left the surrounding area. Many will run off, but aggressive animals may attack again if you stick around. Optionally, you can use Animal Reviver (available at Harriet's Shop) to revive a sedated animal and gain additional Role XP.
  • The Bounty Hunter’s Eagle Eye+ ability will help track animals more efficiently.

Twitter user @station069 recommends using Refined Binoculars and Paint it Black to quickly bring down animals

  • When dealing with pack animals, particularly predators, focusing your tranquilizer fire on one specimen helps avoid wasting ammunition.
  • Remember to keep an eye on the number of samples in your satchel. While you can (and should!) store multiple samples at once for efficiency, you can only hold a set amount at a time.

Harriet Davenport


Redditor u/Curiedoesthestream shared this moment right before incurring Harriet's wrath after harming a few too many animals.

  • Fill out each requirement in the Animal Field Guide to complete progress for each animal. Photographs can be taken with either the Camera or the Advanced Camera. The animal must be fully conscious and in-frame to count towards your progress.
  • Hold off with the itchy trigger finger if you want to complete your Animal Field Guide - you can't study, sample or effectively photograph an animal once it's dead. 
  • Killing too many animals may upset Harriet. If she gives you the cold shoulder, you may need to allow her a few minutes before she's ready to speak with you again.
  • You can complete the "study" requirement for animals by aiming at them and pressing the appropriate button when prompted. Per Redditor u/fusi9n: "Study every animal you come across. I've just been aiming my rifle at them as I ride past."

Gus Macmillan

  • While Gus will pay good money for a full carcass, he cannot craft unique clothing from intact animals. If you are seeking his craftsmanship in the form of a new coat or otherwise, you must skin your bounty before selling it to him. Selling the pelt itself will unlock the related garment set for purchase. Additionally, certain animal parts will help unlock special Trinkets for purchase.
  • Sell Legendary Animal Pelts to Gus and then browse his Garment Sets section to view craftable Legendary coats and items.

@McRagstig staying warm in the Legendary Moonstone Coat, courtesy of Gus Macmillan.

  • You cannot skin an animal after it's been sedated, even if you've revived it. Bear this in mind and approach each hunt with either the intention to sample or skin - not both.
  • As more Legendary Animals are added to Red Dead Online in the coming weeks, many more clothing options and items will become available from Gus. 

Advanced Camera

  • Purchasing an Advanced Camera can be done through the handheld catalogue or on Social Club. While you can use the standard Camera to snap photos of animals for your Field Guide, you may benefit from the Advanced Camera’s increased maneuverability.
  • While in Handheld mode, you can walk around and crouch with the Advanced Camera.
  • Make sure to snap your photo before using sedative shots on your target - photos of a tranquilized or deceased animal won’t count toward your Field Guide progress.
  • The Advanced Camera’s viewfinder will turn green when an animal is in frame, so you can get the perfect shot every time.
  • Harriet sells a Blending Tonic which will allow you to get closer to wildlife to snap it before it flees or attacks.
  • As with the regular Camera, head to the Social Club menu option in-game where you can edit photos and upload them to your Social Club profile.

Legendary Animals

@kodiikat shared an image of the Legendary Inahme Elk in its natural habitat on Instagram.

  • Check your Legendary Animal Map (accessed via your Satchel in the "Documents" section) for available Legendary Animals to track and hunt in Free Roam.
  • Legendary Animals will often attempt to run away from you – make sure to have plenty of Bitters for you and Stimulant for your horse before seeking one out. Use some Legendary Animal Pheromones (available at Harriet's Shop) if you’ve lost sight of the animal.
  • It is not advised to use Legendary Animal Pheromones until you've already received a notification that there is a Legendary Animal in the area.
  • If you're struggling to find Legendary Animals in Free Roam, check out the Legendary Animal Map that Harriet gave you, and make sure to visit her often for updates on which animals have been spotted and where.
  • Completing more fields in the Animal Field Guide will also result in more information on the Legendary Animal’s preference for time of day and weather.
  • Throughout your progression in the Naturalist Role, you will rank up your Eagle Eye making it easier to track and find Legendary Animals.

To help you find each Legendary Animal, try paying attention to their favored weather conditions as well as the times at which they're most active:

  • Legendary Zizi Beaver is particularly active around dusk or dawn.
  • Legendary Moon Beaver prefers moister weather and is also more active at either end of the day.
  • Legendary Coji Boar typically appears earlier in the day.
  • Legendary Wakpa Boar roams during the daytime in wetter weather.
  • Legendary Katata Elk enjoys drizzly/foggy weather and is most active during the daytime
  • Legendary Ozula Elk emerges later in the day, also preferring drizzly/foggy weather
  • Legendary Ota Fox roams at dawn and dusk, primarily during clear or overcast weather
  • Legendary Marble Fox also prefers around sunrise/sunset and is most active during clear or overcast weather
  • Legendary Tatanka Bison (unlocks at Naturalist Rank 5) can be found during daytime hours, often preferring rainy/drizzly weather
  • Legendary Winyan Bison (unlocks at Naturalist Rank 5) is a nocturnal creature, unlikely to be found during storms or rainfall.
  • Legendary Emerald Wolf (unlocks at Naturalist Rank 5) usually prowls at dusk or at night, striking during rainy or stormy weather.
  • Legendary Onyx Wolf (unlocks at Naturalist Rank 5) is a night-dwelling animal, showing its face in clear or overcast weather.
  • Legendary Iguga Cougar (unlocks at Naturalist Rank 10) typically hunts at dusk during rainy or drizzly conditions.
  • Legendary Maza Cougar (unlocks at Naturalist Rank 10) is most active in the day, also preferring wetter weather.

Many more Legendary Animals are available to track and hunt via Harriet's Sighting Missions, which unlock at Naturalist Rank 5 and can be launched by speaking with her at her Shop.

Additional Tips

  • When dealing with poachers in missions or in Free Roam, be sure to gather samples from any animals you've freed before selling those to Harriet for RDO$ and Role XP rewards. Also loot any poachers you've dispatched as they may be carrying pelts or other valuables.
  • Various baits that you've crafted or purchased from the Catalogue can help attract animals to the area for studying, sedating or hunting.
  • If you’re after pelts or carcasses, it's always a good idea to hunt efficiently and reduce damaging pelts - many animals can be lassoed and killed with a knife for a perfect pelt. For bigger game, clean headshots with the Bolt-Action or Rolling Block Rifle can help you get a one-shot kill.
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