Tom Brown, Jr.

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Tom Brown, Jr. (born January 29, 1950) is an American naturalist, tracker, survivalist, and author.

According to Brown, he grew up in New Jersey being trained by his adopted grandfather (a Lipan Apache) until he was 17. For the next decade, Tom traveled and lived primitively in various places across North and South America. Returning to New Jersey, he became a professional tracker, which in turn led to him forming the "Tracking, Nature and Wilderness Survival School".[1]

Early life[edit]

Brown was born on January 29, 1950, in Toms River, New Jersey, and graduated from Toms River High School in 1968. 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, who had relocated to the Pine Barrens wilderness near Toms River to be closer to Rick's family. Brown writes that Stalking Wolf died when Brown was 17, and that Rick was killed in a horse riding accident in Europe shortly thereafter. [2]

Brown claims that he spent the next ten years living in different wilderness areas of the United States, working on his skills and using few manufactured tools to survive. Brown then returned to New Jersey and set out to find people who were interested in the abilities he had developed through first-hand experience with nature. He initially met with little success, but was eventually called on to locate a missing person.[3] Building on this, Brown developed a profession as a full-time tracker by locating lost persons, dangerous animals, and fugitives from the law. [4]

The Tracker School[edit]

Tom Brown's "Tracking, Nature and Wilderness Survival 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. The school teaches wilderness skills and emphasizes a natural way of living.

Students at the Tracker School begin with the "Standard" or "Philosophy 1" class, which serves as a foundation upon which to build more advanced skills. Standard class involves basic instruction in carving, building a primitive shelter, safe procurement and treatment of water, fire-making techniques including bowdrill, mouth-drill, and hand-drill, making cordage (rope) from natural materials, trap-building, flint-knapping, camouflage, stalking, tanning, cooking, plant studies, throwing stick handling, and awareness and tracking. Tracking is divided into two parts; pressure release studies, and sign tracking.

Personal Life[edit]

In July of 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]

Tom later married Debbie Brown and had two children with her - Coty Tracker Brown and River Scout Brown. [6]

Tom is currently married to his third wife Celeste Brown. [7]

Books & articles[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:

Brown was a technical advisor for the film The Hunted in 2003.
An "audio book" of Grandfather was produced in September 2007.

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


  1. ^ "Wilderness Survival Part 1 - YouTube". 
  2. ^ Tom Brown, Jr., The Tracker (Penguin Books, 1978,'86) *
  3. ^ Tom Brown, Jr., The Search (Penguin Books, 1980,'01) *
  4. ^ Terry Krautwurst, "The Tom Brown School Wilderness Training" (Mother Earth News, Mar-Apr 1988) *
  5. ^ Mary Vespa, "Tracker Tom Brown Finds Himself Up to His Ears in Trouble Stalking Crime Through the Woods" (People Magazine, March 27, 1978 );*
  6. ^ Tom Brown Jr., "Science and the Art of Tracking" (Berkley, 1999 );*
  7. ^ James Osborne, "Tracker gains big following even as some say tales stray" (Phillynews, June 26, 2011 );*

External links[edit]