How Hollywood Made the Tracker Knife a Star

The Hunted

Before the action movie The Hunted hit the screens in 2003, many had never heard of Tom Brown Jr or his signature knife, The Tracker. Brown is an esteemed wilderness survival instructor and his experience teaching and assisting law enforcement agencies track down fugitives, missing persons, and prison escapees provided enough hair-raising possibilities to inspire a gripping Hollywood film.

Tommy Lee Jones’ character is tasked with apprehending a wanted man played by Benicio Del Toro whom he trained in Army Special Forces SERE School. The Hunted may have starred Academy Award Winners Jones and Del Toro but the Tracker Knife also received a lot of screen time – arguably more attention than any knife has ever received in a major motion picture.


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An early scene where Rangers, Special Forces, and SEALS learn how to make the Tracker Knife from scratch sets up the epic knife fight later in the film. The knife making training is followed by a sequence where Jones teaches students how to fight using what appears to be a KA-BAR bowie. Before he goes toe to toe with his teacher, Del Toro is seen making the Tracker knife which he then sheaths horizontally across the small of his back using the so-called scout carry method.

**YouTube Clip Contains SPOILERS**

The Hunted demonstrates what a movie can do for the popularity of a knife. The distinct shape of the Tracker caught the audience’s eye and sparked the momentum. Bark River Knives says they have difficulty keeping up with demand for their tracker. TOPS Knives says their Tom Brown Tracker continues to be one of their best selling models. They currently offer the Tracker in 3 different sizes, as well as a combo kit containing the largest of the three paired with the Tracker Scout. Also benefiting from The Hunted phenomenon is David R. Beck, who made the original Tracker for the movie. The sheer awareness gained from the film was unprecedented and made an otherwise unknown knife very popular overnight.

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