The History of Bounty Hunters


Bounty hunters, you’re probably familiar with the term due to the TV show Dog The Bounty Hunter, but do you know the historical context behind bounty hunters? Do you know the history behind bounty hunters and why they are still used today? Read our post to learn about bounty hunters or what they are called now, bail bondsman or bail enforcement agents. If your loved one is facing jail time and you need a bail bondsman, HB Bail Bonds can meet your needs. For any bail bonding services in the Columbus, OH, area, please call HB Bail Bonds, a bail bonding company in Columbus, OH.

The Start Of Bounty Hunters

In the 13th century, bail was an actual person, not the amount of money that we know today. The bail person was used as collateral to ensure the convicted person would come face the punishment for his or her crime, which was usually a hanging. For instance, the bail person was to take care of the accused, but if they didn’t return to face the punishment the bail person would take his or her place instead. Generally, the bail person would be hung in the place of the convicted person if they were not found. When America was first established as a country the colonists took a lot of the overall rules from England, since that’s what the colonist knew for their laws. It would’ve been very difficult creating all new laws when England had already established a pretty good system for laws that should be followed. Read, The History Of Bail, to learn the history behind bail bonds and how America established bail bonds.

As America became more settled as a county, there were laws set in place to ensure that bail bondsman were able to do their job. For instance, the Eighth Amendment details in the Constitution that the use of setting excessive bail is prohibited. In addition, the Judiciary Act of 1789, which is the reason we have a judicial court system, also defined the terms for bailable offenses. As time progressed, the terms have changed due to a growing country and technology, but for the most part, the bailable offenses have stayed in place.

In 1873, the supreme court ruled in Taylor v. Taintor that bounty hunters would now be part of the law enforcement system in the United States. Taylor v. Tainter determined that a bail bondsman has the rights to recover a suspect.

As the country expanded Westward, the Wild West didn’t have the same resources as the already established states. Due to a lack of resources, the local sheriffs offered a reward for people who were wanted by the law. Since the sheriffs were unable to go after criminals, they hired bounty hunters to do it or put a poster up and whoever caught the criminal first got the reward. “Wanted” posters were put up to capture people with huge rewards sometimes in the $5,000 range, which was very pricey during that time. You’ve probably heard of Butch Cassidy, Jesse James, Buffalo Bill, and Billy the Kid, all were famous outlaws in the Wild West with prices on their heads who were hunted down by bounty hunters or at least tried to be hunted down by bounty hunters. When the sheriffs were unable to capture outlaws, bounty hunters stepped in and collected the reward. You’ve probably heard ‘bring them in dead or alive’ that was actually what happened in the Wild West, which is why bounty hunters have such a renegade type of reputation even to this day, despite how bounty hunters are licensed and trained in modern society.

Modern Day Bounty Hunters Or Bail Bondsman

Today, bounty hunter, bail bondsman, and bail enforcement agent, are all interchangeable, but they all mean the same thing. They are all people who go after those who have skipped out on bail. The people who skipped out on bail are referred to as ‘skips’ and when retrieved the bounty hunter is given 10 to 20 percent of the total amount of bail bonds. The days for bail bondsman are long, hard, and difficult. Not only do they have to sometimes work up to 100 hours a week, but they have to interact with people who are untrustworthy, wait around a lot, and drive around bad neighborhoods looking for the ‘skip.’ The life of a bounty hunter isn’t as glamorous as one might think, but instead, is dictated by drudgery and taxing work.

Is your loved one facing trouble with the law? Call a bail bondsman today.