Bounty Hunters and Fugitive Recovery Services


What is a Bounty Hunter?

A bounty hunter is an individual who captures fugitives for a monetary reward, for apprehending by law, if such laws exist.  Other names for bounty hunters include:

  • Bail agent
  • Bail enforcement agent
  • Bail officer
  • Fugitive recovery agent
  • Fugitive recovery officer
  • Bail fugitive recovery specialist

Most bounty hunters are employed by a bail bondsman.

The bounty hunter is paid a portion of the bail that the fugitive initially paid.  If the fugitive eludes bail, the bondsman, not the bounty hunter, is responsible for the remainder of the fugitive’s bail.

Therefore, the bounty hunter is the bail bondsman’s way of ensuring his clients arrive at trial.  In the United States, bounty hunters catch an estimated 31,500 bail jumpers per year, about 90% of people who jump bail.

Bounty hunters are also sometimes known as “bail enforcement agents” or “fugitive recovery agents,” which are the preferred industry and polite terms, but in common speech (and language), they are still called “bounty hunters”.

Also, bounty hunters are sometimes called “skiptracers,” but this usage can be misleading. While bounty hunters are often skiptracers as well, skiptracing generally refers to the process of searching for an individual through less direct methods than active pursuit and apprehension, such as private investigators or debt collectors. Skiptracing can also refer to searches related to a civil matter and does not always imply criminal conduct on the part of the individual being traced.

In the United States of America, bounty hunters have varying levels of authority in their duties with regard to their targets, depending on the states in which they operate.

Bounty Hunter Websites

Following is a list of websites that Private Investigators can use to find information about Bounty Hunters and wanted fugitives.  Information available on these sites include: Bounty Hunter training information, resources for bounty hunters, fugitive listings, and most wanted lists.

America’s Most Wanted Criminals – State by state listing of criminals and rewards for finding them.

Fugitive Watch – Fugitive Watch was founded by two bay area police officers and is a reality-based television show, newspaper and web site called It features exciting stories on crimes and fugitives. Fugitive Watch has been credited with over thousands of captures or solving of crimes. The show combines law enforcement work, local businesses and the community into an effective crime-fighting tool.

U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted – Most wanted fugitives including descriptions and pictures

To hire a private investigator that specializes in bounty hunting, please visit our Private Investigator Directory.


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