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Tom Brown's Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking Paperback – October 15, 1986

4.4 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tom Brown, Jr. began to learn hunting and tracking at the age of eight under the tutelage of an Apache elder, medicine man, and scout in Toms River, New Jersey, and is the author of 16 books on nature. Recently, he was the technical advisor on The Hunted, a major motion picture starring Tommy Lee Jones and Benecio Del Toro.   In 1978, Tom founded the Tracker School in the New Jersey Pine Barrens where he offers more than 25 classes about wilderness survival and environmental protection.
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Product Details

  • Series: Field Guide (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reissue edition (October 15, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425099660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425099667
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an unusual book in which hard core tracking tips are blended with instructions on cultivation of the inner silence. As opposed to other stories about tracking which border the domain of fiction (e.g., "The Way of the Scout"), Brown gives us in this Field Guide practical advice on reading animal tracks, constructing shelters etc. The tips on "Nature Observation" in this field guide are unsurpassed by any other tracking book I know. TB provides us with priceless descriptions of what happens the moment we enter the forest - that is, how the alarm signal spreads from the birds to mammals and how long it takes for it to subside. The forest he is talking about is a living entity, where everything is connected and where one can plug into the circuits of the information flow by learning to listen to the sounds, by studying the terrain and the wind and by knowing how to camouflage and mask one's smell. The book provides useful info on various types of walking/stalking in the woods. Finally, there is deep reverence for nature something which occurs when one has learnt to be silent amidst the whispering trees (no mean trick for the Westerner who tends to function through the head). Tom Brown has learnt the inner silence tricks from his Apache teacher ("the Grandfather") and trackers might find this book useful for learning more about Native American attitudes toward nature. A similar approach to nature is encountered in some of Paul Rezendes' books (which i also recommend). In short, this book will be useful to those who are interested in approaching nature on its own terms. It will inspire the beginners in tracking and complement knowledge of hard core SAR UTS trackers (:)
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By A Customer on September 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book guides you to a deeper communion and awareness of nature not possible through the ordinary outdoor pursuits most authors write about. Here you will learn the basics of camouflage, observation, and movement which opens the door to seeing more in the outdoors then you thought possible. After reading this book for the first time, I took Brown's advice and simply sat down in the woods. Within fifteen minutes a woodchuck came blithely walking by totally oblivious to my presence. That was more wildlife than I had seen on a dozen previous hikes or camping trips. It was the starting point of twenty years of exploration and discovery and the end of mindlessly walking along trails and missing everything along the way. In this book Brown takes you beyond the "veneer" most other tracking guides cover. He helps you learn how to age tracks, identify the animal's sex, and read the animal's movements and emotions from the shapes and forms found around the track. Brown teaches through stories and experiences that brings tracking to life. This is in stark contrast to the dull didactic recitation of measurements and readings most other books provide. If you ever wondered if Native Americans could really track like the Apache in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the answer is here because Brown learnt everything he knows from an Apache Native American. Are you tired of returning from long hikes or camping trips only to feel that you somehow missed something? then get this book and welcome to Tom Brown's incredible world of adventure and discovery. Keep one thing in mind however, this book is only the beginning. It's up to you to decide how far along this path you want to walk.
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Format: Paperback
I've read this book twice, and both times I've learned (and re-learned) to see and feel and experience more when I go outdoors, go camping, or take wilderness trips.

The book teaches a lot of good stuff about tracking, but its best material, I think, is its section on nature observation: on learning to have a wider range of vision, to see more peripherally, to be quieter, and to be more aware of one's surroundings.

"The tragedy in life is not what men suffer, but what they miss," Tom Brown quotes Thomas Carlyle as saying, and this book is all about helping you not to miss so much.

The book contains great advice and tips on building sweat lodges (to cleanse your body and mind and increase your awareness), on getting more out of your outdoor experiences,on getting closer to wild animals, and on letting the outdoors free life from its tensions.

The book is also full of little exercises designed to heighten your awareness.

My favorite is one where you use sticks to frame a single square foot of outdoor ground. Then you stare at it from a standing position, making note of everything within it: little rocks, a plant, a hole here or there. Then you kneel down and study it from that level: all of a sudden you can see mouse pellets, tiny bugs, and seed husks around the holes on the ground. Then you get down on your stomach and put your face right up to it: suddenly you can see where beetles have nibbled the plant's leaves, you can see the footprints of mice, and you can see the holes are deep, and wider than you'd thought. Then, after about an hour of fascinated scrutiny, you stand up, and the square foot, and all the ground around it seems to pop and buckle, as the realization of how much was all around begins to hit you.
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