Tom Brown Jr.

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Tom Brown Jr. (born January 29, 1950) is an American naturalist, tracker, survivalist, and author from New Jersey, where he runs the Tom Brown Jr. Tracker School.

In his books, Brown claims that, from the age of seven, he and his childhood friend Rick were trained in tracking and wilderness survival by Rick's grandfather, "Stalking Wolf" (whom Brown claims was Lipan Apache).[1] There is no evidence that "Stalking Wolf" ever existed.[2] Brown writes that Stalking Wolf died when Brown was 17, and that Rick was killed in an accident in Europe shortly thereafter.[3][full citation needed]

Brown spent the next ten years working odd jobs to support his wilderness adventures.[4] He then set out to find other people in New Jersey who were interested in his experiences. Initially Brown met with little success, but was eventually called on to help locate a crime suspect.[5] Though the case won him national attention, he was subsequently sued for 5 million dollars for finding the wrong person.[5] Despite this failure, he was able to build on this exposure to develop a profession as a full-time tracker, advertising his services for locating lost persons, dangerous animals, and fugitives from the law.[6] According to People magazine, "He stalks men and animals, mostly in New Jersey."[5]

The Tracker School[edit]

Tom Brown Jr.'s Tracker School is located in New Jersey. Most classes offered by Tracker School are held in "Primitive Camp", which is located in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. However, classes are also offered in California. Workshops involve Brown's versions of Plains Indian ceremonies, including the sweat lodge and vision quest.[1][4]

Personal life[edit]

In July 1977 Tom Brown Jr. married Judy Duck Ford, 33. At the time Judy had a daughter Kerry, 15, and a son Paul, 11, from a previous marriage. The two had one child, Tom Brown III, together.[5] Brown later married Debbie Brown and had two children with her, Coty Tracker Brown and River Scout Brown. [7] Brown is currently married to his third wife, Celeste Brown.[2]

Publications and media[edit]

Brown has written 18 books to date. His first book The Tracker, in 1978, chronicled his coming of age. Reader's Digest printed a condensed version of the story and provided information about Brown's new Tracker School. Tom Brown's books are published by Penguin Books:

  • The Tracker (1978, 1986), ISBN 978-0-42-510133-9
  • The Search (1980, 2001), ISBN 978-0-42-518181-2
  • Field Guide to Living With the Earth (1984), ISBN 0-425-09147-3
  • Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants (1986), ISBN 978-0-42-510063-9
  • Guide to City and Suburban Survival (1986), ISBN 978-0-425-09172-2
  • Field Guide to Living with the Earth (1986), ISBN 978-0-42-509147-0
  • Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking (1986), ISBN 978-0-42-509966-7
  • Field Guide to the Forgotten Wilderness (1987), ISBN 978-0-42-509715-1
  • Field Guide to Wilderness Survival (1987), ISBN 978-0-42-510572-6
  • The Vision (1988), ISBN 978-0-42-510703-4
  • Field Guide to Nature and Survival for Children (1989), ISBN 978-0-42-511106-2
  • The Quest (1991), ISBN 0-425-12660-9
  • The Journey (1992), ISBN 0-425-13364-8
  • Grandfather (1993, 2001), ISBN 978-0-42-518174-4, audio book (2007)
  • Awakening Spirits (1994), ISBN 978-0-42-514140-3
  • The Way of the Scout (1995), ISBN 0-425-14779-7
  • The Science and Art of Tracking (1999), ISBN 978-0-42-515772-5
  • Case Files of the Tracker (2003), ISBN 978-0-42-518755-5
  • Guide to Healing the Earth (2019), ISBN 978-0-42-525738-8

The Mother Earth News website provides these articles by Tom Brown Jr.:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b King, Thomas, "Dead Indians: Too Heavy to Lift" in Hazlitt, November 30, 2012. Accessed April 3, 2016. "A quick trip to the Internet will turn up an outfit offering a one-week “Canyon Quest and Spiritual Warrior Training” course for $850 and an eight-night program called “Vision Quest,” in the tradition of someone called Stalking Wolf, “a Lipan Apache elder” who has “removed all the differences” of the vision quest, “leaving only the simple, pure format that works for everyone.” There is no fee for this workshop, though a $300-$350 donation is recommended. Stalking Wolf, by the way, was supposedly born in 1873, wandered the Americas in search of spiritual truths, and finally passed all his knowledge on to Tom Brown Jr., a seven- year-old white boy whom he met in New Jersey. Evidently, Tom Brown Jr., or his protégés, run the workshops, having turned Stalking Wolf’s teachings into a Dead Indian franchise."
  2. ^ a b James Osborne, "Tracker gains big following even as some say tales stray" (Phillynews, June 26, 2011)
  3. ^ Tom Brown Jr., The Tracker (Penguin Books, 1978,'86)
  4. ^ a b Rakoff, David, Fraud (Doubleday, 2001) p.188
  5. ^ a b c d Vespa, Mary (March 27, 1978). "Tracker Tom Brown Finds Himself Up to His Ears in Trouble Stalking Crime Through the Woods". People. Archived from the original on June 4, 2009. Retrieved Dec 13, 2021.
  6. ^ Terry Krautwurst, "The Tom Brown School Wilderness Training" (Mother Earth News, Mar-Apr 1988)
  7. ^ Tom Brown Jr., "Science and the Art of Tracking" (Berkley, 1999)

External links[edit]