Yes, I Have Bagged Red Dead Online’s Most Elusive Bovine

Yes, I Have Bagged Red Dead Online’s Most Elusive Bovine
Screenshot: Rockstar Games / Kotaku

Gather round folks, and let me share with you the absurd tale of my week-long hunt to find a stupid bull in Red Dead Online. 

A few weeks ago a new role involving animals, the naturalist, was added to Red Dead Online. The role’s main focus is collecting samples from most of the game’s animals, like bears, foxes, sheep, etc. To collect these samples you use the newly added sedative darts to tranquilize a target and then quickly collect some of its blood before it wakes and runs away. Now you can turn these samples in whenever you want and get a small reward for each. But a better goal to aim for is collecting all the samples of a specific subset of creatures, like desert animals, so you can receive a much larger collection bonus.

So after collecting samples for all the swamp critters, desert animals, and the other groups I decided to focus on completing a full collection of farmland animals. Seemed easy enough. There are quite a few ranches in RDO and the animals there are literally locked in corrals and barns. I figured after an hour I’d have all the ranch-animal samples and would be ready to turn ‘em all in.

Screenshot: Rockstar Games / KotakuScreenshot: Rockstar Games / Kotaku

At first, things went well. I found some of the cows and pigs on the list within less than a half-hour of starting my search. Finding some sheep was a bit trickier, as most ranches didn’t seem to spawn them. But I did eventually find some sheep, after another hour or so of searching. To keep track of all my animal collecting I used a fan-made clickable PDF that let me check off animals as I collected samples. And on that list, one farmland animal began to stick out: the Devon bull.

As I kept visiting ranches and farms to finish my list, I began to notice that I was never seeing any Devon bulls. I’d see dozens of other cows and bulls, but no Devon bull. And soon enough I had every animal on my list… but the Devon bull. I decided to Google around to see if I was just an idiot or if others were having trouble finding this elusive bull.

I wasn’t.

Other players were having the exact same problem, searching the world for a Devon bull but coming up with nothing. Some of them were desperate for advice, anything at all, and because this is the internet people were quick to share tips. However, some of these tips contradicted other tips found in guides or other fan forums. For example, one guide told me to head to Emerald Ranch to find the elusive bovine. But other players claimed that Devon bulls never spawned there. And yet other players claimed to have seen and collected samples from Devon bulls at that very ranch! It was all very confusing, and most of the advice I found online, as is often the case, wasn’t very useful.

Compounding the difficulty was how finicky animal spawns in Red Dead Online can be. Often I would look online, find a ranch that people claimed could spawn the stupid bull I was looking for, and when I got to said ranch found no animals whatsoever. The game just didn’t spawn any. One time I even got to a ranch and found some cattle, but when I turned around to see if my horse was near and turned back to the cattle they had disappeared. All of them.

Screenshot: Rockstar Games / KotakuScreenshot: Rockstar Games / Kotaku

I spent a few days, on and off, searching for this damn bull. It began to taunt me. I started getting angry at cows when I visited ranches without a Devon bull. Sometimes a different type of bull would be there waiting for me and I would feel the urge to blow it up with some TNT, along with the bastard rancher who had once again failed me.

This story does have a happy ending. Last night I finally got the bull I was looking for, but I did it in a way that feels naughty and wrong. One tip on a random Reddit post — I don’t remember which one as I’ve read too many at this point to keep track of them — suggested going to a small ranch north of the town of Rhodes. Once there I would find a single bull and if I left and returned the bull would sometimes change. So I did this a few times and the bull did indeed change. It still wasn’t a Devon bull, but now I was hopeful. All I had to do was keep spinning the bull slot machine and soon or later I would win and get a Devon bull. At least, that was the plan. It took about an hour of going back and forth to and from the ranch before, finally, I got my prize.

Screenshot: Rockstar Games / KotakuScreenshot: Rockstar Games / Kotaku

There, in a corner of the ranch, all alone and quietly standing in the mud, was my Devon bull. I didn’t dare look away lest it engage in cow tricks and despawn. I carefully approached and quickly fired about 12 sedative darts into its hide before it collapsed, letting me pull a sample from it.

Thus ended my nearly week-long hunt for one stupid bull in Red Dead Online. In the end, the reward for actually finding the thing wasn’t much — some XP and cash — but more importantly, I got to cross an item off a list, which is the most satisfying reward of all.

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