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Bounty (reward)


A bounty (from Latin bonitās, goodness) is a payment or reward often offered by a group as an incentive for the accomplishment of a task by someone usually not associated with the group. Bounties are most commonly issued for the capture or retrieval of a person or object. They are typically in the form of money. By definition bounties can be retracted at any time by whomever issued them. Two modern examples of bounties are the bounty placed for the capture of Saddam Hussein and his sons by the United States government and Microsoft's bounty for computer virus creators. Those who make a living by pursuing bounties are known as bounty hunters.

A bounty system was used in the American Civil War. It was an incentive to increase enlistments. Another bounty system was used in New South Wales to increase the number of immigrants from 1832.

Bounties were sometimes paid as rewards for killing Native Americans. In 1862, a farmer received a $500 bounty for shooting Taoyateduta (Little Crow). In 1856 Governor Isaac Stevens put a bounty on the head of Indians from Eastern Washington, $20 for ordinary Indians and $80 for a "chief". A Western Washington Indian, Patkanim, chief of the Snohomish, obligingly provided a great many heads, until the Territorial Auditor put a stop to the practice due to the dubious origins of the deceased.

In Australia in 1824, a bounty of 500 acres of land was offered for capturing alive the Wiradjuri warrior Windradyne, the leader of the Aboriginal resistance movement in the Bathurst Wars. A week after the bounty being offered the word "alive" was dropped from the reward notices, however he was neither captured nor betrayed by his people.



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