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How to Become a Bounty Hunter

When fugitives skip town, bounty hunters work to recover them. Here's how to get started in this exciting field.


  • Step 1: Know local laws Learn the local, state, and federal laws governing bounty hunters; some states require people to be licensed as private investigators before pursuing fugitives.
  • TIP: As of 2009, freelance bounty-hunting in Florida, North and South Carolina, is banned, and Oregon, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Illinois do not allow bounty hunting at all.
  • Step 2: Locate clients Find clients who have targets that need to be caught. Start with bail bond agents, who use bounty hunters to track down individuals who have skipped out on court dates.
  • Step 3: Investigate the subject Put together a file on your target. Investigate any public and private records you can get your hands on and monitor the subject's friends and family to learn about places they might run to, secret money or weapons stashes, and unique identifying characteristics.
  • TIP: Use a service that masks your number when making calls, as certain people may be reluctant to help you.
  • Step 4: Apprehend the subject Go out in the field and find your target. Prepare for the encounter by wearing body armor and knowing at least one method of self-defense. Try to subdue the fugitive using nonviolent means. If violence is absolutely necessary, don't use deadly force. Carry handcuffs to restrain the target.
  • : Follow all laws and instructions when using any weapons or forceful equipment.
  • Step 5: Bring 'em in Return the target to your client, either in your own vehicle or in cooperation with the authorities. Be alert for escape attempts, since the fugitive's fight or flight mechanism is likely to be in overdrive.
  • Step 6: Collect your money Obtain payment from your client; you've invested considerable time and energy to catch your prey. Now, go out and do it again.
  • FACT: Famed fictional bounty hunter Boba Fett first appeared in the 1978 made-for-television Star Wars Holiday Special.

You Will Need

  • Knowledge of laws
  • Client
  • Fugitive
  • Tracking methods
  • Body armor
  • Self-defense
  • Handcuffs
  • Vehicle
  • No-nonsense attitude
  • License (optional)

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