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Monster Hunter: World capturing: how to capture monsters, is capturing better than killing?

You fell for my little trap.

Killing a monster is one way to finish a hunt, but did you know that you can also capture the large monsters of Monster Hunter: World? In fact, some quests found on the quest board will ask for you to capture instead of merely "hunt" a monster. If you do happen to kill it by mistake, you will fail the quest and you will upset your Palico. However the game isn't really forthcoming about how to go about this, only explaining the basics once you accept a capture only quest in the first place. That said, it's actually a remarkably simple process that can make harder battles take a shorter time, though only for large monsters and not the Elder Dragons. This guide will tell you how to capture monsters and answer the key question all hunters face: Is capturing monsters better than killing them?

Monster Hunter: World capture guide

Your rewards obtained for capturing monsters can include highly sought after items required to finish crafting that all-important piece of armour. However, before you even think about trying to nab one of these beasts, it's imperative that you know how to attack and dodge to weaken it. Newer players should head to our Monster Hunter World guide for more combat tips, as well as things they should bring on the hunt besides the prerequisite items you should have if you want to capture your chosen monster.

If you are looking for specifically Monster Hunter World Iceborne guides, then we have created a separate guide hub for just expansion stuff. Head over to our Monster Hunter World Iceborne guide to make your start.

Player is using Tranq Bombs after stunning the Great Jagras with a Shock Trap.

How to capture monsters in Monster Hunter: World

First thing's first, for every hunt where you want to capture a monster, consult the following points below so that you're fully prepared.

  • Is the monster I'm capturing a "large monster" and not an "Elder Dragon"?
  • Do I have enough Tranq Bombs?
  • Do I have at least one shock trap, and one Pitfall trap?
  • Is Baselgeuse and/or Deviljho in the area?

Since you can't capture Elder Dragons, attempting to do so is pointless. However for all the other monsters, you'll need at the very least one Shock Trap or Pitfall Trap depending on the and two Tranq Bombs. To find out how to make these and every other item in the crafting menu, have a look at our Monster Hunter: World crafting guide. Certain quests come with EZ variants of the two items, so make sure you pick them up from the supply crate in the base camp, but always bring some normal versions as spares in case it all goes south.

Once you have them, you'll need to find the monster and attack it. If you maximise your Scout Level for that hunt by using all of the monster's tracks and traceable markings during the fight, there will be a marker shown in the mini-map for when a monster is about to be killed. This is indicated by floating skulls. If you see this, don't attack the monster and instead get ready to capture it. You can also tell this is the case if the monster is limping heavily away from you, though this relies on the monster trying to flee from you rather than desperately attacking to kill you.

A monster that has entered this state can then be captured, so back off and follow from a distance. Usually what will happen is the monster will either head back to its hideout or to the next area, attempting to recover health by sleeping. If it's asleep, walk up to it and throw down a Shock Trap. This will wake it up, but if you then throw down two Tranq Bombs next to its head, this should capture it. Do keep in mind that there are some surfaces that you can't lay down traps, mostly water and netting, as well as certain pink terrain in the Coral Highlands.

Some monsters however have a resistance to Shock Traps, so in order to combat this resistance you may need to throw down one Tranq Bomb beforehand, then try to Shock Trap it, then throw the two additional Tranq Bombs to capture. Another way is to herd the monster into a Pitfall Trap before using Tranq Bombs, though this requires the monster to play ball. Finally, if Bazelgeuse and/or Deviljho are in the same area and you don't want one or both to interfere with your capture attempt, consider bringing dung pods.


Rewards screen for capturing a Great Jagras.

Is capturing monsters in Monster Hunter: World better than killing them?

That largely depends on what you're going after. Generally speaking, there are some monsters that only give certain rewards upon capturing rather than slaying them, so you'll want to ensure what you want before capturing. If you want those special items that are exclusive to keeping that monster alive, you'll want to ensure it's captured rather than killed.

Another benefit is that you'll unlock special arena based missions for each captured monster. These allow for hunters to take on monsters without chasing them around a map, as well as being able to fire ballistae and cannons. You should therefore consider capturing each monster at least once, though it's advisable to capture them at a high rank in order to unlock both low rank and high rank arena quests.

One thing to emphasise is that once you've gotten the hang of capturing monsters, it can be easier for later monsters than it is to kill them. This is usually because monsters in the later part of the game tend to get a bit more aggressive than normal, or in some cases even gain new attacks. The fact so many of them return to their lair for a nap, leaving them wide open to being snagged up, should be a huge factor in your decision to capture or kill.

While the benefits are substantial, there is an obvious downside in that you can't harvest it for more parts once the monster has been trapped. So it's important, particularly for multiplayer sessions, that you decide on whether to capture or slay the monster. There's also the downside that Elder Dragons can't be captured at all, so will need to be slain the old fashioned way.

Player is attempting to capture pink birds.

How to capture critters and fish in Monster Hunter: World

Speaking of capturing stuff, there is more than just the big monsters that can be captured for resource points. You'll always have a capture net and fishing rod on your person, allowing you to go off piste during an expedition to catch a few more things to bring back. You'll also net a few research points and some information about them.

When it comes to using the capture net, always remember that you need to aim significantly higher than you think you need to aim. You also need to be really close to the creature you want to snag, meaning you'll likely need to ensure you're not spotted. It's then a case of firing the net and hoping you got your target. The hardest targets to snag are birds as they fly away if you miss.

Fish on the other hand can be obtained by either casting a net into a school of fish in a pond, or by using the fishing rod. You'll be able to choose your bait for the fishing rod in order to lure rarer fish to your hook. Once you've cast the line, be patient and wait for the lure to fully submerge into the water before reeling it in.

So now you know how to capture creatures big and small, but what do you do with the resources? Bigger creatures yield items that are useful for crafting armour among other things, so find out what things you can make in our Monster Hunter: World armour guide. You can also take a look at our Monster Hunter: World materials guide for more on where to find the materials needed to craft new gear.

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