Red Dead Redemption 2 Survivalist Challenge Guide


Red Dead Redemption 2 story mode features a selection of challenges which reward players with money, experience for the Health, Stamina and Dead Eye cores, and reinforced equipment items which grant permanent bonuses to one of the three main stats once the full set has been acquired.

In this guide, we take a look at the ten Survivalist challenges and give you some useful tips to complete them with ease. Just like for the other categories, the Survivalist challenges must be completed in the order they are unlocked, so bringing five animals to Pearson or any trapper will count toward progression for the second challenge if the first hasn't been completed yet.

Survivalist Challenge Overview

The Survivalist challenges are among the most varied of the entire game as they test your fishing, hunting and crafting skills, often tasking you with seemingly difficult tasks like killing scavenging animals while they are feeding on a corpse, fishing from a riverboat, fishing from train tracks, and more. Despite their difficulty, they're much easier to complete than some other challenges, like the Gambler challenges, as they don't depend on luck at all. Sharpen your skills and you won't have much trouble completing them.

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Catch 3 Bluegill Fish

The first Survivalist challenge is very simple, and you will likely complete it without even trying if you have been doing a little fishing, as you must simply catch three bluegills.

Fishing becomes available once Arthur gains a fishing pole, which happens during the A Fisher of Men story mission in Chapter 2. The mission will also teach you the basics of fishing, which is affected by the timing and the different bait types.

Catching bluegills doesn't require incredible fishing skills, as they are among the easiest fish to catch. They are also extremely common, and you will find them in pretty much any body of water all over the map. Equip cheese as bait and catch the three fish to complete the challenge.

The reward for completing this challenge is the Survivalist Gun Belt. This item is part of the Survivalist equipment set which grants a permanent Dead Eye bonus once all the items in the set have been acquired.

Hand 5 Animals Into Camp Or Trapper

The second Survivalist challenge is pretty straightforward, as you only need to deliver five animals to Pearson at the Van der Linde gang current camp or to any trapper to complete it.

Brining the animals in is very simple, just kill one, stow it on your horse and head over to the camp or to any trapper. If you're handing animals to Pearson, you don't need to bring them with you when you interact with the character; if you're handing them to the trapper, you must bring your horse as close as possible to the shopkeeper.

Going back and forth can be a bit annoying, but there's a way to speed up this challenge's completion process. Depending on the animal's size, you can bring multiple carcasses with you. Generally, you can only stow one mid-sized animal like a wolf or deer, and two small ones, like a rabbit or bird. Very small animals like squirrels and rats are carried in Arthur's bag, so if you manage to find these animals, you can kill them all and bring them to Pearson or the trapper at once.

The reward for completing this challenge is $5. You will also get additional Stamina experience.

Kill 5 Animals With A Varmint Rifle

The third Survivalist challenge is as simple as the previous two, as you must just kill five animals with the Varmint Rifle.

This special rifle is not among the weapons you can obtain automatically during the course of the story and must be bought by any gunsmith. This weapon is not suited for combat at all, due to its terrible stats, but it's perfect for hunting, as it's the only weapon capable of getting perfect kills on varmints like rabbits, rats, raccoons and so on.

Finding the five animals to kill with the Varmint Rifle is extremely simple, as rabbits can be found all over the map, quite often running around close to roads. Once you spot one, aim with the rifle and try to get a headshot to kill it with a single shot. Make sure to collect the carcass or harvest its parts to make a profit as well.

The reward for completing this challenge is the Survivalist Off-Hand Holster, which grants a permanent Dead Eye bonus once the full set has been obtained.

Craft A Dynamite, Fire, Improved, Poison, And Small Game Arrow

The fourth Survivalist challenge will test your knowledge of crafting, as you must craft dynamite, fire, improved, poison, and small game arrows to complete it.

These items are not available for crafting automatically as you need to obtain the related crafting recipes first. They can be purchased by any fences after completing the Spines of America story mission in Chapter 2, which is the mission where fences are permanently unlocked all over the map.

Once you have obtained the recipes, you must get the items needed to craft all these arrows. The dynamite arrow requires one arrow, one dynamite, and one flight feather; the fire arrow requires one arrow, one animal fat and one flight feather; the improved arrow requires one arrow and one flight feather; the poison arrow one arrow, one oleander sage, which is found mostly in the swamps near Saint Denis, and one flight feather; the small game arrow requires one arrow, one flight feather, and one shotgun shell. Try crafting at least eight small game arrows, as you will need them for a later challenge.

The reward for completing this challenge is $10. You will also get additional Stamina EXP.


Logan Smith

Logan is probably the most knowledgable Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online writer we have onboard, having authored the vast majority of all the guides you'll find here at RDR2.org. Having written those hundreds of thousands of words Logan still drops in and makes the odd tweak or update, but is otherwise eagerly awaiting the next massive gameplay updates from Rockstar. Connect with Logan on Twitter.