Bounty hunting can be exhilarating in Elite Dangerous: Horizons. It’s an occupation that simply amounts to shooting down spaceships flown by wanted pilots across the Milky Way. Shooting down wanted ships with bounties on their heads is a great way to both boost your combat ranking and amass bucket loads of credits. Bounty hunting can also enhance your reputation with major factions. So, maybe you should do a bit of bounty hunting! Here are some Elite Dangerous: Horizons tips for bounty hunting in the Milky Way.
Go Bounty Hunting at Resource Extraction Sites
Players can go bounty hunting at Resource Extraction Sites and Nav Beacons. The Nav Beacons are located near stars. The Resource Extraction Sites are mining locations in asteroid fields around planets.
Nav Beacons are ok for beginners to start bounty hunting at, but wanted ships spawn at higher rates in Resource Extraction Sites. Therefore, you’ll usually find more bounty targets at Resource Extraction Sites. These are the four RES types in Elite Dangerous: Horizons:
- Resource Extraction Site [Low]: Spawns mostly the smallest ships
- Resource Extraction Site [Medium]: Spawns mostly medium-sized vessels
- Resource Extraction Site [High]: Spawns bigger ships
- Resource Extraction Site [Hazardous]: Spawns the very largest spaceships
As the RES hazardous spots have no police presence and include the biggest ships, it’s not recommended beginner bounty hunters ply their trade at them. However, you can count on police support at low, medium, and high RES sites. Bounty hunting is generally more lucrative at those Resource Extraction Sites than Nav Beacons because of their higher wanted ship spawn rates.
Find Good Hunting Spots With the Bounty Hunting Systems Tool
The Elite Dangerous Utilities website includes a handy Bounty Hunting Systems search tool for finding good hunting spots. Select the Bounty Hunting Systems radio button on that website. Then type the name of the star system you’re in and a light-year distance in the text boxes, and click the Find option. The utility will then list star systems that include compromised Nav Beacons and hazardous RES areas within the specified distance of your location.
Check Security Presence Details for Star Systems
You can count on more security ship support for your bounty hunting in high-security systems. Star systems with lower security will have fewer police at Nav Beacons and Resource Extraction Sites. So, it’s worth checking the security presence details for star systems on the galaxy map.
Anarchy star systems are the one thing you must certainly avoid jumping into for bounty hunting. Those star systems don’t have any police presence to support you on your bounty hunting endeavors. Furthermore, you won’t be able to find any wanted ships in anarchy star systems without a Kill Warrant Scanner.
Stick to PVE Bounty Hunting
You can engage in either PVE (player vs. environment) or PVP (player vs. player) bounty hunting combat in Elite Dangerous: Horizons. Most notorious player pirates will probably know how to handle fights against bounty hunters and police vessels. It’s generally somewhat tougher to outmaneuver player-controlled ships than AI ones. Therefore, PVE bounty hunting against none-player controlled ships is generally a much lower risk. Stick to hunting wanted AI ships if you want an easier time.
If you want to have a go at PVP bounty hunting, however, you must fly a serious combat ship. With its excellent maneuverability and decent speed, the Fer-de-Lance is one of the very best vessels for PVP combat. The Anaconda and Federal Corvette are also two of the best Elite Dangerous bounty-hunting ships for space dogfights.
Equip Kill Warrant and Frame Shift Wake Scanner to Your Ship
Kill Warrant and Frame Shift Wake scanners are two tools all serious bounty hunters should equip to their ships. The Kill Warrant Scanner scans to check for any bounties a targeted ship might have acquired the star system it’s flying in. Even if a ship isn’t wanted within the star system you’re targeting it in, it might still hold a criminal record outside it. By assigning the KWS to a fire group, you can detect vessels wanted in other star systems.
The Frame Shift Wake Scanner can detect the destinations of bounty targets after they’ve exited star systems with their hyperspace jumps. It scans Frame Shift Wakes to reveal the destination star systems ships jump to. With one of those equipped to a firing group on your ship, you’ll be able to pursue bounty targets after they jumped out of the star systems you were hunting them in.
Make Sure you can Cover Your Ship’s Insurance
This is an Elite Dangerous: Horizons tip for bounty hunting and more general combat that all players shouldn’t forget. Always make sure you have enough credits to cover your ship’s rebuy insurance cost. Bounty hunting is a risky business, and somebody will probably shoot you down sooner or later when you’re chasing pirates. If you can’t afford to rebuy a lost spaceship, you’ll be in a pickle.
Don’t Bother With Elite Dangerous Bounty Hunting Missions
You can also hunt down space pirates by accepting Elite Dangerous bounty hunting mission contracts from factions at stations. However, most bounty missions aren’t worth it even if you do receive extra faction payments on top of vouchers. It takes somewhat longer to search for and find wanted spaceships in the middle of star systems than hunt them down at Resource Extraction Sites and Nav Beacons. Thus, completing bounty missions is a slower hunting process. Furthermore, you can’t always count on police vessel support to take down wanted pirates during bounty missions.
Stop Hunting When Your Ship’s Hull Health is Low
This is another important Elite Dangerous: Horizons tip for bounty hunting. Nothing is worse than getting blow out of space when your ship is carrying lots of bounty vouchers. All the bounty vouchers you’ve amassed will be lost along with the spaceship. In the worst cases, you could lose millions of credits.
So, withdraw from your bounty hunting sessions when the going is good. When your ship’s hull integrity drops to around the 25 to 33 percent mark, you should head back to a station to receive your bounty voucher credits. After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Be Very Careful not to Shoot Nearby Security Ships
Another thing you need to be careful of when bounty hunting in Elite Dangerous is not to shoot at security ships on your side. When there are lots of police chasing a pirate, be careful not to confuse the security vessels with your wanted target. Accidentally shooting a police vessel (with only minor damage) will immediately turn you into a wanted ship as well. Then all nearby security spaceships will open fire on you pretty sharpish, which could ruin your day. Be prepared to hold fire when the security boys are obstructing your view of the target.
Don’t Attack Wanted Ships Flying in Wing Formations
Attacking a wanted ship flying in a wing formation is one of the best ways to get yourself killed when bounty hunting. When you do that, all the other spaceships in the wing formation will fly to your target pirate’s aid and attack you. Thus, you can end up fighting a whole group of up to four spaceships instead of one. If you don’t have any security ships in support, four vs. one will never be very favorable odds irrespective of what you’re flying in. So, be careful and don’t attack pirates flying in wings.
Those Elite Dangerous: Horizons tips for bounty hunting will ensure happier and more lucrative hunting across the Milky Way. You can also check out our Elite Dangerous: Horizons Combat guide (linked above) for some space dogfight tips. Good luck and happy hunting!