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- "Hunters and adventurers can find great sporting challenges across our vast Blaine County countryside. Bring a rifle to hunt for dangerous game, hike to the peak of the majestic Mount Chiliad, or hire a plane and parachute from on high."
- ―Official tourism website for San Andreas.
The hunting activity appears to be based on the one featured in the 2010 open-world western Red Dead Redemption, another game made by Rockstar Games. The hunting activity takes place in a single location in Blaine County, the Chiliad Mountain State Wilderness. Although wildlife can be encountered in many other locations, and optionally "hunted" by the player, only in this one location can Trevor earn money and points for doing so.
Hunting is available after Trevor meets Cletus and complete his second mission "Fair Game". After starting the hunt, by finding the appropriate icon on the northwest side of the map that looks vaguely like an elk head, and entering the trailer at this location, Trevor is equipped with the animal call that Cletus gave him in the intro mission and also has unlimited sniper ammo for the duration of the hunt. He also automatically dons the hunting outfit given to him after "Fair Game".
Each kill must be photographed and sent to Cletus using the phone. Cletus will then send money based on the type of animal killed and how it was killed. Heart-shots, neck-shots and head-shots earn the player extra points and money which will help one move toward higher medal rankings for a single hunt. A Blazer is available outside the trailer. Hunting is available from sunrise to sunset. Cletus will send the player a warning text when time is almost up and a final text when hunting is over for the day and then return to the trailer.
- Cougars are deadly and come often. Invest all or most of the cash in the stock market before starting a hunt to avoid costly hospital bills. The Hospitals charge a percentage of the cash on-hand each time Trevor dies up to a maximum of $5000. Thankfully, they do not dig into the assets and investments to pay the medical staff. Obviously, this becomes less an issue once Trevor's bank account is in the millions later in the game.
- Watch the radar. The player will be able to see a cougar before it attacks. A cougar may also make a distinctive sound before an attack and Trevor is also known to make comments before an attack. Playing with headphones is an asset as it makes it easier for this detail. When being attacked by a cougar, one can use Trevor's rage skill. Rage allows Trevor to take almost no damage from a cougar attack which would otherwise instantly kill the player. He will survive the attack and can then shoot the cougar or even melee it. Needless to say, it's recommended that the rage skill be maxed out before starting to hunt.
- Use the 4 wheeler Blazer provided. The vehicle is good to cover ground more quickly and will also be able to get to the kill for a photo more quickly as well. Also, cougars will not attack the player while controlling a vehicle, so it's much safer than walking.
- The animals don't scare easily unless the player gets inside their "red area" depicted on the map, or if they smell Trevor (facing them with the wind's direction may cause detection). Stay downwind of the target if possible. Sneaking isn't as important as Cletus says it is. Speed is the key. Bag as many as possible while there is still daylight.
- Make sure there are no cougars near when taking a picture of an animal. Cougars can still attack while taking a picture and sending it to Cletus or even during the black screen where the game tries to load online pictures.
- Remembering Cletus' earlier instructions in "Fair Game", female elk kills are disliked by Cletus and will net a lot less cash, as such they should be low priority targets. They are easily recognized from their lack of antlers and higher-pitched call.
Animals known to be hunted:
There are also challenges that the player can perform during the hunting, to increase the score and get the gold medal more easily. The challenges are divided in three categories:
Master Hunter Challenges
- Rank 1: Kill an Elk with a heart shot.
- Rank 2: Kill 2 Elk in a row without a call.
- Rank 3: Kill 3 Elk in a row undetected.
- Rank 4: Kill 4 Elk within four minutes.
- Rank 5: Kill 2 Elk with a single shot.
Weapon Master Challenges
- Rank 1: Kill a Coyote with a shotgun.
- Rank 2: Run a Boar over.
- Rank 3: Kill a Mountain Lion with a grenade.
- Rank 4: Kill an Elk without looking through the scope.
- Rank 5: Kill any Bird with the Sniper Rifle.
Nature Photographer Challenges
- Rank 1: Text Cletus a photo of a Doe.
- Rank 2: Text Cletus a photo of 2 dead Elk.
- Rank 3: Text Cletus a photo of a dead Coyote and a dead Boar.
- Rank 4: Text Cletus a photo of an Elk corpse and a charging Cougar.
- Rank 5: Text Cletus a photo of an Elk, a Cougar, a Boar and a Coyote corpse.
- In the Ammu-Nation in San Andreas the player can hear the advertising speaker talk about anti-materiel rifles for hunting with the famous punchline: "Who needs to skin the deer when it already has been minced!"
- As in Red Dead Redemption, using very powerful weapons such as the rocket launcher or minigun may blow up the animal so one couldn't skin it. Even if the animal can still be pictured, Cletus will pay much less if powerful weapons are used (except in the case of heart shots).
- One can send the photographed kill to almost anyone in the protagonist's contacts list on the cellphone, and they will text back randomized reactions.
- Possibly due to a designer oversight, this works even if the person is dead.
- Sometimes, when the player finishes hunting, the game will not show the score and will become glitchy. Pick-ups, such as money and weapons become unavailable to be picked. If the player tries to buy weapons from Ammu-Nation, money will be spent, but the ammo counter doesn't increase, making it a total waste. Saving and reloading the game will fix the glitch.
- It is possible to access Fort Zancudo without getting an instant 4 stars.