Naturalist Role - How to Sedate Animals & Collect Samples in Red Dead Online

Naturalist is a new role in Red Dead Online. If you choose to pursue it, you’ll spend a lot of time collecting animal samples. You can get one from every species on the map, including the new ones. To do so, you’ll need specialized tools which can be bought from a certain vendor. If you started playing the Naturalist as soon as the update hit, and you’re wondering how to sedate animals & collect samples in Red Dead Online, this guide will show you just that.

red dead online how to sedate animals collect samples
Naturalist Role – How to Sedate Animals & Collect Samples in Red Dead Online

How to start naturalist?

To start with the naturalist role, you’ll first have to buy it. It costs 25 gold bars. Then you have to head to Strawberry, to the hotel building next to the sheriff’s office. You’ll be introduced to the two new NPCs inside – Gus and Harriet. Harriet will offer to sell you the Animal Field Guide, which you need to get in order to start cataloguing animals.

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How to sedate animals in Red Dead Online?

In order to sedate ordinary or legendary animal, you’ll have to buy sedative ammo for the varmint rifle first. You can purchase it from Harriet, the naturalist vendor at Big Valley. She’ll sell you a box of 20 rounds for $0.8. Stock up on those – you’ll spend them like crazy. Once you have it, equip the rifle and load the ammo.

Shoot the animal several times, then wait a bit. Bigger beasts will require larger doses, which means more rounds. A rabbit will drop after two or three, but an alligator requires at least twenty. It’ll make a specific noise when you’ve shot it with enough tranquilizer, and then you just have to follow it and wait for it to lose consciousness.

How to collect samples in Red Dead Online?

First you’ll need to sedate an animal. Once it’s down, approach it, and the button prompt for collecting a sample will appear. On Playstation, it’s square, so we presume it’s X on Xbox. After you’ve collected the sample, you won’t be able to skin your prey – it’s about science, not hunting. Plus, Harriet wouldn’t like you killing any of the animals, and she’s the one paying for the samples.

Naturalist role tips

Here are some tips that will make your experience as a naturalist more enjoyable:

  • Collectings samples is the best way to make money as a naturalist.
  • You don’t need to collect all samples for a set at the same time. You’ll get a stamp every time you sell a sample, and when you stamp the entire set, it will be completed.
  • If Harriet stops talking to you because you’ve killed an animal, just give her time to cool off.
  • Getting a sample and taking a picture both count as studying, so you don’t have to do both.
  • Even if your camera is full (the roll of film is spent), you can still take photos that count towards studying. They just won’t be saved.
  • Reviving animals you’ve sedated gives you some role XP and honor, and it’s not worth it in the long run.
  • You can’t skin or photograph animals you’ve sedated.
  • Wolves are a real problem if you’re trying to be a pacifist. Things you can do to avoid them include running in a zig-zag pattern and sedating them. Sometimes the whole pack will disperse after you sedate one of them.

Thanks to Reddit user Skrotel for the tips.


If you end up getting stuck at another point, you might want to check out some of the other guides we have. We've written about mysteries like the missing person Gavin, the Rhodes Gunsmith prisoner, the locked door at Valentine doctor. We also have instructional guides that show how to rob stores without getting bounty or where to sell jewelry and gold bars. If it's collectibles or key items you're after, we've found all the Penny Dreadful comic books, Chick's treasure map location, or that famous pipe for Dutch. Finally, if you don't care to explore the map yourself, you could take a look at our Watson's Cabin and Catfish Jackson's Homestead locations guides. In the latest Red Dead Online Moonshiners Update you'll have a chance to find Navy Revolver and Best Shack Locations.


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One COMMENT

  1. K
    Kurtis Skuse 💛

    Really helpful and informative guide! Thx so much! 🙂

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