Red Dead Redemption 2 mod adds realistic hunting to Rockstar sandbox

A Red Dead Redemption 2 mod overhauls Rockstar’s sandbox game by adding brutally real hunting, as official RDR2 and Red Dead Online updates remain absent

Red Dead Redemption 2 mod adds brutally real hunts to Rockstar sandbox: Arthur Morgan from Rockstar sandbox game RDR2

A new Red Dead Redemption 2 mod transforms Rockstar’s sandbox game by adding brutal and realistic new hunting mechanics, as official RDR2 and Red Dead Online updates remain sparse, and we all look ahead to the GTA 6 release date.

Hunting in Red Dead Redemption 2, especially when you’re after all the legendary animals, has always felt a little too simple. In New Hanover, for example, you can just walk outside of camp, find a huge pack of whitetail deer, and bag a prized meal all in the space of about five minutes. Given some of RDR2’s attention to detail elsewhere, the hunting system has always felt like it needs more substance.

Hunting Grounds, a new mod by Shtivi, transforms Red Dead Redemption 2 hunts by making them tougher, more complex, and more brutal. First of all, it adds realism by making animals of the same species different weights and sizes – rather than identical herds of deer and buffalo, all based on the same character model, with Hunting Grounds, you need to search out the prime specimens, with the added bonus that animal packs no longer look so copy-pasted.

When you think you’ve found your target, you can observe them and Hunting Grounds will display a new element in the UI telling you their weight. Large animals offer better meat and pelts, whereas smaller animals might be easier to kill, but less rewarding. There’s also a whole-new system connected to animal populations. If you spend too long hunting one type of animal in one area, the population will go down, and you will need to leave it for some time to let the animal presence recover. The UI has also been updated to show you how common animals are at each location.

If you shoot and wound an animal, you no longer need to use eagle-eye mode in order to track them down – instead, they will leave a blood trail, which you can follow using your natural cunning in order to finalise your kill. It makes hunting feel that much bloodier and real, as you rely on your senses rather than an overlay in order to bag your buck.

On the contrary, Hunting Grounds also offers a new map marker to show where you have deployed your animal bait, which is otherwise easy to lose in the RDR2 base game. This option, however, can be disabled if you want the rawest experience possible. You can download Hunting Grounds right now from Nexus Mods.

You might want to try some of the other best western games, if Red Dead Redemption 2 is your kind of thing. We also have guides to the best GTA 5 mods, for the devout Rockstar fan, and a rundown of the other best open-world games, to satisfy roving hunter in you.