Profile: Tom Brown Jr.

Ben Ruset

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I think wilderness and survival training is great, but you seem to get his "spirituality" ideas rammed down your throat instead of being able to find them on your own.
 

bobpbx

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Oct 25, 2002
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He is an interesting guy, and I'm sure he does know a lot. But, he is a bit arrogant, and some of the stories are out there in space.

And each class costs $100 per day at least. And most are 7 days long. Not bad for telling the class to eat the local acorns and sleep under pine needles.
 

woodjin

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I've read three of his books (mostly before I was a true pine barrens resident) and have a wilderness survival handbook of his. I also knew someone who took his class. When I read his first book, I thought his stories were a probably a little exagerated for dramatic effect, but I let it go since it was interesting reading. AS I became more familar with the pine barrens I began to realize that there was a tremedous amount of BS in his text. He mentions in one book about how he was stalking a bass in a stream deep in the barrens. There is no way he saw a bass in a pine barrens stream. Maybe he was using "bass" as an ubuiqutous term for a game fish. Kind of a weird thing to do for a wilderness expert. Maybe he just didn't know any better. He also speaks of enormous packs of wild dogs inflicting terror on live stock and small childern. He also single handedly saved some animal from being sacraficed by a satanic cult. Imagine my surprise when I came to the pine barrens and never ran into a satanic cult or hordes of wild dogs (he claimed there was an alpha and beta pack of dogs in the barrens each filled with dozens of dogs)

The guy I know who took his class, very strange guy, said he was tied to another person and left in the woods for an extended period of time. During that time they were not allowed to talk. Eventually they developed the ability to read each others minds. That was the point of the exercise. Now that is hear say and I can't confirm that that happend but it just seems very weird to me.
 

Teegate

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woodjin said:
He also speaks of enormous packs of wild dogs inflicting terror on live stock and small childern.
I can tell you that in the mid 70's when I had my 73 Land Cruiser we were driving up Savoy Blvd past Pioneer Smelting and a pack of dogs came out of there and started chasing us up the road. On the 73 Land Cruiser you could swing up the back window and let it rest on the spare tire so the back was open partially. They would run right up and I would slow down and the people I had in the back all slid toward the front because they though they were coming in. (The seat faced each other) I then sped up kept my distance until they retreated.

So there were out there, but were they as sophisticated as he seems to portray them....I say NO!

Guy
 

RednekF350

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Feb 20, 2004
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As for bass in the Pines, there are a lot more in the local streams than you would think.
Albertson Branch here in Pestletown has them as does the Batsto River.
If you fish the lower river near Batsto, you will catch a lot of largemouth and this time of year, you will do okay on crappie too with small minnows or crappie jigs.
The bass adapt to the low ph and their coloration matchces the dark coppery color of the water.
Fish the rear of Batsto Lake where yo can begin to follow the channel upstream and you will catch bass.
 

dmceleven

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Feb 9, 2005
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More T. Brown hearsay - guy I knew who took Brown's course said that Brown claimed he could determine, just from a person's footprint, the state of their health - down to whether they had a cold.

As a teenager, I read the Reader's Digest excerpt from "The Tracker," and was impressed until the campfire story set off the B.S. detector. Seems as kids, Brown and his buddy were sitting around a Pine Barrens campfire one evening, when up from the thawing ground pops a corpse's arm - apparently they'd built their fire over some mob victim's shallow grave. In his retelling, Brown just casually reaches out and hangs his coffee mug on the dead guy's thumb. Dude, you are so cool.

I can attest to the existence of Pine Barren dog packs, however, at least back in the late 70s. During the summer a couple high school friends and I used to hike the Batona trail, camping off trail (illegally). One night I was setting up camp while they went to refill the canteens - they were gone awhile, it was well after sunset, and I was starting to get worried. And then I heard the dogs - somewhere to the west, and moving: chasing prey, I imagine. Couldn't judge how far away they might have been, but the noise was pretty awful - like they were in pain. (Then again, a pack of domesticated dogs baying in the woods at night might sound equally creepy - I wouldn't know.) Since I'd read the Brown stuff, I assumed they were the feral packs he'd written about - the ones that supposedly rip open soupcans with their teeth.

Anyhow, my friends finally got back with the water, and we sat around the fire and listened to the baying and barking for a couple of hours; sometimes nearly swallowed by the distance, and once close enough that we climbed trees and waited - but saw nothing. To our north was a designated camping area in Lebanon S.F., I believe, which we'd passed earlier in the day. The camp was full of Boy Scouts, and at one point we heard shouts and slamming car doors when the pack approached their direction. Though we tried to post guard in shifts, we all fell asleep anyway.

Back on the trail the following morning, we saw no sign of the things - just a stiff, shredded fawn that had been dead for weeks, by the looks of it, and possibly some pawprints in the soft sand.
 

bobpbx

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dmceleven said:
More T. Brown hearsay - guy I knew who took Brown's course said that Brown claimed he could determine, just from a person's footprint, the state of their health - down to whether they had a cold.

As a teenager, I read the Reader's Digest excerpt from "The Tracker," and was impressed until the campfire story set off the B.S. detector. Seems as kids, Brown and his buddy were sitting around a Pine Barrens campfire one evening, when up from the thawing ground pops a corpse's arm - apparently they'd built their fire over some mob victim's shallow grave. In his retelling, Brown just casually reaches out and hangs his coffee mug on the dead guy's thumb. Dude, you are so cool.

I can attest to the existence of Pine Barren dog packs, however, at least back in the late 70s. During the summer a couple high school friends and I used to hike the Batona trail, camping off trail (illegally). One night I was setting up camp while they went to refill the canteens - they were gone awhile, it was well after sunset, and I was starting to get worried. And then I heard the dogs - somewhere to the west, and moving: chasing prey, I imagine. Couldn't judge how far away they might have been, but the noise was pretty awful - like they were in pain. (Then again, a pack of domesticated dogs baying in the woods at night might sound equally creepy - I wouldn't know.) Since I'd read the Brown stuff, I assumed they were the feral packs he'd written about - the ones that supposedly rip open soupcans with their teeth.

Anyhow, my friends finally got back with the water, and we sat around the fire and listened to the baying and barking for a couple of hours; sometimes nearly swallowed by the distance, and once close enough that we climbed trees and waited - but saw nothing. To our north was a designated camping area in Lebanon S.F., I believe, which we'd passed earlier in the day. The camp was full of Boy Scouts, and at one point we heard shouts and slamming car doors when the pack approached their direction. Though we tried to post guard in shifts, we all fell asleep anyway.

Back on the trail the following morning, we saw no sign of the things - just a stiff, shredded fawn that had been dead for weeks, by the looks of it, and possibly some pawprints in the soft sand.

Good post. As far as baying and chasing things, remember that foxhounds will do that. I imagine that sometimes they will not return to the truck as ordered if they are hard on the trail of a fox. I have never seen a pack of wild dogs in my 40 years of living around the pines. Not that I doubt Guy's post, but that was probably a unique group staying close to the buildings in that area.
 

woodjin

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Yeah, I've seen evidence of some wild dogs in the woods. Many times I've come across scattered deer remains that would appear to have been the result of dog or coyote activity (I've seen coyote). I was within the warren grove bombing range and saw a lot of wild dog evidence, but, as guy pointed out, it is the organization and sheer number that Brown proclaims that loses credibility for me.
 

woodjin

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Rednek, I've caught bass in Basto lake ( I know the area you referred to), Atsion lake, Presidential lake, and I've heard of some in OSwego lake but I've attributed this to diluted acidity by the volume of water present in lakes as opposed to the streams. In one of the bogs I fish, a land bridge broke and drained the bog leaving only one deep pool. I netted the fish and replaced them to healthy waters. In the process I found pickeral (of course) catfish, black banded and sphagnum sunfish, and even one lone pirate perch, but not one bass.

What surprises me is that you said you saw bass in the Albertson branch. Is the area that you saw them a large (lake like) area of the branch? A study was done a few years back by Rutgers regarding pollution and fish in the pine barrens, in the study they didn't find any bass in the true pine barren streams. This part of Albertson branch...has someone been stocking it maybe?
 

RednekF350

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Just think, if you took Brown's course and you found their tracks, you could tell if those dogs were neutered, had spots, ate Cadillac dog food or had recently licked themselves.
:D
Scott
 

Teegate

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RednekF350 said:
Just think, if you took Brown's course and you found their tracks, you could tell if those dogs were neutered, had spots, ate Cadillac dog food or had recently licked themselves.
:D
Scott
And if they were sick. Don't forget that.

Guy
 

dmceleven

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Feb 9, 2005
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BobM wrote:

As far as baying and chasing things, remember that foxhounds will do that. I imagine that sometimes they will not return to the truck as ordered if they are hard on the trail of a fox. I have never seen a pack of wild dogs in my 40 years of living around the pines. Not that I doubt Guy's post, but that was probably a unique group staying close to the buildings in that area.
Hmmm. You know, that never even occurred to me. Well, that totally makes my tale sound way less dramatic, and me way more foolish. As I mentioned, I've never heard a pack of hunting dogs give chase, but I do have a copy of Mary T. Hufford's Chaseworld handy (U. Penn. Press, 1992). It's an account of the Pine Barrens culture of foxhunting, in which she writes:

Rarely are hounds said to bark. Rather, they yell, squall, scream, boo-hoo, babble, holler, tongue, lie, sing, and talk (20).

Which would about describe it, I guess. I mean, it was years ago, and all I knew at the time was (a) I wasn't 100% sure Brown had lied about the wild dog hordes; (b) we were in the woods, off trail, at night; and (c) these sounded like no dogs I'd ever heard.

BTW, we camped illegally because none of us were yet 18, and therefore couldn't get a permit.

This would have been spring or summer of 1979, between 8 and 11 p.m., SW of the camping area near Pakim Pond in Lebanon S.F. and a few hundred yards off of the Batona Trail, NW of Chatsworth and NE of Apple Pie Hill - essentially, in the area where the trail and Rts. 563 and 532 form a triangle. Is that a likely place and time for foxhunting - say, just off White Horse Road? If so, I'm more likely to believe BobM or other locals on the forum, and chalk up the wild dog fears to my young Tom-Brown-tainted imagination.
 

bobpbx

Piney
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dmceleven said:
Hmmm. You know, that never even occurred to me. Well, that totally makes my tale sound way less dramatic, and me way more foolish.
You should not feel foolish if you never heard hounds before. Chalk it up to something else, like..."you just didn't know".

And yes, I would say that is a good place to have heard hunting dogs. Many pineys live off that road that goes from 563 to 70, and I think some have dogs.

And as you probably already know, you were only what, 2 miles from that spot in Lebanon where the fox hunting was hot and heavy back then (the spot where 5 roads come together and there is a monument to an old time foxhunter).
 

bobpbx

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RednekF350 said:
Just think, if you took Brown's course and you found their tracks, you could tell if those dogs were neutered, had spots, ate Cadillac dog food or had recently licked themselves.
:D
Scott
I saw a squirrel crossing the road today. I could tell by the way he walked and the sullen look on his face that his old lady kicked him out, he was way behind on the mortgage, and the loan he applied for in order to buy a nutcracker did not go through.

:p
 

Teegate

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BobM said:
I saw a squirrel crossing the road today. I could tell by the way he walked and the sullen look on his face that his old lady kicked him out, he was way behind on the mortgage, and the loan he applied for in order to buy a nutcracker did not go through.

:p
Good one Bob :)

Guy
 

woodjin

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That's great! You guys are cracking me up!

This might be interesting. My house is situated fairly close to the Reeves bogs in Lebanon. One night about five or six years ago, somewhere between midnight and two am, I'm in my front yard and I hear the weirdest sounding canine howls coming from the direction of the bogs. I can tell there are alot of them. It was a very chilling sound to be honest. So, naturally I hop in my Jeep and head out to the bogs.

Drove around for a bit, when suddenly about 15 to 20 red eyes reflect in my headlights. I stop and realize they are tearing straight for me at full speed. Now, I'm on a land bridge and can't go right or left so I put the jeep in reverse and start to back up when I notice for the first time that the whole back of the soft top on the jeep is wide open. So I'm freaking and these blood thirsty canines are all around me at this point. Looking forward again, a few have become visable in my headlights and it turns out they are...you guessed it...blood hounds. All tails a wagging and friendly.

Funny thing is, these dogs have transmitters on their collars with small blinking red lights and antennas. Just after noticing this, a helicopter comes very low over the bogs and over my jeep and begins to make a wide circle. Not to mention it is two in the morning. So now I'm thinking great, some maniac escaped from New Lisbon and is loose in the bogs. I'm a dead man.

Needless to say I got out of there in a hurry and I never heard anymore about it. Any thoughts on what might have been going on that night?

Furthermore, if there was an escaped lunatic in the bogs that night, why bother with bood hounds when they could just get Tom Brown Jr. to track him down in half the time?

ps; this is no Tom Brown story, it is all true.

Jeff
 

bobpbx

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Cool story Jeff. I lived in Presidential Lakes for 13 years and never heard them so it must be a recent thing. I'm betting they belonged to the state or federal government since most foxhunters don't own a helicopter. They could have been practicing.

When I lived in that area, there were many stories of residents walking out of New Lisbon home for men and just disapearing in the woods. Most were found, and at least one was found dead from exposure. They are basically harmless, just mentally disabled.

Except for the one guy. His nickname is Curly, 300 pounds of solid muscle with a mowhawk. Got a real mean streak. He has not been seen since, but his tracks show up every once in awhile along the fire roads that parallel route 70.