The lucrative venture that is known as bounty hunting, dates back as far as the days of the Wild West. In those days, wanted posters showing both local and national criminals wanted by the police were boldly posted at popular establishments and notice boards in various towns, along with the reward for their capture as an extra incentive. In those days, rewards could be about $5,000 per fugitive and also, it wasn't really compulsory for the felon to be brought in to receive justice, dead or alive. That was basically up to the bounty hunter and the only thing the law enforcement agents wanted was to get the fugitives from justice off the streets and they aimed to do that by any means necessary. As was the practice then, and is still ongoing now, these bounty hunters work for a percentage of the bail money that has to be paid by the fugitive, to the justice system. These days, bounty hunting is a veritable, serious profession and most bounty hunters receive special training and are licensed to operate within a specific jurisdiction.
Below are five interesting facts that I am fairly certain you did not know about bounty hunters:
1.) For starters, these days, the name "bounty hunter" is not quite as acceptable as it used to be. Rather, these people now go by the name, bail enforcement agent or fugitive recovery agent. In today's politically correct society, these two names ensure that these people receive the respect their job demands from both the members of the public, the industry and the justice system as well.
2.) There are bail enforcement agents who possess higher authority to arrest fugitives than even police officers. Of course, it depends on the fugitive recovery agent's state of operation, as well the bounty hunting laws that are applicable there. While bounty hunting is legal across the country, some states like Kentucky, Illinois, and Oregon do not allow bounty hunting of any form. In order to operate within this regions, a court order has to be issued to the bounty hunter and then the arrest is made by a police officer. After that, a request can be made by the bounty hunter for the fugitive to be remanded to his/her custody.
3.) The old practice of "by any means necessary" no longer applies to new age bounty hunters and they are no longer allowed to capture fugitives "dead or alive". The recovered person must be alive and preferably not roughed up. Signs of assault such as broken bones and bruises, will not be accepted by the justice system. Beating up a fugitive can prevent them from being sent to jail as there are legal liabilities involved.
4.) As outlandish as it may sound, most bounty hunters these days, wear badges that identify them as bail enforcement agents to ensure they are easily identifiable to law enforcement agents, the public as well as the fugitives being chased.
5.) The 1873 Supreme Court case of Taylor vs Taintor, ushered in the rise of broad authority for bounty hunters in the United States. The case availed bounty hunters nationwide, the authority to act in the stead of bail bondsmen and arrest fugitives from justice who had skipped bail. It also gave them the authority and permission to cross state borders in the pursuit of a fugitive and also enter the place of residence of the fugitive in order to make an arrest.
Bounty hunting is now a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States and has grown steadily over the past several decades. Earnings for a skilled bail enforcement agent can reach upwards of $80,000 per year, just from the recovery of fugitives. Keep in mind though, that they will take as much as 50-150 cases to arrive at that amount and it can be very tiring. The amount of time put into the search matters as well as many bounty hunters spend as much as 80-100 hours per week, chasing down these fugitives, staking out possible hideouts, conducting various research before tracking down the target.