Saga’s weird affinity for deer trophies can actually pay dividends. Here’s how to unravel the strange secret of deer heads in Alan Wake 2.
Greener Pastures: The Secret of the Deer Heads in Alan Wake 2
In Saga’s scenario in AW2, “Return,” you may notice early on that you can examine any preserved deer head trophies that you find. When you do, Saga will take a moment to pet them and comment on how sad they are.
You can also examine the deer head in Saga’s Mind Room (above) as early as Chapter 1. You’ll hear an ominous voice say you’ve got a certain number remaining, counting down from 12. That number decreases every time you, as Saga, find and pet a deer head trophy.
The deer heads aren’t particularly well-hidden. You’ll need to make a fairly completionist run through the game to find all 12 deer heads, which includes a bit of backtracking. Happily, most of the deer heads are found somewhere that you have to go anyway or in the same building as at least one other collectible.
All 12 Deer Head Locations in Alan Wake 2
Deer Head #1: Go south from the Murder Site at Cauldron Lake. The first deer head is on the wall inside the abandoned trailer, next to the first Cultist Stash in the game.
Deer Head #2: In the diner in Bright Falls, go into the unlocked storage room in the back and check the back wall.
Deer Head #3: After you defeat Nightingale, much of the flooding in Cauldron Lake recedes. Among other things, you can now visit Witchfinder Station in the upper left-hand corner of Cauldron Lake and pet the deer head on the wall on its first floor.
Deer Head #4: After you complete Initiation 1 and return to Saga, pet the deer head on the wall above the fireplace in the Elderwood Palace Lodge’s back room. For maximum rudeness, you can do this before Alan’s finished talking.
As Saga says during the tutorial for her Mind Room, she’s based the Room’s current look on the room that she and Casey are using in the actual Lodge. The deer head that counts here is the one in the real-life Bright Falls. So to speak.
Deer Head #5: When in Watery, which you first reach in Return 3, visit Suomi Hall. There’s a deer head on the wall of the Break Room in the back.
Deer Head #6: When you first reach the Lighthouse Trailer Park, go into the trailer directly across from Odin and Tor (below). There isn’t much here, but there’s a deer head you can pet on the wall above the dining room table.
Deer Head #7: Check the east side of the Koskela Knights’ garage in Watery. It’s next to the Espresso Express car that’s been repurposed as a planter (below, top). Note that while you can walk onto the garage’s grounds right after you leave Coffee World, the garage door remains shut until you’ve investigated Saga’s old home at the Lighthouse Trailer Park.
Deer Head #8: After you defeat the boss in Return 3, the floodwaters recede in Watery. Among other things, this lets you reach and enter the Ranger Station on the northwest side of the map, near Coffee World. The deer head is in the small dining room on its first floor.
Deer Head #9: In the Valhalla Nursing Home, pet the deer head in the Break Room on the second floor.
Deer Head #10: Solve the optional doorknob puzzle in the Wellness Center to open the Workshop. You’ll find the Hunting Rifle and a deer head inside.
Deer Head #11: Use your screwdriver to open the Ranger Station in the southern Bunker Woods in Bright Falls. Pet the deer head on its second floor.
Deer Head #12: Return to Cauldron Lake once you’ve got the bolt cutters. This allows you to open the gate to the condemned rental cabins. Cabin #6 is on the northwest side of the lot, past the fallen tree, and has little else in it besides the final deer head.
Your Reward for Finding All 12 Deer Heads
You don’t get an achievement/trophy for petting all 12 deer heads, or indeed, any real feedback on why you’re doing this at all. This is the one collectible in AW2 that Saga doesn’t liveblog in exhaustive detail on her case board. In fact, at time of writing, it’s not weird for the deer head in Saga’s Mind Room to glitch out before you complete the process.
Once you’ve found and interacted with all 12 deer heads, return to the Elderwood Palace Lodge in Bright Falls. At this point, if you turn right on entry and go straight, you should hear a deer call as you approach the bar.
Circle around through the back room. From here, go past the bloody deer trophy above the fireplace, through the Break Room, and across the lobby to the rented rooms. If you’ve done everything right, you should see a deer standing at the far end of the hall (below).
Before this point, Room 108 in the Elderwood Palace Lodge has been locked up. If you equip Mayor Setter’s Charm, you can tell there are a bunch of containers in there, but there’s no hint about how to open the door.
Now, the deer spirit (?) will open Room 108 for you, which is full of things to loot. Note that this doesn’t work if you go straight to Room 108 upon entry to the Lodge. You have to do the rigmarole where you go to the bar, then the back room, then the lobby. Otherwise, the deer won’t show up.
Like every container in AW2, the containers in Room 108 have randomized contents. However, they seem to have a higher chance than usual to contain multiple useful resources. It’s a great supply depot for Saga as you move towards her endgame.
You can technically open Room 108 as soon as you have the bolt cutters, if you spend some time backtracking before you go to the Sheriff’s Station in Bright Falls. However, it’s useful to wait for as long as possible before you fully clean out Room 108. This gives you a higher chance of securing high-powered late-game weapons like rocket flares or flashbang grenades.
That’s where to find all 12 deer heads in Alan Wake 2. For more tips and guides, consult our dedicated game hub.
Alyssa Payne contributed to this guide.