Some manhunts can take a few days. Others, years.
With hundreds of officers deployed across Southern California looking out for accused cop-killer Christopher Dorner, there's no telling how long this one might last.
"We've had cases where fugitives have been captured in a day, a week, a month," FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. "But certainly, there's an urgency here because of the ongoing threat."
Dorner, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer, has targeted cops in a manifesto he issued online as a vendetta for his dismissal from the department. He is accused of killing a Riverside police officer in an ambush and shooting at other officers. He also allegedly murdered the daughter of the former police captain who defended him in department hearings, and her fiance.
"I can't speculate as to how long he'll be on the loose. It's the great unknown," Eimiller added. "These cases vary wildly as far as how they're solved. Some cases, all you need is that one tip, that one phone call."
She said "at any given time there are thousands of fugitives on the loose - many for murder - and law enforcement are working on those cases every day."
Eimiller pointed to the 16-year search for James "Whitey" Bulger, a Boston mob boss who was wanted for 19 murders, money laundering, extortion and drug dealing. At one point Bulger was listed as No. 2 on the FBI's 10 most-wanted list, with a $2 million reward offered. It was a tip from the public after a media campaign by the FBI that led to his arrest in 2011 in a Santa Monica apartment.
Right ahead of Bulger on that list, of course, was Osama bin Laden, who was not found and killed until almost 10 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, despite being hunted with the massive resources of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies.
A $1 million reward for the arrest and conviction of Dorner has helped trigger more than 700 tips to the LAPD from the public on his possible whereabouts or information about his background.
That money is also likely to attract people who make their living finding fugitives.
Duane Chapman - known as reality TV's Dog the Bounty Hunter - said the money will bring in many of his professional colleagues.
"I've chased plenty of killers and I've never heard of a $1 million bounty so there is no doubt every bounty hunter is looking at this and for him all across the country," Chapman said in a telephone interview.
Chapman is not joining the search himself because he's taping a new show, "Dog," for Country Music Television.
Law enforcement officials said Monday they do not want bounty hunters searching for Dorner, but Chapman doesn't think his fellow hunters are going to back off.
Chapman added, however, that while the money can be a good strategy to gain more tips, in this case, law enforcement agencies will have to use trickery to force Dorner into making a misstep.
"He's got the advantage so they're going to basically have to butter his bread," he said. "They need to call his bluff and get him to communicate.
"They're going to have to play his game."
Chapman theorizes that since Dorner has not killed a new victim in the last week he may be testing LAPD.
"It's like a cooling off period, like he knows they'll guard his guys for a while but will ease off with the 24/7 surveillance," Chapman said. "As a cop he'll probably wait now and make another move when he believes the LAPD is getting more lax."
To that end, Chapman believes authorities need to be proactive and "dangle the steak in front of the pit bull."
"You need to make him so mad because once they get angry they make mistakes," Chapman said. "There was a point that pissed him off in 2008 and they need to get him back to that point to make him blow it. You want him back to the same place he was when he was full of rage and anger because he'll get emotional and slip up."
Experts say the common rule about how critical it is to catch a criminal during the first 48 hours doesn't necessarily apply to high profile manhunts such as this one, particularly when the suspect isn't trying to deny his crime.
"He wants credit for his killings," said Patrick Mullany, a former FBI agent who was among the first criminal profilers in the country, starting in the mid-1970s with the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit.
"And he wants to place LAPD in this situation."
Mullany said his concern is that Dorner would ultimately seek a violent end, rather than surrender peacefully.
"I haven't dealt with any as aggravated as this case. I really feel this has some incredibly bad potential if they don't apprehend him soon," Mullany said.
"The concern that I have is that often times when you deal with someone like this, when he gets caught it's because he wants to get caught and that it's part of a bigger scheme. This didn't happen abruptly so he's been planning."
Mullany suspects that Dorner has stocked up on weaponry, survival material, food and enough money to survive undetected as long as he can.
"It's going to happen, but that could mean within the next three weeks or in the next three months or beyond," Mullany said. "There is just too massive of a police search for him to avoid being caught."
Mullany agrees that law enforcement officials will have to bank on him making a mistake.
"He's been consumed by this quiet rage and I think, in the end, his ego may get the better of him," Mullany said.
Mullany said the decision by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to reopen Dorner's termination case was a good move "that may calm him down, but I think it's too late for that now."
"He's the typical guy who won't give up. If he goes down, it will be in a blaze of fire," Mullany said, theorizing that with Dorner's expertise he can use decoys to trap and ambush his victims.
Chapman said he requests double the bounty when he goes after people with a military or police background because it's twice the work.
"The worst ever is chasing an ex-military or cop on the run because they know everything - they've got radios, they know what frequencies to use, they know how to trick law enforcement," Chapman said. "They're the hardest to find."
The longest manhunt Chapman was involved in was the search for convicted serial rapist Andrew Luster, the great-grandson of cosmetics giant Max Factor and heir to the cosmetics fortune. It took 161 days before Luster was finally apprehended by Chapman and his team in June 2003 in Puerto Vallarta. Luster's money helped him pay people to keep him under the radar, Chapman believes.
"This guy, Dorner, has got to have money or I suspect he'll start committing crimes," Chapman said, adding that $5,000 can easily buy a fugitive at least six months more on the lam.
To that end, both Mullany and Chapman suggests that law enforcement officials need to keep an eye on banks, rental car agencies and the crime blotter.
While it is unknown when or how Dorner will be captured, law enforcement officials promise it will happen sooner or later.
"We won't give up," Eimiller said of the various agencies searching for Dorner. "Even if the trail goes cold."