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The buffalo is a very large, herbivorous animal that can be used as a mount once unlocked in Multiplayer. Despite its name within Red Dead Redemption, what is known as the American buffalo is scientifically an American bison (Bison bison) - only distantly related to the buffalo. In fact, true buffalo never entered North America. In the time Red Dead Redemption is set, the American Bison was commonly known as a buffalo, and is still called a buffalo today, although bison is also used. Buffalo are highly valuable when skinned.
Red Dead Revolver
In the mission Range War, the characters Holstein Hal and Longhorn Luke ("Buff") arrive on the scene riding buffalos. If Annie Stoakes kills one of them, she is able to ride their buffalo for the remainder of the mission.
Red Dead Redemption
When the player first enters West Elizabeth, buffalo roam the Great Plains in large herds. Like all animals, buffalo can be hunted, but with one downside: they never respawn, so if the player kills too many of the buffalo, the plains will forever be empty of these magnificent beasts.
Buffalo can be found in the Great Plains, most commonly to the west of Blackwater out in the wide open land. Also rarely east of Aurora Basin. The buffalo are grouped in herds, consisting of many buffalo. The herds are startled easily and they disperse when any shots are fired, so using the Dead Eye targeting system and aiming for multiple headshots is recommended. The herd automatically regroups after an in-game day. Waiting prevents the player from having to search all over West Elizabeth and kill each buffalo one by one. The Buffalo Rifle is also effective against buffalo (hence the name) because it takes less shots to kill than with a normal rifle or repeater does.
Unlike other animals in the game, buffalo do not respawn. Killing all twenty buffalo grants the player an trophy/achievement, but there will no longer be buffalo in the Great Plains, possibly a reference to the Great Wildlife Slaughter of the 1880s, where the bison were hunted to near extinction. Placing bait in the Great Plains area or replaying missions taking place there can cause buffalo to spawn, but these will not count towards the achievement total. A repeating random NPC hunter event which spawns a buffalo hunter and buffalo can also add to their numbers, though only the original buffalo will count towards the achievement.
The buffalo is the only animal in the game that does not appear as a wild animal in Redemption Multiplayer. It is available as a legendary mount, however, being unlocked after the player passes into Legend then returns to level 50. It is the second such multiplayer-only mount to be unlocked, following Bonzo. An Albino Buffalo can also be unlocked in multiplayer.
Tips and Tricks
- There is no need to worry about skinning the fallen buffalo when trying to earn the trophy/achievement "Manifest Destiny"; players can save the game prior to hunting the buffalo and when they have obtained the achievement/trophy they can reload the save and take their time to skin each kill as the buffalo will have respawned but the player will already have earned "Manifest Destiny". This is also a good way to obtain the "Manifest Destiny" achievement/trophy in single player without permanently destroying the herd.
- There has been known to be a very rare encounter where a shopkeeper is seen chasing a buffalo. After killing it, the shopkeeper becomes upset and stares at the body. This event can occur after getting the achievement for killing all 20 buffalo in the herd. This has been confirmed.
- Using throwing knives against the buffalo is very effective. One throwing knife will kill a Buffalo unless it hits its feet, which make throwing knifes extremely useful for quick kills against the herd if the player does not want them to disperse.
- A Buffalo Mount can also be unlocked in Multiplayer, which allows the player to ride a buffalo instead of a horse. This mount means that the Unnatural Selection trophy/achievement can be unlocked in Multiplayer, by way of a player killing their own, or someone else's Buffalo Mount. It is also possible to earn the "Manifest Destiny" achievement/trophy as well.
- Since the buffalo don't respawn, it is highly recommended to save every time before killing a buffalo to avoid a buffalo being accidentally killed by a train. This will stop the player from gaining the "Manifest Destiny" trophy/achievement. Also, since buffalo won't respawn once the "Manifest Destiny" trophy/achievement is unlocked, it is also recommended to skin any buffalo that have been encountered, as their provisions are quite valuable.
- Also, players can put off attaining the "Manifest Destiny" trophy/achievement until later in the game, and wait until the Legend of the West Outfit is available, as it will be easier to hunt buffalo because it gives double the Dead Eye bonus. Simply approach the herd from the rear as in a herding task and, use the Buffalo Rifle (mostly one-hit-kills) and Dead Eye to kill most/all of the visible buffalo herd. Players can use Chewing Tobacco, Snake Oil, or Moonshine to help maintain the Dead Eye. Return to get the rest of the buffalo, and after collecting the valuable skinable materials from all the buffalo, save via camping. If there are none when leaving the camp, leave it a day and then return to the area again.
- Be sure not to rush when hunting the buffalo. Take time and be sure to skin the ones killed.
- In the Great Plains, it is sometimes possible to kill buffalo after they are extinct. Sometimes a random encounter in the Great Plains spawns a NPC hunter who is hunting a buffalo. After players or the NPC hunter kills the buffalo, it can be available to skin for materials. This technique also applies to regular bears as opposed to the grizzlies in Tall Trees.
- The player can use the Expert Hunter Outfit to acquire double the provisions obtained by skinning them. If he sells all of the skins, horns, and meat in Escalera, the player can earn over $1200. Also, they are worth more after their extinction, so kill them all without selling them at all.
- Buffalo (like all wild animals), will flock towards the player if you have the beastmaster cheat on. Although this will render the achievement useless, the player can still kill and skin the animals for their items.
- When hunting buffalo with the Carcano Rifle or with the Rolling Block Rifle, get a fair distance away, but make sure that one can see them. The buffalo won't see the player and will not run away. Using this strategy the player can kill buffalo easily.
- The buffalo mount in multiplayer, when summoned, will run away from the player, frightened, to the nearest field and graze there (this is their generic, scripted behavior in the game), which can be a real pain in a dangerous hit and run situation. The only way to prevent this is to stand still and allow the buffalo to approach the player, thus making it one of the most disliked mounts in Multiplayer.
- The buffalo mount has no sound effects for moving along train tracks or the ground outside of the Great Plains region. This is because in singleplayer the animal can only be found in the Great Plains and the Wreck of the Serendipity, thus not needing sound effects for any other area.
- When replaying missions, it is possible that the buffalo can appear, however, killing them does not add to the single player total.
- The buffalo cannot be lassoed; rather the lasso just goes through the animal.
- Even if the player has already got the "Manifest Destiny" achievement, If the player puts bait in a certain area on Nekoti Rock a herd of buffalo can appear but it may take a few baits for them to appear as Bears, wolves, foxes, coyotes, deer, and bobcats seem to be attracted to the bait up there as well. Also, placing a bait at the end (as seen on the world map) of the road leading to Cochinay fort (outside of the fort not too far from the gates) will often spawn small herd of buffalo (note: if you use bait to hunt and kill the buffalo before they are extinct, they may still be able to become extinct).
- Buffalo can be seen being hunted by a trio of hunters riding on horses while traveling to Cochinay during the mission "At Home With Dutch".
- In a glitch, if the player shoots and kills a buffalo, it will fall to the ground, raise up and stand still then fall back down.
- At night the buffalo herd moves into the Wreck of the Serendipity area.
- Sometimes after killing a buffalo, tragic music will play. This reflects the general view that their overhunting was a tragedy.
- There's a rare glitch, when the player kills a buffalo, it will lay dead then come back to life as if never killed.
- Buffalo are in fact the rarest non-Legendary animal in Red Dead Redemption. Due to the fact that they can become extinct and have a 0.5% chance to spawn again.
- Despite being very rare in the game's territory, Redemption is actually set long after the extermination of wild bison, which was at its peak in the 1880s and 1890s. By 1911, the game's year, American bison numbers were a few thousand, up from some 750 total in 1890, thanks to widespread conservation efforts.
The player must kill an American Buffalo to successfully complete the following Trophies/Achievements:
Kill every animal species in the game in any game mode.
Kill the last Buffalo in the Great Plains in singleplayer.