Red Dead Redemption 2 - How to Remove WANTED Status and Bounties

Red Dead Redemption 2 - How to Remove WANTED Status and Bounties

Posted in rdr2

Red Dead Redemption 2 has a WANTED system that behaves in a similar manner to previous Rockstar games including the original RDR and other GTA games. In this guide I'm covering the mechanics behind the WANTED status, explaining how you can remove it and also remove any bounties you've accumulated.

How do you get the WANTED status

In RDR2, players enter the WANTED state when exhibiting unlawful behaviour. Unlawful behaviour usually involves theft (e.g. robbing stores or hold ups) and murdering people. Every region in the game has its own WANTED status (and criminal history) for the crimes you commit in the area.

The WANTED status appears in the top right corner of the screen. It varies from a full red Wanted sign, sometimes with "Dead or Alive" underneath, to a diminishing grey/red sign when the "Investigating" status is wearing off.

Once you've been witnessed taking part in criminal activity in an area, law enforcement will make a note of your physical appearance and track you down.

Enforcement levels

Wanted sign in corner of screen

There are varying WANTED levels in RDR2. If you decide to commit more crimes whilst in the WANTED state, e.g. killing the lawmen chasing you, then more vicious law officers will show up to pursue you.

In simple terms, these are the levels you can expect:

  • Local constabulary - your basic law enforcement officers with basic arms
  • Posse chasing you across the wilderness - a group of armed men with higher calibre weapons and horses
  • US Marshals - highly trained law enforcement officers with powerful weapons

Once the US Marshals are after you it's a serious problem! By this stage you'll no doubt have committed multiple murders in the region.

Surrendering and avoiding arrest

During the WANTED state, if officers catch up with you then you've got two choices: surrender, or avoid arrest. To surrender you must be on your feet and have your weapon holstered. If you decide to injure an officer of the law, or escape from an arrest attempt then the law will no longer attempt to arrest you again - instead they'll shoot to kill!

Bounty hunters

Bounty Hunters chase criminals on behalf of the law for easy money. They'll pursue you even after your WANTED status is lost.

Each time you commit a crime, your state bounty will include all crimes previously committed in that state. Lawmen and bounty hunters will attempt to track you down.

You can also play the role of Bounty Hunter in RDR2. Visit the depot or sheriff's office and look for the noticeboard displaying wanted criminals. Retrieve bounty posters to get the details and hunt down bounty targets for rewards.


As you commit more crimes in a region, lawmen and civilians become more vigilant, eventually placing the region on lockdown. This turns the maps region red and prevents the use of local shops and events, until enough time passes or your bounty is paid.

You can't repeatedly commit crimes and hide from the law without retribution from local people.

How to remove the WANTED status

There are three basic ways to remove the immediate WANTED status and all of them involve you losing your pursuers:

  • Escape the region
  • Killing all nearby lawmen
  • Hiding and staying out of sight until the search is called off

The red circle on the screen indicates the direction where the law are currently looking. If you choose to hide from the law, you MUST stay out of sight, otherwise if spotted you'll become fully wanted again. Passing through water or obstructive terrain is a good way to lose the computer AI.

Avoiding witnesses

Witness sign in corner of screen

You can avoid the WANTED status entirely by removing any witnesses to the crimes you commit. If a civilian spots you committing a major crime, they will try to tell law enforcement officers. Similarly, if a body is discovered it will also be reported and investigated. Try and hide bodies to avoid any signs that the crime took place.

Witnesses can be threatened into silence before they report the crime. However, bear in mind that not all witnesses take kindly to threats, some will retaliate.

Some minor crimes may not be reported but will still upset the civilians who may choose to fight you instead.

How to remove bounties

Even if you escape the WANTED state, your criminal history persists in that state. Bounty hunters will pursue you across the world.

There are two primary choices to remove bounties:

  1. Visit a post office to pay your debt to call off those bounty hunters - this obviously costs money but is guaranteed to give you a clean state in that area.
  2. Use a disguise - make yourself harder to recognise by changing your clothes and facial hair, or even wearing a mask. Through the campfire menu you can customize your shirt, pants, hat etc. The bounty still persists but you'll become harder to recognise.