HomeTom Brown Jr

1st Online Chat With Tom Brown Jr.

OnlineHost: Welcome Master Survivalist Tom Brown Jr. Studying under a displaced Apache Indian, Stalking Wolf since the age of 8, Tom is an experienced woodsman whose extraordinary skill has saved many lives, including his own. Tom has taught Navy Seals escape and evasion tactics, been shot four times during law enforcement searches, and has pulled more than 160 bodies out of the woods -- most of them dead from lack of survival skills, and others just plain criminals.

Jklegarth: Tom...welcome to cyberspace..can we start out with some background info?

TomBrownJr: Thank You. I was born in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey in 1950. My best friend was of Apache decent. His Grandfather Stalking Wolf was my teacher for over 10 years.

Question: Is it easier to track humans or animals in the forest?

TomBrownJr: It is much easier to track the human animal. They walk far too heavily and scar the earth deeply. They do not know how to walk in the old way.

Question: What is the best way to survive without food?

TomBrownJr: If you have the skills there is no need to survive without food. The Earth Mother is a grand provider for all of our needs.

Question: Dear Tom, 'Have read your book Survival for children---as has my 12 yr. old daughter. We have considered your camp...is it still running? 'Couldn't find you in the phone directory.

TomBrownJr: Yes my school is still running. 908-479-4681 to get information.

Question: What are you memories of the first time you learned to track and how do you see them now?

TomBrownJr: I have been practicing tracking for 37 years. Most of my students learn to track mice across gravel by the end of their first class with me. Reading tracks on any surface is like reading a book. Its easy if you know the science and art form of the track.

Question: Is the forest you did your yearlong stay in still a good one? Any California forests that you recommend?

TomBrownJr: The forest where I lived is now in rough shape. There are far too many loop holes in the Pine Barrens protection plan. The battle is continuous and at times a loosing one. California? Just drive north and pick any location. You are in grand country.

Question: Hi Tom. Has tracking played a special part in any movies that comes to mind?

TomBrownJr: Yes, many. Thunderheart was written by a man that was to write the screen play for the Tracker movie. Several other movies have also borrowed segments from my life.

Question: What's the worst personal disaster that's happened to you in the wilderness?

TomBrownJr: Because I became so involved in tracking a criminal, I became absorbed in his tracks not paying attention to the concentric rings of life around me. I was subsequently shot in the back. Taught me a valuable lesson. A track should reach from the soil to the universe.

Question: Tom, what inspired you to participate in this type of forum?

TomBrownJr: I have a message to send. I am tired of a world that kills its grandchildren to feed its children. I need to use any means to get that message across and help save the Earth for our children and grandchildren.

Question: Tom....I just purchased your book awakening spirits...can you tell me about the school...?

TomBrownJr: I could not even begin to tell you of my school in such a short space and time. Read the Tracker first if you can, then send out for school info. Hope to see you.

Question: What are the chief things you would tell a novice backpacker?

TomBrownJr: Learn to survive, to track, to be aware. Become a child of the Earth, knowing that you could survive with nothing. Then the Earth becomes you home.

Question: Did you ever train Richard Marcinko, "The Rogue Warrior"? If so, What did you think of him?

TomBrownJr: Dick is a good man but the last of a breed. He did what he had to do. However, I do not condone fully his philosophy. I can't say anything more.

Question: Any new books Tom?

TomBrownJr: Yes. The Way of the Scout was just published last spring. My wife Debbie and I are just finishing up a detailed book on tracking.

Question: What are some of the techniques you might use to walk softly in the forest?

TomBrownJr: Learn to walk in any environment in bare feet. You will find that your feet must touch the ground in a certain way that prevents injury. Once learned, shift the same walk to modern foot ware. Walk as a prayer, where each step blesses the Earth.

Question: Tom has said in his books that there are 3 signs that will occur as a warning for major earth changes. What are they and what is the status of each.

TomBrownJr: The first sign Grandfather foretold was a mass starvation. That has come true, just as he predicted. The second sign was when holes appear in the sky. That also has come true. Holes in the ozone. The third sign of his prophecy is the sky turning red for a full quarter of the moon. Then all is lost.

Question: What do you mean by "walk in the old way"?

TomBrownJr: Just as I indicated before. Walk in bare feet or moccasins. You will find that you can not slam your heels hard into the flesh of the Earth. Walk like the foxes.

Question: Outline for us the basics in tracking a criminal- what do you look for?

TomBrownJr: I get outside of the area where all of the searchers have been. I then cut a huge circle around the place the criminal was last sighted. This way, cross tracking, I can easily pick up the trail and follow it.

Question: Other than survival skills, what other personal skills or personal attributes do today's children need?

TomBrownJr: I stress awareness and reverence for all life above all else. A child needs to be led back to the Earth and taught to be sensitive to the Earth's needs. A child should learn to become a Caretaker of the Earth.

Question: Are you familiar with the Thomas Carleton case, a hiker who was lost in the Adirondacks in NY state in 1994, and if so, were you asked to help find him or do you know what caused his disappearance?

TomBrownJr: I am not very familiar with that case. We get many calls every week to track. I usually send out graduate students to find missing people. I only do the criminal tracking because of liability and danger. We will not enter a case unless officially called upon by the police, FBI, or the family.

Question: I do SAR work with dogs for 17 years, lately we have encountered cougars during searches and training, any suggestions for safety, handlers and dogs? Bev

TomBrownJr: AWARENESS is the key. Let the concentric rings of the landscape, the dance of wildlife to fore warn you of danger. Become aware of any tracks or sign that would tell of wild animals that would be of danger to you or your dogs.

Question: Tom, I have read most of your books and I would like to see a picture of Stalking Wolf. Is that possible?

TomBrownJr: All I have is a partial picture of Grandfather taken by my mother. We did not own a camera so I have very few photos, even of myself.

Question: Isn't the Western world rapidly becoming so domesticated that tracking and survivalist skills will no longer be necessary?

TomBrownJr: I see it as a race. If we become much more domestic and surpass the carrying capacity of the land then we will need survival skills. However, I find that tracking even in a city park to be an adventure.

Question: Were you ever a Boy Scout? Do you have any Scouting memories you would like to share with us? Any tips you learned as well?

TomBrownJr: Yes I as a Boy Scout for a short period of time. Even though I support the organization I was a loner much of the time. They just could not provide the skill level or adventures that I was seeking at the time.

Question: Tom, what type of "camouflage" can you use in a forest during winter while snow is on the ground?

TomBrownJr: I would rub white clay over my buckskin clothing, or on store bought camo. This way I can fit the camo pattern to the exact location.

Question: Hi, Tom--thanks for your inspiring books. Would you comment on any unusual recent earth changes you've noticed. Is Gaia telling us something new lately?

TomBrownJr: Our Great Mother is always speaking to us. For a long time the Earth has been crying. Things are not getting much better. Yet I see a splendid change in attitude with our young people. There is a respect surfacing that I find heartening.

Question: Have you ever had any close calls with nature while in the wilderness? 

TomBrownJr: Many. Usually born of stupidity, pressing my limits, or doing something I knew I shouldn't. Several times I have come close to death, real close recently. Bad water.

Question: You always tell us how these Native teachings taught survival. What value do you see in what Native Americans can teach us in building community??

TomBrownJr: Our constitution is built on the Native American Philosophy. Their sense of family and community, of sharing and loving are a grand example of how we should live life and respect the Earth. We can learn a lot from the Native American people.

Question: What happened to Rick? I've heard rumors that he lost interest in the woods, or that he is still alive...?

TomBrownJr: Yes, he eventually lost interest in the woods around the time we were 12. His father had a lot to do with that because he hated Grandfather and me. Rick eventually died in Spain in a horse back riding accident.

Question: Tom, what was the worst thing that you've eaten while tracking?

TomBrownJr: There is no "worse thing" if you are hungry enough. I find most everything the Earth provides delicious. No, it doesn't taste like chicken!

Question: How can people adapt the principles you teach while living in urban or suburban areas?

TomBrownJr: Survival teaches us that we have a choice. We are the captains of our own destiny and the destiny of the Earth. When something goes wrong we have no one to blame but ourselves. We can take that choice with us no matter where we live or where we work.

Jklegarth: Well folks..we are out of time...but certainly not questions...Tom we hope you'll join us again here..there is a following for sure

TomBrownJr: Thank you all.

OnlineHost: Tom, thank you again for joining us. It was an informative and interesting discussion. For more information regarding Tom Brown Jr and his Wilderness Survival School you can email TomBrownJr. A copy of tonight's transcript will be available in BACKPACKER and Center Stage with 24 hours. Thank you and good night!!!

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