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Red Dead Redemption 2 guide: How to use bait

Complete the Master Hunter 7 Challenge

RDR2 bait guide Rockstar Games via Polygon

In Red Dead Redemption 2, Herbivore Bait and Carnivore Bait don’t seem to work very well. You can plop some down, slather yourself in Cover Scent Lotion, hide nearby and wait several minutes to attract prey — if you attract anything at all.

That’s the wrong way to use bait. Here’s the right way to use bait: Stop guessing about where animals might be.

Herbivore Bait and Carnivore Bait aren’t magical concoctions for conjuring animals out of the ether, which seems blindingly obvious but still took us a long time to wrap our minds around. Instead, they’re like fishing lures that trick animals that are already nearby to walk over and nibble on a trap that you set.

Don’t try to use icons on the map to direct your hunt. Don’t figure that some random place is a good vantage point, and that the animals will follow a scent you create — they probably won’t. Instead, find the prey that you’re looking for first, and then use bait to tell it where to go.

Master Hunter 7 Challenge

The Master Hunter 7 Challenge is a perfect illustration of how this works in Red Dead Redemption 2. Your goal is to “use bait to lure and kill a predator and herbivore consecutively.” This can seem daunting, since using bait the wrong way can feel like such crap shoot. It’s not. We promise.

For herbivores, look for deer, which are effectively everywhere in Red Dead Redemption 2. When you find them, you can approach, but make sure that you don’t do anything to spook them or make them run away. Dismount your horse and walk. Go slowly. You can safely walk near deer that are within, say, 30 yards of you, as illustrated in the screenshot below. (Feel free to use some Cover Scent Lotion, too, just to be safe.)

RDR2 using Herbivore Bait on deer
The deer in the distance won’t flee from your presence, but they’re close enough to respond to bait.
Rockstar Games via Polygon

Drop some Herbivore Bait. Walk away to a place where you have a good vantage point to shoot the poor, dumb animal who walks into your trap.

You don’t really even have to hide, as far as we can tell, so don’t worry so much about the animal’s line of sight or getting into bushes or behind trees. You just need to be a fair distance away — let’s say 20 yards or so — which is enough to quell the animal’s suspicions, as illustrated in the screenshot below.

RDR2 hunting deer with Herbivore Bait Rockstar Games via Polygon

A nearby animal will walk over and bend its head down to start eating the bait. Then it’s time to shoot. (And you can always whistle to get them to pop their head back up.)

Don’t guess. Find the kind of animal you’re looking for — carnivores work the same way as herbivores, though they’re a little more skittish — and then lure your prey into your bait trap.