I'll offer three perspectives:
I don't usually chase bountied questions, but if I wanted to, I would specifically pull up that tab of the Questions page (no matter what day or time of day I was on the site). Our bountied/featured questions tab is usually less than one page, so I don't think there'd be any better or worse time to post the bounty from that ...
The main FAQ entry about bounties covers this, and there are a few existing meta questions on it:
Return bounty to questions that get no answers
Should bounty be returned if there is NO answer at all?
Why aren't bounties refunded if they are not awarded?
The best explanation is probably from the FAQ entry:
What happens if there's no answer after the ...
The bounty lasts for a few days. If you look at the question, it'll tell you how much time is remaining. You can't take it back, but if an answer is good, you can assign the bounty. If not, just wait it out.
The active bounty is what keeps the question on the Featured list, regardless of whether there is an accepted answer or not. Accepting an answer won't award the bounty immediately.
If you don't award the bounty manually though, and since you're both the person who asked the question and the one who posted the bounty, it will be automatically awarded to the ...
I see the below information from here:
If you do not award your bounty within 7 days (plus the grace period), the highest voted answer created after the bounty started with a minimum score of 2 will be awarded half the bounty amount. If two or more eligible answers have the same score (i.e., their scores are tied), the oldest answer is awarded the bounty. ...
Yes. You can address anyone who is the sole owner of an entry in the revision history. Besides editors, this includes bounty placers, and people who (un)protected. This also includes moderators who (unlocked), closed or reopened, but not ordinary users who cast close/reopen votes.
It should be flagged for moderator attention, this question already was. The crosspost was removed of StackOverflow, and although this question originally really read like it was a PHP problem, a very close read instead made it seem more like a terminal problem or expectation problem. The accepted answer also confirms this.
However I wonder if mods have the ability to award an expired bounty in exceptional circumstances.
No, we can't; once the bounty is over it's over. The system already awards half the bounty if you forget, but in this case the answer didn't get enough upvotes to qualify for it. Changing bounties so they don't expire until the user logs in could result in ...
The FAQ states
If you do not award your bounty within 7 days (plus the grace period), > the highest voted answer created after the bounty started with at least 2 upvotes will be awarded half the bounty amount. If there's no answer meeting that criteria, the bounty is not awarded to anyone.
Apparently, then the bounty is awarded by Community, instead of ...