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Montana Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

Montana has a private bail system and allows the bounty hunting profession. Although allowed, the small state of 1 million residents does not regulate or license bounty hunters.1 Bounty hunters work to find and return fugitives who have skipped bail in the private bail system. They work on behalf of and are compensated by a bail bondsman. Section 46-9-510 of the Montana Annotated Code gives arresting authority for a surety company to arrest a fugitive who has skipped bail. If you have some experience in law enforcement or are generally interested in the bounty hunting profession, continue reading this guide to learn how to make your transition into the career easier.

Requirements for Bounty Hunter in Montana

Bounty hunters in Montana should meet the standard requirements of any bounty hunter who works across the country. He or she should be at least 18 years old, a US citizen or resident alien, and have no felony convictions.

Steps to a Career as a Bounty Hunter in Montana

In Montana, bounty hunters are not required to be licensed or registered, but there are certain steps that you should follow that can make it easier to get hired. Below you will find some helpful information on the type of training and education that a bounty hunter may need, along with some tips on finding work in the profession.

1. Acquire the appropriate training.

Successful bounty hunters usually have experience in law enforcement or some investigative experience. If you are lacking this experience, you can attend criminal justice courses at a local college or university or a bail enforcement training course. Bail enforcement training will teach you how to find and understand legislation relating to arrest and bail, skip tracing and interviewing techniques, and general investigative skills. In addition, you may wish to obtain formal education in criminal justice or a related field by attending a two- or four-year university. Possessing a degree may show a potential employer that you are serious about your career.

2. Identify a mentor.

As a new bounty hunter, it will be helpful to have a mentor— an experienced bounty hunter or bail bondsman who can provide you with advice and guidance in your career decisions. Your mentor can help you with preparing for an interview, finding work, and developing strategies to find a fugitive. You should join professional associations or attend open meetings to identify individuals who may serve in this role.

3. Start working as a bounty hunter.

After you feel comfortable with your training and mentor, you can begin working as a bounty hunter in Montana. It is advisable to inform your local law enforcement agents when you plan to apprehend a fugitive to reduce any confusion or legal problems that may arise and also for extra protection. The state of Montana does not require bounty hunters to complete any continuing education, but you should stay up-to-date on laws and rules relating to arrest, bail, and bounty hunting.

Related Careers

When not working as a bounty hunter, you may decide to supplement your income by working in similar professions. You must meet certain requirements when working as a private investigator or process server in Montana and we provide that information below.

Private Investigator/ Private Detective

Private investigators work for clients to investigate legal, personal, or financial data. Private investigators in Montana must be licensed by the Montana Board of Private Security. According to the Board, private investigators must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a US citizen or resident alien
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have at least 5,400 hours of investigative experience (or education in a related field)
  • Pass the examination
  • Pay the $320 in fees (As of June 2016)

If you are interested in applying, submit your application to the Board.

Process Server

A process server files legal papers and serves legal documents to parties involved in a lawsuit. In Montana, if you perform more than 10 services of process within a period of 12 months, you must be registered with the Montana Board of Private Security. Process servers must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a US citizen or legal permanent US resident
  • Be a resident of the state of Montana for at least one year
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Pass a federal and state background check
  • Pass a Board approved exam

As of June 2016, the fee to become a registered process server is $125; to apply, submit your application to the Board.

Training and Education Options in Montana

As a bounty hunter, you should consider obtaining a formal education in criminal justice or a related field. A degree in criminal justice can help your bounty hunting career by improving your problem-solving skills, increasing your understanding of social problems and solutions, and exposing you to legal research. Possessing a formal education can show potential employers that you are serious about your career. Below, we provide a list of schools that offer two-year degrees in Montana.

Dawson Community College
300 College Dr
Glendive, MT 59330
http://www.dawson.cc.mt.us

Miles Community College
2715 Dickinson St
Miles City, MT 59301
http://www.milescc.edu

The University of Montana
32 Campus Dr
Missoula, MT 59812
http://www.umt.edu

Finding Work

Most bounty hunting jobs are found via word-of-mouth so you will need a reliable network of bounty hunters and bail bondsmen to ensure you find work. Ask your mentor to introduce you to some bail agents and accompany you to networking socials. You could also join a professional association to meet industry professionals and find an apprenticeship program. The Professional Bail Agents of the US has seven registered bail bond agencies in its database.

Featured Bail Agents in Montana

Listed below are a number of well-known or highly rated bail bond agencies in Montana. This list should help you identify bail bondsmen who may be a potential employer.

A-1 Bail Bonds
2340 Mullan Rd
Missoula, MT 59808
http://www.bailbondsmissoula.co

Buzzell & Associates
2485 Meridian Rd
Victor, MT 59875
http://www.montanapi.net

Big Daddy Bail Bonds
2025 Mullan Rd
Missoula, MT 59808
http://www.missoulabailbonds.com

Billings Bail Bonds
4523 Hwy 87 E
Billings, MT 59101
http://www.billingsbailbonds.com

Freedom Bail Bonds
3302 2nd Ave N
Billings, MT 59101
http://www.freedombailbondsmontana.com

Grizzly Bail Bonds
415 N Higgins Ave
Ste 116
Missoula, MT 59802
http://www.grizbail.org

Western Pawnbrokers
2817 Montana Ave
Billings, MT 59101
http://www.westernpawnbrokers.com

Your Bondsman
2340 Mullan Rd
Missoula, MT 59808

Use the Find a Bail Agent tool on the PBUS website to find more bail agents in Montana.

Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in Montana

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide salary data for bounty hunters, so we use data for private investigators as a proxy. There were 50 private investigators employed in Montana in 2015 and they earned an annual average salary of $47,810.2 It is projected that jobs for private investigators in the country will increase by 5% between 2014 and 2024.3

Additional Resources

The following resource should help you identify private investigators to include in your professional network.

References:
1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Montana: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/MT/PST045216
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, Montana: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mt.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Private Detectives and Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/private-detectives-and-investigators.htm