How Duane Chapman Became Dog The Bounty Hunter

WGN America/Entertainment Tonight/YouTube

“Every dog has its day,” so they say. But for Duane Chapman, that day was a long time coming.

Dog the Bounty Hunter, son of a welder-turned-bail bondsman and a Sunday School teacher, has more of a story than most people realize.

“I was not a bounty hunter when we started. In fact, I was on the other side of the law,” Chapman once said of his unlikely rise to fame.

At 15 years old, the juvenile runaway joined the Devil’s Disciples outlaw motorcycle club. A few years later Chapman was charged with murder after a botched drug deal. Chapman’s hunger for justice began during his 18 months in prison when he gained an officer’s praise for tackling an inmate who was about to be shot trying to escape the penitentiary.

Duane stated, “after I tackled him, a lieutenant ran up behind me and threw these handcuffs down on the ground and said ‘hook him up, Bounty Hunter.'”

After he did his time in prison, he was determined to change. He said in an exclusive with Entertainment Tonight, “I said to myself in the mirror, ‘I am going to change and be the best at whatever I do in the world.’ And I started looking at stuff, what I could do, and all of a sudden I saw ‘Bounty Hunter.’”

His bounty hunting career did not get off to a great start.

Chapman put it all on the table to bring justice to Max Factor cosmetic’s heir, Andrew Luster. In the middle of Luster’s trial for nearly 90 criminal charges, he fled the United States and Dog the Bounty Hunter was hot on his tail. Chapman, his son Leland, and accomplice Tim, apprehended Luster in Mexico only to be pulled over themselves by Mexican police. Chapman and his team were arrested and held in the Mexican jail under suspicion of drug use, but were later charged with kidnapping due to the fact that bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico. After Luster was properly identified, he was sent to California to serve his time of 125 years.

Duane "Dog" Chapman behind bars
WGN America/Entertainment Tonight/YouTube

Dog and his team were eventually granted bail and immediately fled the jurisdiction per the recommendation of their attorney, making themselves international bail-jumpers. Three years later they were arrested by U.S. Marshals on behalf of the Mexican Government and incarcerated in Honolulu, Hawaii. Because they were considered fugitives from justice by the Mexican government, they were extradited to Mexico where they would stand trial immediately. Chapman was released on bail for $300,000, and Leland and Tim were released on bail for $100,000 respectively.

11 months after their arrest, all of the pending charges were dropped and effectively cancelled due to the fact that the statute of limitations had expired.From the time Dog and his team found and captured Luster until their charges were dropped, they had already made a name for themselves as bounty hunters.

“In the beginning I made this terrible mistake, but after eight thousand fugitives that I’ve arrested, I think I redeemed myself…”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Duane Lee Chapman (@duanedogchapman)

Chapman’s involvement with luster resulted in a great deal of public attention that led to his rise to fame.

He was given his own tv series, “Dog the Bounty Hunter” the following year and became one of America’s most recognizable and well-known bounty hunters. So, it seems every dog has its day after all!

See one of our favorite Dog interviews in the video below:

Want to save this article?

Get this sent to your inbox, plus, get new articles & videos from us every week!

Sponsors / Partners

Interested in becoming a partner?

Contact us for more info

Unapologetically Country

Receive daily updates with the best country music videos, news, and more!