Duane 'Dog' Chapman Reveals How He Became Known as Dog the Bounty Hunter (Exclusive)


Duane "Dog" Chapman has quite the story behind his transformation into Dog the Bounty Hunter. Chapman revealed that his transformation into a famous bounty hunter started in prison during a new episode of the Always Evolving With Mike Bayer podcast, of which PopCulture has an exclusive clip.

Chapman was serving time in a Texas prison after being convicted and sentenced to five years for first-degree murder in 1976 for his role in a drug deal that ended with his friend shooting and killing a man. He explained to Bayer that one day, he tackled an inmate called Bigfoot about to be shot for attempting to escape, which set off a chain of events that would change his whole life.

"When the lieutenant ran up behind me and said, 'Hook him up, bounty hunter,'" Chapman recalled. The reality personality then said he was called into the warden's office, as he served as the warden's barber during the 18 months he would actually serve. "I was at a high position there. The most inmate he could ever trust was me. And so he said, 'We gotta ship you because you ran down another inmate.' I said, 'No, no, no. I saved his life.' [The inmate] couldn't run. I said, 'They were gonna kill him dead.'" Told he would be allowed to stay at the penitentiary if he survived the night, Chapman had to deal with the fall-out from his fellow inmates.

During a sit-down later that night with a group of inmates, Chapman said his motives were questioned for bringing down his fellow inmate, at which point his friend stepped in to say, "Because he don't care. He's half-Apache. Saved Bigfoot's life." In the morning, Chapman said he woke up to a "love offering" of cigarettes, candy bars, stamps, envelopes and pens from his fellow inmates. "And so I became Dog the Bounty Hunter, instead of Dog Disciple," he explained.

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Upon his release from prison, Chapman said he met author and speaker Tony Robbins, which shifted his life even more. "I realized, man, if I wanna be something, I gotta be something better than anything else in the world, because I've made a terrible mistake," he remembered. Recalling the comment from the correctional officer, Chapman decided to become a real bounty hunter like the ones he had seen on television.

"I studied it and said, 'I can go after these guys and catch 'em, and then talk to 'em, and tell 'em, 'Listen, you idiots, stop this!'" he explained. "And I just didn't want to be one. I was called to be a bounty hunter. Forty-two years since February, 8,000 arrests — I had to be the best there ever could be. I'm so spoiled." Listen to the full story from the Dog the Bounty Hunter star on the new episode of Always Evolving With Mike Bayer, available now.