Bounty Hunters and Fugitive Recovery Agents


What is a Bounty Hunter?

A bounty hunter is an individual who captures fugitives from the law. Usually, the fugitive is someone who “skipped” bail. In other words, they escaped jail by posting bail money but didn’t appear in court as promised.

Most bounty hunters are employed by bail bondsmen. If a bounty hunter can track down and apprehend the fugitive, they are paid a portion of the bail that the fugitive initially paid. If the fugitive eludes bail, the bondsman is ultimately responsible for the remainder.

The bounty hunter is the bail bondsman’s way of ensuring their clients appear in court as promised.  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 sometimes known as “bail enforcement agents/officers” or “fugitive recovery agents/officers,” the preferred industry titles. However, in most cases, they are referred to as simply bounty hunters.

Bounty Hunter Training and Education

Fugitive Recovery Agents need to be skilled in several things, including skiptracing. Skiptracing involves researching their subject to determine their possible location. Skiptracing methods might include searching paid and public records databases for the last known address. In addition, it involves contacting family members and known associates. Also, social media investigations can help identify the last known location, friends, and relatives.

Firearms – Rarely does a person on the run from the law want to be caught. Some people would rather go down shooting than face justice or possibly return to jail. As a result, bounty hunting is a hazardous business. Most agents carry firearms as protection.

Self Defense – Many apprehensions involve the use of physical force. Agents need to be skilled in basic self-defense and have the strength to take down and hold someone who doesn’t want to be captured. Agents need ongoing development and practice in this area.

On-the-Job Training – Most training and education agents will be on the job or “in the field.” Agents should work with bail bondsmen or experienced recovery agents to understand the intricacies of the job. Examples of training include fugitive takedown, transport, working with bail bondsmen, and more.

Bounty Hunter Laws and Regulations

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

Four states prohibit the practice of bail bonding altogether, including the practice of bounty hunting. Those states are Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, and Wisconsin. In addition, Nebraska and Maine prohibit the bail bonds practice.

RELATED: Dog the Bounty Hunter TV Series

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

  • National Association of Bail Enforcement Agents
  • National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents (NAFRA)
  • Fugitive Watch—Fugitive Watch was founded by two Bay Area police officers and is a reality-based television show, newspaper, and website called It features exciting stories on crimes and fugitives. Fugitive Watch has been credited with thousands of captures and solved crimes. The show combines law enforcement work, local businesses, and the community into an effective crime-fighting tool.

eInvestigator Private Investigator Directory

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

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions about these bounty hunter resources, please post a comment below.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


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