Tom Brown, Jr. - The Tracker

Tom Brown, Jr. - The Tracker

This is a discussion on Tom Brown, Jr. - The Tracker within the Bushcraft - Primitive Skills - Survival Skills - Camping forums, part of the Related Topics category; For the hunters here, and perhaps some veterans, tracking is not a foreign concept. In my opinion it is a skill that should be developed ...

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Thread: Tom Brown, Jr. - The Tracker

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Caertaker's Avatar
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    Tom Brown, Jr. - The Tracker

    For the hunters here, and perhaps some veterans, tracking is not a foreign concept. In my opinion it is a skill that should be developed by anyone interested in this forum. I think of it as kind of like a graduate course in situational awareness. When I was a much younger man I encountered a book titled The Tracker written by Tom Brown, Jr. It is an easy, entertaining read that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in bushcraft. The Tracker: Tom Brown: 9780425101339: Amazon.com: Books

    This morning I stumbled across Mr. Brown's website and wanted to call your attention to it: Tom Brown, Jr's Tracker School : Vision and Mission

    For those unfamiliar, here is the beginning of his journey in his own words:
    Grandfather
    Stalking Wolf was raised free of the reservations in the mountains of northern Mexico. Born in the 1870's during a time of great warfare and violence, he was part of a band of Lipan Apache that never surrendered. He was taught the traditional ways of his people and became a shaman and a scout. When he was twenty a vision sent him away from his people, and for the next sixty-three years he wandered, seeking teachers and learning the old ways of many native peoples, and others who lived close to the earth. Stalking Wolf traveled the length and breadth of the Americas, following the Creators call. He never held a job, drove a car, paid taxes, or participated in modern society. When he was eighty-three years old, he encountered a small boy gathering fossils in a stream bed. He recognized that boy as the person with whom he would spend his final years, and to whom he would teach all that he knew. That boy was Tom Brown, Jr. Tom became the recipient of not only all that Stalking Wolf had learned during his travels, but the distillation of hundreds of years of Apache culture as well. These are the teachings that Tom passes on at his famous Tracking, Nature, and Wilderness Survival School."

    Of course I want to take every one of his courses but was particularly intrigued by:
    The Apocolypse and the End of Days and the Great War

    "In a way the title of this class says it all. This is a full blown concentration on the events that will soon become our reality, the worlds’ reality, and what we will all be facing in great detail. Yes, there are very intense and powerful skills, techniques, and knowledge that will be physically taught during this class. In fact it will probably end up being one of the most staggering assortment of skills that I have ever tried to teach in the span of a week. Yet there is nothing more that I can say about this class other than to say that if you are Inner Vision Directed to take it then do so, if not it would be best that you simply stay away. In this class I don’t need any curiosity seekers for curiosity could be very dangerous when dealing with the scope and reality of this very unique and powerful class. Good Luck!"
    Last edited by Caertaker; February 7th, 2014 at 03:30 AM. Reason: space
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  2. #2
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    As an old fart, who is another year older today, I find this topic extremely interesting and out of my realm of capabilities, for sure...thanks for the post.
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    Great...but shy away from THIS Tom Brown Tracker because it ain't what it's cracked up to be.
    It's better than a Butter Knife but, not by all that much.

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    SPOILER - OT

    Happy B-day and many, many more!

    Quote Originally Posted by RETSUPT99 View Post
    As an old fart, who is another year older today, I find this topic extremely interesting and out of my realm of capabilities, for sure...thanks for the post.
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    VIP Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
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    I've read many of his books. I can't say that I enjoy his version of spirituality in all senses, but there is quite a bit of wisdom in it if you're selective about what you take to heart. His outdoors philosophy is the opposite of many "gearcentric" ones that are popular today. I think most soldiers who have had to hump long distances festooned with gear of dubious use will take to it like a duck to water (assuming they haven't lost the taste for camping altogether). I don't think I would get along all that well with one of his true devotees. I've never been to the school.

    I've had the knife he designed (T-1 "the ultimate tracking knife") for years (Tops now makes a version of it). My hunting buddies call it my "Fort Building Knife". Most serious knife guys absolutely hate it and call it a gimmick. I rarely admit I have one or like to use it amongst serious blade-o-philes..., and yet, while all the criticisms have an element of truth, and it does many things poorly rather than a few well, I've modified mine a bit and with some practice I find it to be a very useful and versatile tool. Combine it with a Hedgehog sheath (Hedgehog Leatherworks - High Performance Knife Sheaths - 100% USA Handmade), and it is not a bad "if you could only have one knife" rig. One of the problems with it is that its kewl looking, and that makes people assume it doesn't work. It does, but you have to get used to it and practice with it to get the hang of it. It's not a machete, or a hatchet, or a skinning knife, or any other specialty tool to do a specific job. It's an attempt to be all of them, and that it's a compromise shouldn't shock anyone, but many people seem fixated on it. It doesn't chop well, it doesn't baton well, it doesn't drill well, it doesn't pull well, it doesn't skin well, etc., etc. That's all true. It doesn't, but it will actually do all those things passably. It takes some practice and getting used to it. I think everyone hates it as first, but it's grown on me over the years. Enjoy your discovery. It's different, and it isn't for everyone, but like I said there is some serious wisdom in it if you sift it a bit.
    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." C.S. Lewis

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    VIP Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
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    QKShooter obviously beat me to it...but, that's why I never try to defend it. Those of us who like and use this knife just don't say anything against the internet consensus that it's high priced junk.

    Truth be told if you want a "survival" knife that you'll enjoy immediately out of the box you'll be more happy with an SK-5. Like Tom Brown's writings and beliefs, the T-1 is an acquired taste that takes a lot of getting used to.
    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." C.S. Lewis

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    I certainly do not have any ill feelings toward anybody that happens to have one. You are always welcome into the deep PA. woods with me and I ALWAYS have an extra knife on me that you can feel free to borrow any time.

    You need only to ask.

    An hour or so on a belt sander could turn it into quite a decent knife.

    Don't get me wrong. It's great quality blade steel.

    I'd drop the point down to the center line of the knife beginning at that curve on the spine which would get rid of the Loc Ness Monster humps up there.

    Reprofile to get rid of the edge bump and give it a continuous working edge and flat grind the blade.

    Viola! A good all 'round high quality useful multifunctional camp/survival knife.

    You could actually Mod that pretty close and fit it right into the profile of a BUSSE Tankbuster (minus the choil) which is a great all around working knife.

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    VIP Member Array DingBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Great...but shy away from THIS Tom Brown Tracker because it ain't what it's cracked up to be.
    It's better than a Butter Knife but, not by all that much.

    it looks like the knives they made on that movie "the hunted"....

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
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    The point's not centered because the weight forward and high makes it a more effective chopper in hand position 3 (though it ruins drilling ergonomics). It isn't nearly as good as a machete or hatchet for chopping, but if you only have one knife it will do. Those Loc Ness Monster humps are cantilevered serrations that create perfectly square notches for building traps and sets for snares. The spine is so thick so the notch is just the right size. They're the only thing on the knife that works perfectly for a specific task, but make they batoning large wood much more of a hassle, and they have to be cleaned out when you're done. That edge bump is very useful when using it as a drawknife to strip knots and imperfections in the piece of wood if you're making arrow shafts, a fire stick, or strips for a weir. It's actually pretty derned effective, and I've polished mine out even a little further so it will bite more.

    Like I said, it isn't nearly as useable or self explanatory out of the box as a conventional survival knife, which is not trying to be a hatchet, a drawknife, and all things to all people, but once you learn to use it correctly even with all it's compromises it begins to grow on you. It's also so heavy and thick it will pry where most blades (even very fine ones) will snap (also a minus if batoning is your main focus). The coating will protect the heck out of the blade, but it also acts like a break when going through wood. I sanded it all off, and it goes through much better, but it means you have to care for the blade more.

    I agree. That Tank Buster is a great knife. It would be better for batoning, drilling, dressing game, and certainly better for sticking someone. But, there are things that the T-1 does better. After making bushcraft traps for most of my life and spending hours whittling to get triggers and trips right so they actually work, I've found I can do it quickly and easily when using this blade. In an actual survival situation you want as many traps as possible working for you, and if I can make ten an hour, and you can make five, I've just doubled my chances of eating... I can do the same things with a conventional straight blade, some things better and faster, and some slower and worse. It isn't magic or anything.

    I'm not selling the thing, or even recommending it to anyone. It is what it is, and most people don't want a knife that you have to learn to use correctly, because...it's just a knife. Whenever anyone Brings up Tom Brown many only think about his one and only knife design, and want to say it's worthless. This is especially true for anyone who thinks knife fighting is a major part of a survival knife, because the T1 is a very poor choice for that.

    I'll bet there are a lot of people who attend his bush craft school, learn from the man and his devotes, and wouldn't carry anything else. Is it the ultimate bush craft knife? Prolly not, but I wouldn't doubt there are a few people who know how to use it well who think it is. It's the kind of thing that a guy like Nutin'fancy loves to attack from a position of near total ignorance. I don't know everything or have time for people who do, so I usually just don't say anything about it. It isn't worth arguing about it. I'm much more talkative on a keyboard. ;)
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  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
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    It is the knife they used on The Hunted. That burst of notoriety from a design that was only popular for very few people may have sold some more knives, but it created a huge internet backlash of knife people who dismiss it.
    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." C.S. Lewis

  11. #11
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    Might as well carry a Machette and forget all the knife hype....

  12. #12
    mjp
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    I read all of Tom Brown's books years ago and still have them in my library. Thank you for your post, I am going to check out his web site.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array Caertaker's Avatar
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    I find it interesting that many focused on the knife. When I got home my new knife was on the porch.
    BK Ka-Bar1 (1).jpgBK Ka-Bar1 (2).jpg
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    Can't speak to the knife, mine preferred field knives are small blades.

    I've attended 6 of Toms's course, at least I think that is the right number. Some years ago. The skills are invaluable and the lessons continue long after the course is completed. I'm still learning from courses I took 10 years ago.

    The tracking course was probably one of the hardest courses I've taken. Headaches daily from starring at the dirt. But you know you can track when you can follow a squirrels tracks up a tree. Yes, squirrels do leave tracks.
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  15. #15
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    OK...We can get off the knife and back onto Tom Brown (after I so eloquently sidetracked this thread) who I have a healthy degree of respect for...save for his highly idiosyncratic blade design.
    But, knife choices and preferences will always be a very personal thing. Admittedly I tend to be super over opinionated on knife designs.

    Knives are basically whatever floats an individual boat.

    Caertaker. That one will work out just fine.
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