CHOOSING A CAREER / DEC. 04, 2014
version 5, draft 5

What Bounty Hunters Look Like today


So you want to be a black leather wearing, Taser wielding, modern day cowboy known as a bounty hunter. First, turn off the Discovery channel, your perception of reality is skewed enough without the extra help. No, bounty hunters do not look like Dog the Bounty hunter and humans’ breasts are never the size of his wife’s. Here are a few things you should know about bounty hunting.

Head hunters, which are Bounty Hunters, are now called Recovery Agents

Why do you think Bounty Hunters or Recovery Agents used to be called Head Hunters? I’ll let you think for a bit longer. This is why: The only way to prove beyond a benefit of a doubt that the bounty they were claiming they killed was truly dead, was to present said bounty’s severed head. Today dismemberment is slightly more frowned upon unless it happened before the arrest.

Better than cops at getting murderous criminals off the road

Bounty hunters have a 97% success rate at apprehending fugitives they pursue. That’s compared to a measly 3% success rate cops have. Because I have friends and relatives that are cops and have a personal rule against pissing people off with free use of fire arms let me state this: cops don’t get paid anything extra for fugitives apperhended and also have paddy-trucks worth of other responsibilities. Bounty hunters not only get paid handsomely for their efforts but if they don’t catch someone they don’t get anything. So if you don’t walk by a serial killer today you can thank your friendly neighborhood bounty hunter. Maybe you shouldn’t their actually not that friendly.

The History of Bounty Hunting

Bounty hunting started in England around the 13 century. Because history is always much more terrifying, bail back then was an actual person, if the accused skipped their trial the ‘bail’ would be hung in his absence.  Later on the law was amended so money and not people (thank God) would be used for bail. It’s disconcerting to mention here that the law changed almost 500 years later. Oh history you’re so crazy!

Noteworthy and horrifying Bounty Hunters of the Past

Pat Garrett

The capturer of Billy the Kid. With a $500 dollar price on his head Billy the Kid was tracked by then Sheriff Pat Garrett. Unfortunately most remember the Kid more than the sheriff that caught him.

Robert Ford

More of a one off bounty hunter than a career long one, Robert Ford joined the Jesse James gang hoping to become wealthy with sweet sweet stolen money. When a $10.000 price tag was dangled from Jesse’s ear though, Robert and his brother Charles had breakfast with the outlaw and shot him the head (they were both part of his crew, Jesse James didn’t share his scrambled eggs with just anyone). The brothers then turned themselves in hoping that they would be released and rewarded. Instead they were tried for murder and sentenced to hang. Later they were pardoned but never paid the full reward.

Domino Harvey

When you hear bounty hunter you usually image a rough and tumble leather wearing brute of a man. Domino Harvey was a private school educated, ex-model and DJ English woman. What she lacked in physical presence though she made up with cunning. She would actually lure her bounties to her by acting as a tourist until they attempted to victimize her. Unfortunately she was also addicted to drugs and died because of it. Domino’s life was also made into a 2005 film carrying her name starring Keira Knightly which in my opinion is much worse than being remembered as a conniving drug addict bounty hunter. 

Ralph ‘Papa’ Thorson

A prolific bounty hunter for the better part of 40 years, Papa was well known for his 12.000 fugitives caught during his multi-year career. He might have been prolific but he wasn’t exactly careful as he was shot or stabbed eight times during various apprehensions. He was well known for using a non-lethal bean-bag airgun instead of traditional firearms.

Is the life of a bounty hunter the life for you? Do you think these modern day cowboys are healthy additions to the legal system? Let us know in the comment section below.  

Infographic source: criminaljusticedegreehub

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