Learning how to capture monsters in Monster Hunter World allows you to complete quests without needing to slice and dice up your prey.
With the right timing and use of items, you can choose to take monsters alive to earn additional materials and resources you wouldn't get from just taking them down the old fashioned way. It also unlocks that monster to fight against in the game's Arena.
Capturing is an optional way to complete any regular hunt quests, but is a requirement for certain types of optional hunts, so learning how to do will become key if you want to tick every quest off the list.
There's also the option to capture smaller creatures too, which is useful for items and completing other types of optional quests.
Elsewhere, our Monster Hunter World tips can help you decide when to farm, what to forage and what to do between hunts, and our Monster Hunter World walkthrough and guide can help with main quest and story progress.
How to capture large monsters in Monster Hunter World
To capture a monster, you need a trap and some tranquilliser items. These come in many different forms (such as tranq ammo) but lets focus on the primary two - a Shock Trap and a Tranq Bomb.
If you are undertaking an Investigation specifically to catch a creature, these will be in the Item Box ready and waiting when you appear in the area.
Otherwise, it's worth having a stock of them available on Expeditions. Both types of item can also be bought from the Provisions Stockpile or crafted - for example Shock Traps require a Trap Tool and a Thunderbug, while Tranq Bombs require Sleep Herbs and Parashrooms.
Once you have got what you need and found your monster, track and attack it like normal until it is wounded. You can visibly see this by the way it limps when it moves, usually back to its nest. At this point its vulnerable enough to capture.
Follow it and set a trap on the ground by going through your inventory with L1 / Left Bumper to rotate the menu on the bottom right, then using the item. You'll want to set it in its path, or at its feet when it's sleeping.
If you find yourself getting spotted on the approach, then a Ghillie Mantle might help here.
When it's shocked, it's time to use Tranq Bombs. Again, scroll through your inventory and use it standing next to the beast (it'll disperse around you). After a handful of these, the creature will fall asleep and be captured, ending the hunt. Nicely done!
As well as a bumper set of materials, you can also see your catch back in the north west of Astera, having a snooze in the corner. It also unlocks that monster to fight against in the game's Arena (available as an Optional Quest).
Another thing to note - if you are after certain materials from particular body parts (legs, head, tail) then these can still drop off mid-battle as usual before you capture them, so feel free to target select parts as usual.
Additionally, a subset of creatures - Elder Dragons such as Kirin - cannot be captured, and so must be slain.
How to capture small creatures with the Capture Net in Monster Hunter World and set them as your pet
As well as the main targets on a hunt, you can also capture the small creatures you find scurrying or fluttering around in the wild.
Let's use an early game Critical Bounty, Research Help: Woodland Pteryx Capture as an example. You'll start this by talking to the Endemic Life Researcher in the Ancient Forest's fifth area (north-east corner of the map) while in Expedition mode.
To capture this or any small creature - think frogs, bugs and anything else that scurries or hovers around - you must first equip your Capture Net.
To do so, press L1 / Left Bumper and rotate through your inventory on the bottom right, then press Square (or the X button on Xbox). Note the Capture Net will always be on you - no need to worry about leaving it behind on missions.
Now use the left and right triggers to aim and then fire the net. The reach isn't great, so you have to get reasonably close; if the retractile glows orange, then the target is in reach.
As for that Woodland Pteryx? It's high up in the trees in area 15, which is above area 5 of the Ancient Forest. You'll see them gliding between trees; just wait until it's resting to catch it. Remember to then turn in the Bounty back in Astera to earn your rewards.
It's worth noting any small creatures you catch can become your pets. Head to your room back in Astera, then chat to your Housekeeper to show a list of your catches, then let your chosen one loose.
They don't do anything beyond offering a spot of decoration. That said, there's plenty of usual creatures to choose from to spruce up your abode, so keep an eye out for what you can find!