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Tom Brown's Tracker School

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by Nathaniel Firethorn, Feb 24, 2003.

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  1. Nathaniel Firethorn

    Nathaniel Firethorn Member

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  2. VaughnT

    VaughnT Member

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    I was involved in the primitive skills thing for quite a few years and Tom Brown did not have a good reputation. If you read his books, you'll see that though they are claimed to be great, they leave a ton of information out. I still get a laugh when I see him show how to make a hide scraper!:what:

    It is very difficult to find qualified trackers who can teach. Maybe Brown can do that, but I'd travel 500 miles before I took his class next door.

    Check into the Society of Primitive Technology for trackers and primtech schools in your area. There's sure to be a practitioner near you.
     
  3. Nathaniel Firethorn

    Nathaniel Firethorn Member

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    I'm kind of surprised. The folx on rec.backcountry seem mostly positive.

    - pdmoderator
     
  4. VaughnT

    VaughnT Member

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    Well, maybe you'll get a kick out of his school. Personally, I don't like that hippy jive and that is one of the main reasons I left the scene. All these earth-lovers praying to Gaia, wearing buckskins if they weren't too lazy to make them, and talking a bunch of hug-your-brother/sister, I'm-so-perfect mumbo-jumbo. I didn't meet a lot of people that were in to the killing aspect of primitive technology, like you could live in the wild on fruits and nuts!

    I read his books back when I was new to the skills and really liked them. But, I was ignorant and after I learned the different arts from craftsmen, I was able to see just how little information he put in the books and how much of it just wasn't very good. Of course, I'm all for giving the guy a break. Time has passed and his school might have moved out of the metaphysical.

    www.braintan.com , www.hollowtop.com , www.stickbow.com , three good resources for quality teachers that I know and trust.

    What aspect of the Tracker school caught your eye, PD?
     
  5. Nathaniel Firethorn

    Nathaniel Firethorn Member

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    Why that particular school? Just through an acquaintance.

    I had a backdoor neighbor about 20 years ago who took some courses there. She was a crazy lady (in a good sense) and a whup-a$$ Scrabble player who, among other things, guarded the pot plants that grew among her tomatoes with a (ObFirearm) shotgun and used a garden hose as a water heater.

    Her final exam was being dropped into the woods at night in February with just a knife and tennies, and yes, that means no clothes. Since she was still alive afterward, the instructors must have known something about wilderness survival.

    Why the interest? Nothing serious. I saw an indie flick last night called Rabbit-Proof Fence about a pair of escapees from an Australian (yes, Australian) internment camp for aborigines who walked out 1600 miles across backcountry with basically just the clothes on their backs. There was a tracker character in the movie, and I guess I just got mildly curious.

    Thanks for the references; will check 'em.

    - pdmoderator
     
  6. VaughnT

    VaughnT Member

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    There is nothing cooler than being able to survive in the wilderness without the umbilical cord that is modern gear. John and Geri McPherson did just that and wrote the book. Oddly enough, the series of educational booklets were called, "Naked into the Wilderness." They are the ones that started me going, and you can't beat their writings for ACCURATE info that's proven in the field. The booklets are cheap @$5 and worth their weight in gold, imnsho.

    Be careful, though. Primitive technology is every bit as addictive as guns ever were. When you make fire by friction for the first time, it's simply amazing. :cool: :D
     
  7. Nathaniel Firethorn

    Nathaniel Firethorn Member

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    Another Brown reference

    Oh, yeah. I read somewhere else (either Cold Zero or Whoever Fights Monsters, I forget which) that the FBI had hired Brown on a case. He was described as pretty intense.

    I agree that he's starting from a position of trying to bee-ess people about his past history (e.g., his claim on his website about learning from an Apache who somehow came to PRNJ.) Doesn't improve his worthwhileness as a teacher, IMNSHO, to start from a base of falsehood.

    - pdmoderator
     
  8. 444

    444 Member

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    I don't have any personal experience with this guy, although I have been hearing about him for probably close to 30 years. I first heard of him when I was a kid through an article in The Readers Digest. Not long after that I read a couple of his books. If I happened to run across another of his books since then I read them also. I have come across him here and there over the years, I remember hearing him interviewed within the last year on Coast to Coast AM radio.
    I am surprised to hear that he isn't all he is cracked up to be, actually I am sorry to hear this. I never worshipped the man, he made some statements on that radio interview that were sort of anti-gun but he seemed like the real deal.

    pdmoderator, if I am reading your posts correctly, you start out asking about this guy and end up calling him an out and out liar all in the same 24 hour period. What are you basing this on ?
     
  9. Nathaniel Firethorn

    Nathaniel Firethorn Member

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    His Apache "Grandfather" in Toms River, NJ stretches credibility.

    Additionally, there are several pieces of circumstantial evidence which are pointed out in the customer reviews of his books:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...6204015/sr=2-3/ref=sr_2_3/103-1546505-2177434

    - pdmoderator
     
  10. VaughnT

    VaughnT Member

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    PD, that's a very good quote you caught. No one with any survival savvy, even a small child, would try to "weather" out a storm in the top of a tree! Common sense says to find shelter and that kind of writing from a purported survival instructor could get a newbie in serious trouble.

    Personally, I think if he was half what he claims, he would be featured in Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, Field & Stream, etc, a lot more than he is. In fact, he's probably the only tracker that hasn't been featured in the mainstream hunting/fishing media. Isnt' that a little weird?

    Like I said earlier, if you know anything about primitive technologies, you can see the BS as soon as you open one of his books. If he was as good as he says, he would be in other peoples' books and magazine articles. We would see him teaching our Marines how to move in the deserts and jungles.

    And what's up with his "Badger/Wolverine" system of self-defense? There's a real brief mention in one of his books, but he never elaborates on it. Sure must be highly classified stuff.
     
  11. Nathaniel Firethorn

    Nathaniel Firethorn Member

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    Turns out to be David Scott-Donlean. The school is the Tactical Tracking Operations School:

    http://members.aol.com/mantrack/index.htm

    Short bio of Scott-Donlean at:

    http://members.tripod.com/selousscouts/David Scott-Donelan.htm

    TTOS isn't a SAR or hunting school. They track quarry is armed and dangerous (and presumably doesn't want to be found.)

    Which led me in turn to the International Society of Professional Trackers:

    http://www.ispt.org/

    Gee, it's amazing how much more fun this kind of stuff is than editing functional specs! :D

    - pdmoderator
     
  12. Quartus

    Quartus Member

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    Bingo. You'd have to be pretty stupid to climb a tree to wait out a storm!


    Oak trees in Montana? :what:
     
  13. 444

    444 Member

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    Gordon Liddy says that he sat out a storm in the top of tree.
    Great minds must think alike.
     
  14. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    Hey don't dis my man Liddy like dat! He not in same league as udder guy. My son went to his week long 'survival school' before he went to live in Ak for 2 years. Now he says what a BSer Tom was. Of course I said that before he gave Tom $400 , but when you are 18 you dont always listen to Dad (who was a disciple of Mel Tappan and has the Mayflower and Path finder tab on his mos record) who was known locally as the hardcore survivalist. :D
     
  15. Quartus

    Quartus Member

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    Gordon, Pathfinder I know (and respect) but what is a Mayflower tab?
     
  16. 444

    444 Member

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    That is Jungle Expert isn't it ?
     
  17. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    Caught and tortured in Panama by Minahune's, ring any bells?:D
     
  18. sanchezero

    sanchezero Member

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    I dated a girl that got really into the Tom Brown scene. One of the (many) reasons our relationship burned. As has been said, lotsa subjectivist 'you create your own reality' crap is spewed among the training.

    :barf:

    She still can't find a rabbit in a cardboard box full of snow.

    :uhoh:

    That tactical tracking school looks pretty schweeet :D .
     
  19. mercop

    mercop Member

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    I grew up about five miles from him in NJ but never met him. Didn't realize he was a hippy. Now I know why I never got an answer back when I e-mailed him about trading him firearms / tactical training for tracking training. I can track bad guys (well as long as there is fresh snow on the ground).
     
  20. Matthew Temkin

    Matthew Temkin Member

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    I can not vouch for the man but...back in 1985 I was in a national park in the SW. One of the rangers put on a very impressive demo on survival tactics.
    When I asked him where he learned how to make shelter, weapons, etc, he said.."Tom Brown"
     
  21. Peter Allen

    Peter Allen Member

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    This should push some buttons...

    I know this post is kinda late for the topic but I felt compelled to write something about Tom Brown's teachings. I have been practicing survival skills since I was fourteen, I'm currently twenty one, and learned much of what I do from Tom's books. I'm not BSing you when I say that nothing I've ever learned in his books has failed me. I've seen fifty people or more give primitive skills a try and quit after a year or so because they weren't progressing at the pace they hoped to with the skills. I broke through that wall when I was around sixteen and it has been a wild ride ever since. I've taken a number of coursed with students of his that have started their own outdoor schools and they have showed me things, and taught me to do them also, that would make the average person believe in what was thought to be impossible.

    About the comment someone made about there not being oak trees in Montana.Wow, I got a good laugh out of that one. That person must not have the best awareness skills because there is in fact oak trees in Montana. Who ever said that is totally going against what the Tom Brown haters are saying. The haters are saying he is full of crap while they just assume that some guy on the amazon.com site is an automatic expert on trees in Montana, it sounds to me like he is the one full of crap. It sounds to me like a lot of you haven't really put in your dirt time and don't really know anything about survival at all. Oh, and being up in a tree during a storm in the summer isn't crazy. Actually, it probably isn't scary at all. The worst thing to happen to you would be getting hit by lighting, sure thats bad but what are the chances. It's not like you would get very cold in the middle of summer in an oak tree, and don't try to pull the "well, what if it was a high elevation where it would be colder?", Oaks typically don't grow in high altitude areas.

    And another thing, why are you so hung up on guns? I grew up using and hunting with guns, and still enjoying shooting to this day. But if someone took them all away from me I really wouldn't care, not that it's actually going to happen anyway. Owning and using a gun doesn't make you a warrior, hunter, a man, or anything else. All it means is that you can aim it and pull the trigger and let the bullet and gun do the rest. Way to go. I understand there is more to it than just pulling the trigger and aiming, but what do you learn from this when you hunt? Nothing. You are not attached to the animal or the earth that way. Maybe try using a homemade bow or throwing stick and see how much MORE satisfaction you will have, let alone using all your skills to get that close to an animal.

    Sorry for the rant everyone. Just wanted to try to share my opinion. I'm sorry to anyone that hasn't been successful in primitive survival skills, just a hint though...become a naturalist and the skills will literally fall into your lap.
     
  22. Wheeler

    Wheeler Member

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    Peter,

    I'm not a tracker or really even much of a survivalist but, I do know a thing or two about lightning and trees. If you and the other folks on this thread will indulge me, I'll explain. Lightning strikes are caused by a difference of polarity between the storm cell and the ground. FYI, electricity is ALWAYS looking for a path to ground. For the sake of argument, let's say you have a positively charged storm passing over an area that has a negative charge. You now have the possibility of a lightning strike. There is more involved though. The chances of a strike are increased or decreased by what is known as a "difference in potential". Basically, how much resistance is between the ground and the storm cell. The next hard fact is that electricity ALWAYS follows the path of least resistance. Trees of any type have less resistive value than air, thus trees are considered a variable in the difference in potential. In other words, if you are in a low area, say a ditch, you chances of lighting strike are minimal. However, while sitting up in a tree, it doesn't matter what kind, oak, hickory, pine, or even a crepe mertyl you have placed your self in a possible path of least resistance.

    If you're not confused so far just wait, it get's even better. :) There is no such thing as a survivor of a lightning strike. What I mean by that is, if you are directly in the path of the plasma arc, (what we perceive as lightning), you are dead. At this time, there is no true reading of the voltage of a lightning strike, the guestimates however, place it in the range of one to one and a half Billion volts. People who survive a "lightning strike" are removed from the strike path. What happens is that they are in close proximity, usually within 200 yards of the epicenter of the strike. So, you are safer in a ditch rather than a tree. Let's not even get into the effects of high winds and deciduous trees, such as oaks, that have a relatively weak spreader root system.

    In answer to your last question, the reason that most of the folks on this board are hung up on guns is, well... this is a forum for guns and gun enthusiasts...

    You are right about one thing, owning and using guns does not make you a warrior, hunter, a man, or anything else. Neither do homemade spears, bows, bolos, or rock axes. It's the mindset and willingness to accept responsibility for one's actions that makes you or me these things, not the tools we use to accomplish the job at hand.

    Best regards and hopefully I didn't botch my explanation to much,
    Wheeler
     
  23. Don Gwinn

    Don Gwinn Moderator Emeritus

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    Mr. Allen, perhaps you could explain for us the advantage of climbing a tree to "ride out" a storm.

    You say the odds of a lightning strike aren't much; fine, but why be in the tree in the first place? Storm means what. . . . wind? Rain? Lightning? Which of those things is better endured up in a tree than on the ground?

    I freely admit I'm no wilderness survival expert. Where I live, there are township roads every mile in a neat grid. However, the woods lore I've had passed down has not included the technique of climbing a tall oak as shelter from a storm.
     
  24. ghost squire

    ghost squire member

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    Is David Scott-Donelan's school open to civilians? In case you guys didn't know he was head guy in charge of training the Selous Scouts.

    They grew wild beards and hair, painted their faces black and learned Shona. Then they went out into the bush of Rhodesia and tracked down squads of insurgents, the officer pretended he was black and also a terrorist(the rest really were black) and gained their trust. Then they gathered intelligence for up to a month (all this time the Africans think this white guy is black. Imagine this, as an analogy, a black African man dying his face white, learning English and speaking it with a southern accent, and growing a beard and infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan and it working.) then calling Fireforces and airstrikes down on the commies.

    And David Scott-Donelan trained these men. If I'm not mistaken I believe he is also ex-SAS and Rhodesian Light Infantry.
     
  25. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    WOW like paleo dude!

    How can I reason with somebody who feels:
    "But if someone took them all away from me I really wouldn't care, not that it's actually going to happen"
    :rolleyes:
     
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