I often killed deer and other game in Red Dead Redemption 2, only to find that my pack was already filled with the meat and items you collect from animals. The same thing happened with collecting herbs and with looting bodies for canned food or cocaine gum. It hurts to leave these items behind, but you can only carry so much.
Here’s what the game tells you:
You cannot harvest all of this animal’s parts, as you have no space to stow them. Open your Satchel and make space [...] to discard unwanted items.
This is why expanding your inventory is one of the best upgrades you can earn in the game, and I’m going to show you to how to do it as quickly as possible. That being said, it’s not an easy quest.
Legend of the East Satchel
Pearson, the camp cook, assists you by crafting upgrades. One of those upgrades is an expanded Satchel.
You have to buy Pearson a $225 set of leather working tools from the camp’s ledger before you begin. That’s a lot of money in the early sections of the game, but it’s worth the investment.
Pearson can then craft Satchels that expand your inventory space for each of the six different kinds of items. Once you have all six Satchels, he can craft the ultimate magic man bag, the Legend of the East Satchel. That’s your goal.
Every Satchel upgrade requires a perfect deer hide, so you’ll need seven in all. Here’s what else you need for each one:
- a perfect buck hide and a perfect elk hide for the Tonics Satchel
- a perfect badger skin and a perfect squirrel carcass for the Ingredients Satchel
- a second perfect elk skin and a perfect panther skin for the Kit Satchel
- a perfect bison hide and a perfect raccoon skin for the Provisions Satchel
- a perfect boar hide and a perfect iguana skin for the Materials Satchel
- a perfect beaver skin and a perfect rabbit skin for the Valuables Satchel
- and, finally, a perfect wolf skin and a perfect cougar skin to craft the Legend of the East Satchel
All of these skins need to be donated to Pearson at the camp. Your skins will not be available for crafting these upgrades if you sell them to other vendors, like the butcher or the Trapper. Some of these skins are only available in distant places, but the skins will still be stashed on your horse if you take a train or a stagecoach to get back to your camp. I can’t stress this enough, however: Get the perfect skins and hides, and take them back to camp. Nowhere else.
This requires a lot of hunting, but it will likely save you time in the long run, particularly if you’re interested in completing Challenges. The base storage capacity for each item is five. The Legend of the East Satchel increases your inventory for most items to 99.
You will never have to leave meat on a carcass, or pass up a useful herb or item, because of inventory space. Crafting the Legend of the East Satchel will make everything more convenient for the rest of the game.
Perfect hunting is easier with the Legendary Buck Antler Trinket
We’ve got a general hunting guide for you that covers all the basics of hunting. Since all the pelts need to be perfect for the Satchel upgrades, here are a couple of additional suggestions.
You can see the quality of an animal either by tracking it from a distance with your binoculars or by aiming at it. A poor-quality animal will have one star next to its name. A good-quality animal will have two, and a pristine animal will have three. However, you must get a perfect kill on a pristine animal to get a perfect pelt. A perfect kill generally means one shot to the head or neck. Two shots, anywhere else on the body, will decrease the quality of the pelt and make it worthless for crafting Satchels.
There is a way to make this easier, however.
You get a map showing you the general locations of Legendary animals after you complete the early mission “Exit, Pursued by a Bruised Ego.” Each one can be hunted for its hide, which can then be sold to the Trapper, who uses it to make you special outfits.
You also get an item from each Legendary animal that a Fence can craft into a Trinket. Each Trinket confers a different permanent buff on Arthur.
The one we’re concerned about here is the Legendary Buck Antler Trinket, which you can get from killing the Legendary Buck. When you possess this item, according to its tooltip, “you receive higher quality parts from skinning animals.”
My experience with the Legendary Buck Antler Trinket is that you will skin a perfect pelt off a perfect animal as long as you kill it with one hit; you no longer have to worry about hitting animals in the head. Deer, bucks, boars, wolves, cougars, panthers and elk will all die from one hit to the body with an Improved Arrow, so this Trinket will allow you to hunt them just by firing arrows from your horse instead of worrying about the perfect headshot. (Or, in the case of the cougar, you can shoot it frantically with an Improved Arrow after it knocks you off your horse and then runs in to kill you.)
Just remember that you have to be using Improved Arrows; those animals won’t die with a single body shot from a standard arrow. A body shot with an Improved Arrow will not kill a bison in one hit, however, so you will need to get off your horse and line up a headshot on your perfect bison. But it’s not too hard. Bison have big heads.
This Trinket also makes getting perfect pelts from small animals less of a crapshoot. If you point your Varmint Rifle in the general direction of a small animal, the auto-aim will usually snap your reticle to their head, but sometimes you’ll hit the body and ruin your perfect raccoon or, much worse, your perfect badger. Having the buck antler Trinket protects you against that eventuality.
I was also able to get a perfect squirrel carcass by shooting a squirrel with the Varmint Rifle after I got the Trinket. Before I got it, the rifle always damaged the squirrel, and the only way to get a perfect squirrel pelt was shooting it with a small game arrow.
So, step one is finding and killing the Legendary Buck. Here’s how to do that.
Hunting the Legendary Buck
Red Dead Redemption 2’s Legendary animals are actually pretty easy to hunt. You don’t have to worry about where you shoot them, because their pelts are always the unique Legendary pelts, which can’t be damaged by shooting them multiple times.
You’ll get a message that says you’re in the area of a Legendary animal when you’re close, and you can then activate your Eagle Eye ability, which will highlight the first clue to track the animal. You’ll find the trail once you inspect the clue. The trail will lead you to a second clue, which will show you a second path to a third clue, which will lead you to the Legendary animal after you inspect it. Enter Dead Eye mode when you see the animal, shoot it with an Improved Arrow and you’re golden.
The Legendary Buck has one complication, however. Its territory is in the woods west of Strawberry, where you’ll find a lot of other animals. You’ll sometimes get a message that says that you have entered the Legendary animal’s territory, but that there is too much activity in the area to track it.
You have entered Legendary Animal Territory, but there is too much activity in the area to track the animal.
I don’t know what causes this. It could be the presence of a predator in the area. It could be the presence of a human somewhere in the vicinity. It could just be that there are a bunch of animals running around, and that hits some threshold where the game refuses to spawn a Legendary encounter. I tried running around the area and killing everything, and the game still would not allow me to begin the hunt.
There’s only one sure way I’ve found of removing that message. First, go back to Strawberry and take a stagecoach all the way to Saint Denis. This is a trip that will take you across the entire map, but that’s the point: You want to force the game to repopulate the entire area from scratch when you return, to get rid of whatever was interfering with the Legendary spawn.
Once you’re in Saint Denis, head out of town, camp, wait a full day and then manually save your game. Now, take a stagecoach back to Strawberry, return to the Legendary Buck’s spawn zone and see if it lets you begin the hunt. If you get the “too much activity” message, just reload your Saint Denis save and try again.
Once you kill the Legendary Buck, sell its carcass and its hide to the Trapper, who may have a shop very close to this location. (Trappers move around, so the nearest one might actually be by Riggs Station instead.) Then you can visit any Fence to craft the Trinket. Don’t forget to do this! Getting the antler doesn’t give you the bonus; you must then have a Fence craft the Trinket.
Now perfect pelts will be much easier to collect, and the real work can begin.
Most of the skins are easy to find
Most of the animals you need are pretty easy to find in Red Dead Redemption 2. Herds of bison roam the plains just to the west of Emerald Ranch. Elk are common in the mountainous areas north of Valentine. Deer and bucks spawn pretty much everywhere on the map in large numbers, and squirrels, raccoons and rabbits are also common. Deer are most abundant in Lemoyne, around Rhodes, while racoons are especially common in West Elizabeth, near where you find the Legendary Buck.
Many of the animals you need to hunt for your Satchel upgrades actually spawn near the Legendary Buck’s territory. There are deer and boars running around the area, and you’ll encounter wolves and cougars if you run up and down the nearby stretch of road that runs in front of the Trapper’s shop, camping at either end to refresh the spawns. Your horse will likely throw you if you’re near a predator, so you will want to have your bow at the ready and your Improved Arrows already selected when you’re searching for them.
Wolves attack in packs of four to six. It can be hard to pick out which one is perfect when they’re all lunging, so just shoot each one with an Improved Arrow and find the pelt you’re looking for once they’re dead.
Cougars will run up behind you and take a swipe at your horse, causing it to throw you. Then they’ll quickly circle back around and lunge at you. A single pounce can kill you, so you don’t have much time to get your shot off. Dead Eye helps.
A few of these animals are more elusive
In Red Dead Redemption 2, the only place where iguanas spawn that is accessible without completing most of the story is an island off the coast of Rhodes, due west of Clemens Point. It is too far for Arthur to swim, but you may be able to find or steal a rowboat to get there. Alternately, a good horse can swim to it.
You may want to use a Potent or Special Horse Stimulant before you enter the water; you cannot use items while swimming. Getting there is the hard part — the iguanas don’t move very fast, and you can shoot them with the Varmint Rifle to get a perfect skin.
Panthers are nearly as dangerous as cougars, and a little bit tougher to find. They only spawn in two spots: the swamp north of Saint Denis, and in a forest called Old Harry Fen at the southern tip of Lemoyne.
I recommend searching in the fen. The swamp is full of alligators that will freak your horse out and make it difficult to maneuver, and I was able to find the panther pretty reliably in that little patch of woods.
Manually save your game before you enter the fen. If you ride around slowly on horseback, your horse will spook when a panther is close, and you might have a chance to shoot it before your horse throws you. If not, use Dead Eye to pop him as he lunges at you. Alternately, you may be able to lure the panther into your crosshairs with Potent Predator Bait. There will only be one panther in the fen, so if it does not have a perfect pelt, reload your manual save and try again. If this sounds like a pain in the ass, don’t worry. It is.
The real final boss of your quest for the Legendary Satchel is not the cougar or the panther, however. It is the goddamn badger. Badgers can theoretically spawn all over the map, but they seem strangely rare. Or maybe they’re just harder to find.
They’re small, low to the ground and hard to see, and they don’t usually scamper out into the open like rabbits or raccoons do. It’s hard to find one, and it’s really hard to find a pristine one. But there are some spots where your odds are better than others.
One of those spots is Old Harry Fen, the same place you will hunt the panther. The other is along the Dakota River, north of Bacchus Station. Just run around these areas, and camp for a while to change the spawns if you don’t find a badger. This is the rarest find on the checklist for any of the Satchels, so expect to spend an hour or so looking for a perfect one.
It’s a lot of effort, but it’s worth it
You have to do a lot of hunting to get the Legend of the East Satchel, but completing it is a huge quality-of-life improvement for your game.
Once you have it, herbalism will be more convenient, your hunts will be more lucrative and you won’t have to worry about leaving valuables behind due to inventory constraints. Tougher missions will be tilted in your favor since you can pack so many buffs and healing supplies. Every aspect of Red Dead Redemption 2 gets a bit better, and a lot of the worry is removed from the game.
Plus, it’s an extremely stylish accessory.