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Bounty Hunting as a Career

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Bounty hunting as a career does not take any formal schooling, but having a background in criminal justice will help to make this career choice more successful. A bounty hunter should know the federal, state and local rules, including rules about trespassing and handguns. Some states require you to take a "bail agent" test and to get a bail agent license. Depending on the state, you may also have to take "continuing education" courses. California is one such state, and requires you to take six hours with the CBAA each year. California's test is based on the California statutes.

Bounty hunting courses will also teach a student how to use skip tracing techniques to track down and apprehend a fugitive. While some skip tracing techniques are obvious, there are some techniques that involve personal computer searching of current and deleted data and databases (i.e. motor vehicle, credit reporting databases) that you will learn how to procure access to and to use. Skip tracing is not as simple as just looking up information – you will learn how to read reports generated by agencies and by yourself regarding the fugitive’s personal information, information provided by the fugitive, getting updates from current and outdated information and how to develop and follow leads.

To pursue bounty hunting, the student will need to work for a bondsman. Bounty hunting is not as simple as looking through the “most wanted” ads, finding someone and apprehending them. Bounty hunting requires permission from the bail bondsman to apprehend a fugitive. The permission is granted in the form of written authorization from the surety company. Other forms will be needed, including a contract agreement for surety services, a certified copy of the bail bond, a certified copy of a warrant for failure to appear and a certificate of surrender.

Bounty hunting requires an individual to learn how to use handcuffs and the consequences of using handcuffs (a bounty hunter is a private citizen, not a law enforcement officer), self defense materials and street maps or other mapping devices.

Bounty hunting is considered a high risk career and is not suited for everyone. A bounty hunter is exposed to dangerous fugitives and must have the knowledge and physical strength to be able to apprehend a fugitive should that fugitive decide to fight being apprehended. Bounty hunting often requires travel and long periods of time spent away from home. Even when working locally, bounty hunting requires more time out of the office as opposed to in the office.

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