HomePublicationsTrue TracksSpring 2003

True Tracks - Spring 2003

Paramount's 'The Hunted' called upon Tom Brown for expertise, authenticity
by Dan Hirshberg

When "The Hunted" hits movie theaters nationwide on March 14, Tom Brown, Jr. can bask in the knowledge that he played an integral part in making this the most authen­tic film ever about tracking and sur­vival.

"The Hunted," a Paramount Pictures release, is about a top spe­cial-forces assassin (played by Benicio Del Toro) gone amok. His mentor, played by Tommy Lee Jones (a Tom Brown-like character), is brought out of retirement to help locate and capture his former expert student. The film is directed by William Friedkin ("The Exorcist," "To Live and Die in L.A."). It is rated R for strong bloody violence and some language.

Brown spent nearly a year in the Pacific Northwest working as a Technical Advisor to Friedkin.

"Billy and I go back many years," noted Brown. "Initially he wanted to make a movie about my life - that's how we met."


Indeed, Friedkin had been dreaming of making a film like "The Hunted" ever since he formed a friendship with Brown, but was con­cerned it would be too much like a documentary of Brown. And then he read a script by David and Peter Griffiths about a trained, Delta Force-style assassin who becomes a serial killer. That script became the basis for "The Hunted," which was rewrit­ten to focus more on the inner and outer conflicts of the Jones and Del Toro characters. Friedkin then per­sonally recruited Brown to train the actors and serve as a consultant throughout the shoot.

"The basis for the movie is very similar to a tracking case I had once been on," said Brown. "At first, I helped with the creating of the story idea. And then I was brought on as a Technical Advisor and from there it branched out, from assisting with things like character development, dialogue, set decorations, special effects and of course, skills training.

I was generally always next to Billy during shooting and that's because he wanted a certain authenticity that I brought to the movie. Billy's a per­fectionist. I've always liked that about him. He's constantly striving to make a story as authentic as humanly possible."

The movie is action-packed with excitement, but does not follow the usual shoot 'em up theory. Instead, the film focuses on survival tactics and features knives, not guns, as the weapons of choice.

In fact, the flint and steel knives used in the movie were cast in hard rubber from originals that Brown manufactured for fight scenes between Jones and Del Toro. Interestingly, an all-purpose knife designed by Brown that is currently for sale through The Tracker School, is prominently showcased in the movie.

Brown spent a great deal of time with both Jones and Del Toro, training them for their parts.

"Tommy Lee has a ranch down in Texas,” said Brown, who was assist­ed in the training by Tracker School instructor Bill McConnell. "There wasn't much training I had to do with him because he's already a hunter and good in the outdoors. Benicio was less experienced, but at the same time extremely easy to train. He spends a lot of time early in the movie in natural camouflage - mud, leaves, sticks. The camouflage was so good that we had to lighten it up so the cameras could see him."


Specially-Designed by Tom Brown, Jr., Tracker Knife is Multipurpose Tool

If you had only one tool at your fingertips while out in the wilder­ness - or anywhere for that matter - would you choose a knife, an axe or a saw?

How about all three? And more. Tom Brown, Jr. has unveiled what he believes to be the perfect tool for anyone wishing to be pre­pared for a survival situation or for hunters who simply want to have a multipurpose tool on hand that can handle any situation.


The Tracker Knife has already made it to Hollywood. "The Hunted," which debuts on March 14, 2003, is based loosely on an episode of Tom's life. The Tracker Knife is carried and used by the antagonist, played by Benicio Del Toro.

Made of the finest materials and with exquisite craftsmanship, the Tracker Knife is a tool that will last generations. The Tracker Knife can perform multiple func­tions, with each area of the knife made to execute several functions with ease. There is a chopping blade, a carving blade, a saw blade, and a pounding area.

The Tracker Knife can chop, split, carve, score, scrape, saw, notch, and drill wood, bone, and even antler. It can be used to gut and skin an animal, then scrape the hide. It can be lashed to a pole for use as a spear, and it can be thrown much like a toma­hawk. It is an extremely versatile

and useful knife.

"I wanted a knife that is useful, yet easy to handle," says Brown. "The Tracker Knife brings all the qualities that are important to me together for a tool that is ready and able to handle any survival sit­uation."

The Tracker Knife is manufac­tured in accordance with the strict design specifications established by Brown, by the leading manu­facturer of tactical knives, TOPS USA, whose knives are favored by U.S. Special Operations forces. The knife is made of 1095 high-carbon steel, 1/4" thick. It is water jet cut and hand ground, then heat-treated followed by cryo treatment to create a knife with outstanding edge holding capabili­ties and hardness. It is then fin­ished with a baked on epoxy coat­ing to make it impervious to the elements and finally, laser cut with the Tracker School logo and Brown's signature. The result is a knife that meets the most demand­ing expectations.

The Tracker Knife retails for $299 (including choice of specially designed sheaths). For further information about the Tracker Knife or to order, please call (908) 479-4681 or visit the Tracker School website.


Tracker School approaches 25th Anniversary
By Dan Hirshberg

Can you believe it, The Tracker School turns 25 this April!

When the school first started, the classes were in Tom's back­yard. Eventually the school found a home on a farm in the tiny ham­let of Asbury (Warren County), N.J. -- not the present site, which is actually in nearby Bethlehem Township (Hunterdon County), just across the river.

I recently ran into a student who attended one of the very first Standard classes in Asbury and also an Advanced Standard in the Pine Barrens.

As Ronny remembers it, it was the early fall of 1978 and The Tracker School had just barely been born. Tom had just recently attained national recognition with the publication of his book, The Tracker, and a condensed article in The Reader's Digest.

Ronny, a 19-year old working and living in Europe at the time, came home for a visit. His mother showed him the Reader's Digest article and within hours, he made contact with the fledgling Tracker School. The native of the Midwest signed up for two late fall classes, a Standard course that would be taught on a farm in Asbury, N.J. and an Advanced Standard sched­uled for the Pine Barrens.

Ronny had no idea at the time that he was in one of the first "official" classes of The tracker School He remembered that there were only about 12 students in each of his classes and Tom was the only instructor!


In a recent visit to the present Asbury farm, Ronny recalled those two classes vividly.

"I remember one instance when we worked on stalking skills in the barn," said Ronny. “I worked my way across some beams and jumped down by this guy who was hiding. He never heard me coming. Another time in the Pine Barrens we held a race by running on 4-foot high poles sticking out of the ground. Tom said we couldn't touch the ground. It came down to me and this other guy and I won by diving at the last pole. Tom just shook his head. But I won. I also remember doing a lot of tracking."

Since that inaugural year, The Tracker School's classes have grown by leaps and bounds, with thousands of students each year passing through its pro­gram. The school now holds classes in California and Florida, as well as New Jersey, and has a community-based non-profit entity, Children of the Earth Foundation, that offers programs to schools, community groups and organizations.

Happy 25th Anniversary Tracker School!

(Were you a student prior to 1980? If so, please send us your remembrances of those days. Mail them to True Tracks, c/o The Tracker School, PO Box 173, Asbury, N.J. 0880.; We may use some of your memories in a future edition of True Tracks).


Please see the Site Information & Copyright Page

This website has no official or informal connection to the Tracker School or Tom Brown Jr. whatsoever


True Tracks:    Winter-Spring 1994  •  Fall-Winter 1994  •  Summer-Fall 1995  •  Winter-Spring 1996  •  Summer-Fall 1996
Summer-Fall 1997  •  Fall 1998  •  Winter 1998  •   Fall 1999  •   Spring 1999  •   Summer 2000  •  Spring 2003  •  Fall 2003  •  Spring 2004

Tom Brown Jr.    Tracker School    Publications    The Tracker Magazine
True Tracks    Tracks of the Tracker    Mother Earth News

The material on this page is copyright © by the original author/artist/photographer. This website is created, maintained & copyright © by Walter Muma
Please respect this copyright and ask permission before using or saving any of the content of this page for any purpose

Thank you for visiting!