Cougars are an animal found in Red Dead Redemption. Also known as the Mountain Lion, Red Lion, Puma, Catamount, or Mountain Screamer, they prowl the prairies, forests, and mountains and are often heard before they are seen. Cougars are known to prey on travelers and their horses throughout the game world. Cougars may be hunted, skinned, and traded with merchants for cash.
Cougars are one of the most vicious predators in the game, though sometimes difficult to find. They kill horses and players with as little as two attacks. Cougars use the 'hit and run' technique to knock down the player then quickly ready their next attack a safe distance away. They often travel in pairs, attacking one at a time, unless chasing an NPC. It is easier to tempt a cougar out of hiding while riding on horseback than to actively hunt one.
Cougars are difficult to spot due to their low stance and tan color that acts as camouflage, and the fact that they are silent when running or stalking. Cougars are nocturnal. However, they can be found in small numbers during the daytime and are quite active at dawn.
The Cougars are usually found around Rio Bravo, where they can stalk their prey while staying camouflaged in the trees, but they are generally found in most areas of New Austin and West Elizabeth.
- Wreck of the Serendipity - They can be found within the "U" shape the road makes. Between 5 AM and 6 AM is the most frequent time to spot one.
- Rio Bravo - Around Fort Mercer and Plainview. Around Repentance Rock, they are virtually the only animal that spawns at night. In the land north of Fort Mercer, cougars can be found frequently during the day, and players may be attacked by up to five in one sitting.
- MacFarlane's Ranch - In the hills north of the ranch.
- Stillwater Creek - Several can be found at all times of day sometimes prowling around the water.
- Cougars, along with wolves, coyotes, and bobcats, are often found in the random encounters where an NPC is being chased by a gang of predatory animals.
- (Multiplayer Only) Tanner's Reach - A large family of Cougars and sometimes Khan the Jaguar lives within the perimeter of the hunting cabin. There are at least eight of them and they attack at once, so approach the area with caution.
- Plainview - Cougars frequent the road near here which is heading into the US/Mexican border late at night and during the day.
- Silent Stead - Occasionally a good spawning point for cougars in single player. The player can get onto the roof by going around the back and jumping onto the overhang. Facing the road, the cougars spawn by some boulders to the player's right. They come in pairs about thirty seconds apart. They are easier to find by placing bait.
- Rattlesnake Hollow - Continually produces cougars during the day in single player. Go there with caution.
- Beecher's Hope - usually in the late afternoon. They will normally be chasing prey (foxes, rabbits, etc.) in packs of two.
- The Great Plains - In the northern areas, between the railroad tracks and the river. The most reliable spawning spot is where the trees are thinning out, where Tall Trees meets the Great Plains. They can also be found in the Great Plains where the fox symbol is located on the map.
Tips and Tricks
- The most important thing to remember is that if the player has taken any damage whatsoever before a cougar attacks, its attack means instant death. Only a full health bar is any defense against one.
- Cougars usually attack from behind, charging in a straight line from an unseen spot in the bushes.
- They will often snarl audibly just before they run over to attack. Their charge is silent, and they are fast.
- Cougars usually spawn in pairs, and cougars in some locations respawn as fast as wolves.
- Cougars will chase, stalk, and attack NPC humans, wild horses, and other herbivores, but will totally ignore other dangerous animals and be ignored by them. This can lead to the very dangerous situation of being attacked by wolves and a cougar at the same time.
- A very easy way to kill cougars is to get in a stagecoach or on top of a nearby roof or large rock, because they can't hit the player and they will walk around in circles, making it very easy to kill them.
- When attacked, the player will be knocked down and defenseless for a few seconds. Cougars often use hit and run attacks: attacking the player or horse and then running off, turning around when out of sight, and attacking again. If they cannot back off sufficiently by turning around, for example if there is a wall behind them, they will attempt to back off forward, encounter the player again, and instantly attack a second time, killing the player, who has no chance of defending. This appears to be an unintended pathfinding bug rather than a feature.
- Trying to block an attack from a Cougar with a knife is useless. The cat will knock the player down. Even worse, the knife animation may prevent Marston being knocked down; if this happens, the Cougar will attack again instantly and kill him.
- Occasionally, shooting or knifing a cougar will cause it to turn and run; this is especially true if it is critically damaged. Lasso the cat to keep it from escaping. Chasing after it is generally a bad idea since the player will often find themselves so distracted by the first cougar they do not notice a second.
- Riding on horseback while being attacked by cougars is a good strategy, although the cougar only needs to scratch the horse once and it dies. This can provide the player with a shield, but expendable horses should be ridden if the player is hunting cougars this way.
- Players should remember that rolling can be extremely useful when in combat with Cougars. If the player does not kill a Cougar while it is sprinting towards them, they can perform a roll by remaining in aim mode and pressing X (Xbox 360) or the square button (PS3) while pushing the movement stick to perform the roll in that direction. After you have evaded the Cougar, it will usually run back into the foliage and attempt to stalk the player again, so don't lose sight of it or assume it has gone.
- When traveling, a Random Encounter involving a NPC asking for help trapping animals may happen. This can provide an opportunity in finding cougars.
- Use of Medicine is highly recommended; if attacked by a Cougar, as soon as you get up, open your Satchel and heal yourself. Due to Cougars' hit and run technique, this can save the player.
- In Multiplayer, a Cougar will only take one hit to kill you, as opposed to the normal two hits in Singleplayer.
- The 5th Master Hunter Challenge requires that two Cougars be killed and skinned with a Hunting Knife.
- For more information on how to achieve this, see the relevent entry in the Master Hunter Challenges page.
- The Expert Hunter outfit requires you to kill a Cougar using dynamite.
- For more information on how to achieve this, see the Expert Hunter Outfit page.
Sometimes in cougar locations throughout single player, players can experience large amounts of cougars attacking very frequently. These glitches can continue indefinitely until the player leaves the area. This differs from the usual one or two cougars at one location at a time.
This glitch was also reported in Free Roam, where the player in question was in a firefight in the Great Plains. The player was consecutively attacked by cougars for 10 to 15 minutes. The only way to stop the glitch is for all the players in the Great Plains to evacuate the area for around 15 minutes.
In another glitch, Cougars can become very popular in certain parts of the Cholla Springs area, sometimes appearing in random towns such as Armadillo, which can become annoying because cougars can easily kill you when they take you by surprise. However, this glitch is extremely rare.
- The Undead Cougar is the Cougar equivalent encountered in the Undead Nightmare DLC pack.
- Cougars and bobcats share the same sound file.
- Several residents of MacFarlane's Ranch talk about a Giant Cougar, claiming it killed three lawmen and that it stole and ate a baby.
- Despite their relatively small size, cougars have been seen attacking bears, but this is quite rare.
The player must kill a Cougar to contribute to the successful completion of the trophy/achievement:
Kill every animal species in the game in any game mode.