The Bounty Hunter. This title can conjure up many images in a person’s mind. From reality television incarnations like Dog, the Bounty Hunter, bounty hunters may be very much misunderstood.
This is a true shame because if you have the right “stuff,” the payoff could be quite rewarding. Have you ever thought about a profession where you set your own schedule and have a touch of danger?
Before jumping headfirst into the bounty-hunting world, you must do your homework. This includes not only researching your home state’s regulations on bounty hunting, but anywhere you cross state lines. Do they require you to have a license or insurance, and if they have certain restrictions that you must follow?
This research can be time-consuming and detailed if you plan to travel throughout many states, but it must be done. Training courses, if required, would include all aspects of the profession, from the how-to’s of investigation to surveillance, apprehension, and finally, claiming the bounty.
Now, let’s be honest. Bounty Hunting isn’t ranked as one of the ten safest jobs to hold, and with that being said, some (or for your sake, the more, the better) training should be on your to-do list before hunting down your first bail jumper. This training should include firearm use and safety, empty-hand self-defense tactics, and non-lethal weapons training and use (including tasers, mace, extendable baton, etc.)
Additionally, being “beefed” up with regular strength training at the gym and a cardio routine for increased stamina and endurance is also a wise choice before your first job. Furthermore, learning non-physical aspects of the job, including surveillance, disguise, and, most importantly, patience, can help reduce physical injury due to conflict with a bail jumper. Another skill that can come in very handy while investigating people who may have had contact with your intended target is your ability to read a person’s body language.
Non-verbal clues from family members or friends of the person you are hunting may be all you need to close in on your target. From facial quirks to body stances to the tone of voice, learning to read body language can save you time in your investigation and some pain during the apprehension of your bail jumper. A face-to-face confrontation can lead to unneeded injury if you can’t read your target’s signs (that physical conflict may happen).
The Criminal Justice system is vast, and you may want to get your feet wet with other, less directly dangerous professions before you dive into bounty hunting. These would be jobs that skirt the edge of the criminal element while providing experience for you to move upward into the bounty-hunting world slowly. Jobs such as security guard, in-house security for large department stores, or any level of law enforcement.
Additionally, suppose you have a military background (which also covers self-defense and weapon comfortability, so that’s a plus). In that case, you can become an apprentice to seasoned bounty hunters.
Remember to check your state’s requirements to obtain a bounty hunter license. Some states require it. Others do not, and still, others require it, but with limited conditions to obtain it. Some states have age restrictions, while others require having a criminal background check. Some states even require a written exam to be taken and passed prior to licensing. Please do so to save you time and money in the future.
For the most part, bounty hunters are essentially independent contractors, although some (very few) are employed directly by bail bond agents. As such, it’s vitally important to create a network of agents who may give you work regularly. Once you become successful with a case, your reputation will grow, and more work will be given to you. As you diversify and work with more and more bail bond agents, your network will grow. Word travels fast if you are competent, professional, and speedy when doing your job. Keep it up, and you’ll have a very lucrative career.
No matter how much is researched about being a bounty hunter, there is nothing better than on-the-job training. As a rookie, you’ll make some mistakes that suit your overall learning process. Nothing beats experience; the more you’re out in the field, the more street experience you’ll get. If you’re lucky to find a mentor, learn from them and discard what doesn’t work.
Soon, you’ll have your system that functions, and every capture will reinforce your investigation. Nothing is perfect, but practice and more practice will get you close. Danger will still be out there, but you’ll have great skills, smarts, and physical attributes to face it head-on and succeed in your newly chosen career.