Montana Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

    Montana has a private bail system and allows the bounty hunting profession. Although the profession is allowed, the small state of 1.1 million residents does not 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. Continue reading this guide to learn how to become a bounty hunter in Montana.

    Table of Contents

    Requirements for Bounty Hunter in Montana

    Bounty hunters in Montana should meet the standard requirements for bounty hunters held in most other states. 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 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.

    Private Investigator/ Private Detective

    Private investigators (PIs), also known as private detectives, 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 three years of investigative experience (or education in a related field)
    • Pass the examination
    • Pay the $270 in fees (as of August 2022)

    Applications are available on the Board website.

    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 August 2022, the fee to become a registered process server was $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

    The University of Montana
    32 Campus Dr
    Missoula, MT 59812

    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 (PBUS) has two member bail bond agencies in Montana in its database.

    Featured Bail Agents in Montana

    Listed below are a number of well-known or highly rated bail bond agencies in Montana to help you find networking opportunities and potential employers.

    A-1 Bail Bonds
    2340 Mullan Rd
    Missoula, MT 59808

    Bad Boys Bail Bonds
    3224 Centennial Dr
    Helena, MT 59601

    Bail Montana, Inc.
    104 N Ewing St
    Helena, MT 59601

    Billings Bail Bonds
    4523 Hwy 87 E
    Billings, MT 59101

    Mr. Bail Montana
    1005 Central Ave
    Billings, MT 59102

    Western Pawnbrokers
    2817 Montana Ave
    Billings, MT 59101

    Use the Member Search tool on the PBUS website to find more bail agents in Montana.

    Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in Montana

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary data for bounty hunters, so we use data for private investigators as a proxy. There were 70 private investigators employed in Montana in 2021 and they earned an annual average salary of $60,020, close to the national average of $60,970 during the same time period.2,3 While private investigators’ work is closest to that of bounty hunters, job growth projections for this occupation are not available in Montana. Overall employment in the similar public sector occupation of detectives and criminal investigators is projected to decrease in Montana by 2.2% through 2030.4

    Additional Resources

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

    1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Montana: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/MT/PST045221
    2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages, Montana: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mt.htm
    3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Private Detectives and Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/private-detectives-and-investigators.htm
    4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm