Bounty is the price you have to pay for committing a crime. Once you commit a crime and you're identified by the lawmen, you'll be in Wanted state and a bounty will be placed on your head. The bounty price will be displayed under the WANTED meter. The more grievous crime you commit, the higher the bounty price.
Most crimes that can be committed in Red Dead Redemption 2 require a witness for you to receive a bounty. Once a witness reports the crime and the lawmen identifies you then you'll get a bounty. You can prevent getting a bounty on your head after committing crime by doing the following:
- Wearing a mask or bandanna so any witness to the crime won't recognize you. Put on your mask or bandanna somewhere that no one can see you. Then when you commit the crime and someone witnesses the scene, run away before the lawmen catch up and see you. Get out of the red area on the map until the WANTED meter is fully depleted. Once the lawmen spot you, they will recognize you and you will get a bounty regardless if you have a mask or not. Take note that this only applies to non-violent crimes like robbery or theft. For example, you will get a bounty instantly if you kill a civilian and and a witness caught you in the act and was able to report to the authorities.
- Threatening or killing the witness. If you can catch the witness, it is usually enough to threaten him by pressing Triangle or Y (for PS4 and X1 respectively) and he will forget about reporting the crime. If you can't catch him you can shoot him before he gets too far but be warned that killing someone in front of a crowd will create more witnesses.
Once you have a bounty on your head, the lawmen and bounty hunters will come after you to answer for your crimes. It is advised that you avoid encounters with them and stay away from the red area on the map so they lose sight of you, resisting and fighting them back will make them call for more reinforcements and will just rack up your bounty price even further.
The lowest bounty price is $5. In case you get a bounty on your head for committing a crime in a particular town or city, that bounty remains until you pay it off or serve your sentence in jail. On the map screen, the bounty price is displayed when you point on a town or city where you have a bounty. If you return to that area while having a bounty, some shops will not accomodate you depending on the gravity of the crimes you have committed and you also can't use stagecoach fast travel. Also, if any bounty hunters or lawmen spot you, you'll be in Wanted state.
The only ways to clear your bounty are:
- Pay your bounty price - You can pay your bounty on any post office in the world. Take note that bounties are state-specific so you are only charged the bounty price in each specific state where you committed the crime. If the particular area where your committed a crime is on lockdown, then all the shops will be closed and inaccessible including the post office, so you have to pay for your bounty on another town or city.
- Surrender to the authorities - When the lawmen or bounty hunters arrest you, you can choose the option to surrender to them. This is your best option if you don't have money at all to pay for your bounty and you need to return to the area where you committed the crime. If you have money, you'll still pay a portion of the total bounty price and spend some time in jail. There are random instances where your gang mates from Van Der Linde gang will bust you out of jail and you won't have to pay any bounty price at all. Take note that this option is not available if you're in a Wanted: Dead or Alive state.