Into the Breach
The Cylonian Moorelves
The moorelves of Cylonia are a group of fey forest elves know for the use of trained owlbears for labour, transport and war.
You seem to recall reading of The Cylonian Moorelves, a group of eladrin hunters who were experts in capturing and taming the large beasts of their homeland to use as mounts and for physical labour. They had a number of methods of capturing Owlbears without harming them, the first was to use females that they had already trained as a faux herd that the males would follow without fuss into large pre-built pens. This had a high success rate and became very popular with the Moorelves, as they could capture large groups at once, but it did require a lot of manpower. A second method, used to capture the lone Owlbears (called rogues) required only a handful of hunters, even as few as two have managed to subdue even large Owlbears, and the method was simple enough. One (or more) of the hunters would distract, aggravate or intimidate the creature with insults, flame and other things to hold it’s attention whilst another one or two would flank the beast and lasso a hind leg with a strong rope. Repeating this a further three times would render the beast unable to continue it’s attacks, and so they would build it a shelter from the sun, if necessary and after about a day of being restrained, the creature would become exhausted and morose, losing the will to struggle and become accustomed to it’s assailants, especially if it was placated with food. With it’s beak bound, and it’s claws harmlessly clipped, it could be led by a rope not dissimilar to leading a horse. The expert moorelves, supplemented this method with various techniques, such as sitting in a tree with the lasso sitting under foliage on the ground, pulling it up when an Owlbear was either lured or chased over the trap, having secured the other end of the lasso to the tree, making far easier to snare the other legs. There was a third method involving the digging of large pit-traps, but this also required time and manpower. When human poachers started to see the uses of the creatures, including their meat and pelts, and were not so concerned about the wellbeing of the creatures, their method of capture was to attack and often slay the young, enraging the parents and simply beating them into submission. Injuries among the poachers were greater than their elven counterparts, but the gold was worth it.