Court TV Host: Two amateur "fugitives" vs. a team of
professional trackers. Can the pair find a hidden $20,000 stash before
being hunted down? That's the premise of the new Court TV show, The
Chase: Trackdown, premiering April 11, 10pm ET/PT. Get a preview in
a live, online chat with the show's host, tracker Tom Brown, Jr., who is
frequently tapped by FBI, DEA, and many law enforcement agencies and
whose work was an inspiration for the movie The Hunted.
Court TV Host: Welcome, Mr. Brown, thanks for being our guest
Tom Brown: Hi. Thank you very much.
Question from A: Well, here we go -- the
chase is on!
Question from soccermom: What will the
"contestants" have as far as money, etc. to use to run?
Tom Brown: That's really up to the producers. I simply go out
there to help with the tracking.
Question from flint: In your books you talk
about moving 'out-of-context' to become invisible. Can you explain that
further or give an example. Maybe tied into the show?
Tom Brown: It would take me three days to fully explain that
philosophy. But basically it is moving slower than the concentric ring
of nature so that you are not noticed by animal or human. in other
words, you move in DEAD SPACE -- places that animal and people do not
pay attention to.
Question from brian: How long have you been
in your profession?
Tom Brown: I've been tracking since I've been 7 so that is
forty-seven years of tracking and twenty years of running the wilderness
and survival tracking school. A second part of that is that I never
charge for tracking cases involving lost persons or criminals.
Question from anxious: Can you give an
example of a "dead space" place?
Tom Brown: Dead space would be if you were to walk into a
classroom, your eyes would immediately go to a podium where a professor
was speaking. You would not look along the back walls, under the seat --
your eyes would be riveted to the person lecturing.
Question from Tim: will you be the primary
person tracking, or will you be overseeing the tracking team?
Question from Bill: Are you doing the
tracking, your school instructors, or former students?
Question from amaranthus: Are the trackers
former students of yours?
Question from WildCat: Hi Tom. So, if I were
on the show, you'd have to try and find me? No matter where I went?
Tom Brown: Basically my job on the program is that I do not
track but give hints to my tracking team along the way. Point out things
that they might have overlooked. Part of the rules is that I train the
people who are tracking. I don't do the tracking. The difficulty for my
position is that I have to keep the camera crews off of the tracks as
best I can and reign in my tracking team so they don't get too far ahead
-- otherwise we wouldn't have a show. The trackers that are following
the people being hunted are trackers that are instructors at my school.
They have been tracking anywhere between 7 and thirteen years. Keep in
mind, when I say "tracking," these folks dedicate many hours a day to
Question from Lindie^: Are any of these case
current, as in high profile, or "invented" cases for the show?
Tom Brown: No. It's not based on any particular tracking case,
but a collage of many. The people who are escaping can make their own
choices in the escape. So it would be almost impossible to try to track
down a fugitive with cameras following you. The other thing to keep in
mind is that my trackers are constrained to follow certain rules. In a
real situation there would be many more searches and a lot of air
support so the person being tracked would have to take a great deal of
Question from WildCat: Do you only track
Tom Brown: No. A good tracker can track virtually any place.
There have been many crime scenes that I've tracked inside buildings,
along streets and things like that. Just recently my tracking team and I
traced a runway juvenile 2.5 miles along a road way by following the
fragment of tracks left in the roadway dust by the side of the road.
Another thing that we do is to read old forensic photographs of unsolved
cases, for instance, for finding a body -- there is a forensic
photographer who will take pictures and from these we can pick up the
tracks of the killer because they will be the same age as the tracks of
the person that was killed. A case we recently solved this way was two
and a half years old.
Question from Jason: Tom, I just want to
thank you for everything you have done - I took the Standard class back
in 1998 and am still trying to learn everything!
Question from Jason: In the show will there
be segments that give hints/tips for tracking?
Tom Brown: Thank you. I'd like to say, you know me; I would
normally not do a reality game show, but this one is different in that I
get to teach the audience about tracking along the way. This is the main
reason I've decided to do this program. In other words we want to show
the audience what can be done by a tracker if they are called in early
Question from littlebird: How much of
tracking is physical interpretation vs. intuition?
Tom Brown: A good answer to that is "yes" a little of both.
Inside each track is a miniature landscape. The body is a product of
checks and balances, and those balances are translated into the tracks
through the pressure release. For instance, if you were to stand on a
cold floor bare footed, pay rapt attention to your feet as your breath
-- you will feel your body sway to compensate for the rise and fall of
your chest. Paying closer attention: swallow and you will actually feel
your feet compensate for that swallow. These are forming pressure
Question from flint: How did you train
yourself to see the 'flattened dust' of ants on rock? I would guess this
skill makes tracking people like following an elephant.
Tom Brown: Yes, you learn there are certain rules that you
must follow for seeing dust and grit compressions. Llighting is
essential. The proper viewing angle is essential. What a tracker does is
to push his limits tracking the smallest of animals so that the larger
animals and people become easier to track in difficult situations.
Question from brian: I'm a 23 year old FBI
rookie whose main expertise is "tracking". I've been on many cases where
just looking and a little walking found the suspect. I was also on the
case in Washington where the 23 year old man escaped from prison. What
determined early in your life that you wanted to be a "tracker"?
Tom Brown: Excellent question. I never planned to be a
tracker. I just wanted to live in the woods as much as I possibly could.
But tracking became my first love, and I began to help the police when I
was very young because of the skill that I had. And there's no greater
reward for me than finding a lost child or apprehending a criminal.
Question from LB: The teaser for the show
mentioned high tech gear -- I always thought of you as a true purist
Question from Bill: Is the team restricted to
using basic techniques, or can they use "advanced techniques" also?
Tom Brown: Basically, to answer the technology question, I am
a purist but in a real situation if a person's life is in danger or a
criminal must be tracked you use everything at your disposal. If this
was 200 years ago we'd be on horsebacks rather than a vehicle. For me I
still don't use high tech, I don't use maps, compasses or anything like
it. But I teach my trackers to use them if they can.
Question from anxious: What is the most
interesting tracking case you have been involved in?
Tom Brown: One that I'm involved in right now -- I am looking
for an illegal gravesite for a high profile murder that took place 22
years ago. It's interesting because of all the variables that can be
considered tracking and detective work. And right now, the case has me
baffled, and that's why it's my favorite until the moment it is solved,
which should be coming quickly.
Question from brian: How many cases have you
been involved in where the culprits got away?
Tom Brown: That's a hard question to answer. Mainly because as
soon as someone disappears into a city environment a tracker cannot do
much good. All a tracker can do is piece together the route from where
the person escaped to where they got into a car or into a city. Then
there are the other cases where someone has gotten off on a technicality
in court not so much because of a tracker but because of a technical
problem with the arrest. However, a track to a good tracker is like a
portrait that they file away in the back of their mind and if in the
years to come they ever see that track and those indicator pressure
releases again they will remember it. Just in case you (brian) are
someone who's trying to get away from me. (laughs)
Question from Bill: Will you be able to
incorporate some of Grandfather's deeper philosophies into the tracking
as you go?
Tom Brown: Yes, eventually, but not in this first program.
Grandfather is the old native American who taught me for nearly 11
years. My best friend's grandfather "Stalking Wolf." My vision for this
program in the future is to slow it down and get into more detail about
the environment, survival, wild edible plants, stone tools, and all
manner of other teachings venues. That way with each program the
audience is further educated into all aspects of the wilderness and its
Question from Clydester2: Did you plant any
hidden coyote lessons in the program that will be shown on Sunday?
Tom Brown: Yes. If you are a student pay close attention to
any close up of the track. There are hidden tracks around the track that
Question from anxious: What is the name of
your school and where is it located?
Tom Brown: My school is called the Tracker School. We run
classes in New Jersey pine lands, Florida and California. And you can
reach the school at trackerschool.com.
You can call me at the office at 908-479-4681. The other thing is that
the Tracker School teaches equally primitive wilderness survival,
tracking, awareness, and the philosophy of living with the earth.
Question from RZ: Your teachings of awareness
have greatly inspired me. I have been trying very hard to increase my
sense of awareness. My question is, though you keep your awareness at
such a high level, do you ever mask or hide this from others? If so,
Tom Brown: Yes, it is called "coyote teaching." For instance,
there is a rule in my school that once a student reaches the advanced
tracking level, if they are found to be tracking another student, it is
a severe violation of privacy and the student will be dismissed from my
school immediately. A track is not just a window to the past but a
window to the animal or human's soul. A lot of very embarrassing things
can be read from a track That is why it's such a strict rule .
Question from in_hiding: How would you track
Osama bin Laden?
Tom Brown: First, you would need his footprint, an established
footprint, which can be taken from an old photograph. Next would be to
identify what's called the indicator pressure releases, much like a
finger print and search the areas for his tracks. It is being done right
now by former students, that's all I can say about that.
Question from Chris: I have heard of
cybertracker, and other various digital tracking. From your perspective,
where is the art and science of tracking going?
Tom Brown: To me, the science of tracking is the pressure
releases and the ability to read them. The art is to become the animal
or human that you are tracking. I don't believe in high tech. I don't
ever use it or need to use it. However where cyber tracking is being
used it is benefiting environmentalists and naturalists in Africa and
Question from Lindie^: Tom, have you had any
involvement in the Scott Peterson case?
Tom Brown: No. None whatsoever. Except some of the officers
I've trained said they were on that case though I don't know what
assistance they could have been.
Court TV Host: Any closing thoughts?
Tom Brown: What I am trying to do with THE CHASE is to educate
people. But also to entertain them. But what's paramount to me and my
instructors is the education. That is what is important to us. I hope
everyone enjoys the program on Sunday night!
Court TV Host: Thank you very much for being our guest.
Tom Brown: And may the great spirit bless.
Court TV Host: And may the great spirit bless your show!
Tom Brown: Bless you all. (laughs)