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Some questions are more urgent than others. Some issues completely block what you're working on, while others are just asked out of curiosity. For those urgent questions, it would be nice if you could preset a bounty to be started as soon as the question is eligible for a bounty, if there are no answers yet. Any answer on tHe question will cause the bounty not to be started, so the asker has the option to just accept the answer without starting a bounty.

Am I missing some good reason to require manual action to start a bounty?

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    If the problem really is that urgent, are you really going to be unable to monitor the question and apply the bounty to it when it's eligible? Why would we add feature to prevent you from monitoring the issues that are of the utmost importance? – Servy May 26 '15 at 13:42
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If this happens, I can assure you someone will post on Meta, "I set a bounty to run automatically, but I found the solution already! I want my rep back :(".

Also, if the question is so important, you will probably be checking that question quite a bit. You will do your best to be available at all times (yes - if it's so important, you probably will). Can't you wait (a maximum of) 8 hours (whilst you're sleeping) before you manually add a bounty?

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