The iconic image of the bounty hunter has been seared into our collective memories due to movie and television incarnations in pop culture. From Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti western character “The Man With No Name,” to the reality TV sensation Dog: The Bounty Hunter, audiences have been captivated by the romanticized portrayal of the rugged bounty hunter mythos. As it turns out, bounty hunters have been around for hundreds of years, and their role in criminal justice systems has changed dramatically over time.

Bail Was a Person:

In 13th century England, bail was not a sum of money you had to pay to the court, it was an actual person. This designated individual was tasked with keep track of the accused after they were released from jail and awaiting trial and penalty. If the accused disappeared before facing penalty, the designated custodian would be punished in their place. A couple centuries later, England establish Habeas Corpus, which in part guaranteed accused criminals be released on monetary bail.

Meanwhile in the United States, the 8th Amendment guaranteed that excessive bail would be prohibited, and bail laws remained largely unchanged for almost 200 years. In 1966, congress passed into law the Bail Reform Act, which guaranteed the accused could be released on as little bail as possible.

Bounty Hunter Origins:

The U.S. Supreme Court case Taylor v. Taintor in 1873 gave broad authority to bounty hunters as agents of bondsman. If the accused happened to jump bail, the bounty hunter could pursue them across state lines and even break into their house to arrest them and haul them back into jail. Over the decades, states have put at least some restrictions on bounty hunting. However, most states still allow bounty hunters to arrest people across state lines.

You Can Be a Bounty Hunter Too:

There’s no college degree for bounty hunting. So if you’re interested in becoming a bail enforcement agent there’s a few steps you must take to get licensed. First of all, there are multiple bounty hunter training programs throughout the country, both at community colleges and other academies. These programs vary in length and are tailored for the specific state you’ll be getting your bounty hunter license. If you plan on carrying a gun, you may also need to take concealed carry classes and earn a permit for the firearm as well.

When you’re finally licensed, the next step is finding bail bondsmen that need bounty hunters. Most bail bonds businesses do occasionally need the services of a bounty hunter, so that shouldn’t be too hard. You would also want to notify local law enforcement of your activities so they’re aware of your hunting and don’t mistake you as some lunatic vigilante!


The bounty hunting profession has been around for centuries. While modern laws have put restrictions on what they’re allowed to do, bounty hunters are still a sought-after commodity from bail bondsmen that need assurance they can recover fugitives in the event they go missing. If you’re a newly minted bounty hunter, or just in need of bail bonds after an arrest, contact Troy’s Bail Bonds today!