Biography of the Ernie Brown Jr. (Turtleman)Edit
Ernie Brown Jr. was born and raised in Kentucky. Sometime later, he and his parents, Ernie Brown, Sr. and Lola Brown, relocated to Marion County.Template:Citation needed Brown told entertainment website The Frisky that, when he was 5 years old, he saw a copy of Rolling Stone laying on a table and asked his grandparents what someone had to do to get on the cover of the magazine. From that moment, he began trying to develop a talent that would render him worthy of appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone.
At age 7, Brown caught his first snapping turtle in order to help feed his impoverished family. He removed the Template:Convert animal from a pond using a bare-handed technique taught to him by his father and his uncle. In 2008, he described the technique to a reporter: "Look for [air] bubble trails, dive on top of them, and it's a tug of war from there." While searching ponds for turtles, he fully extends his arm, holds his hand with the index and pinkie fingers extended and the second and third fingers clenched, and peers through the space between the extended fingers; he says this helps him locate and follow the bubble trails.
At age 17, Brown caught the largest turtle of his life; it weighed almost Template:Convert, and Brown nicknamed it "The Loch Ness Turtle" (an allusion to Scotland's famous Loch Ness Monster). In addition to rescuing animals, Brown simulatenously worked in several blue-collar occupations including work at a lumber yard, a dairy farm, and various construction sites. He explains that he lost some of his teeth in a chainsaw accident, more when he broke his jaw in a vehicle wreck, and some more in a construction-related explosion. His wife, Debbie, left him following these accidents. He told The Frisky, "She told me 'I’m not being married any longer to a guy that’s got no teeth.' I didn’t take her seriously, but evidently she was serious." Debbie has custody of their two children, daughters Courtney and Megan, and Brown maintains a cordial relationship with them.
On the same day that his wife left him, Brown's house was robbed of all his money and his arrowhead collection. Later that day, he began a six-month, self-imposed exile in the woods near his home. "Everyone thought I died in a pond catching turtles," he said. During this time, he familiarized himself with the behaviors of wild animals and honed his survival skills.
Despite his "Turtleman" nickname, Brown catches all types of nuisance animals, including raccoons, skunks, snakes, venomous spiders, and possums. His animal catching technique is designed to protect both himself and the animal from harm. Once he captures an animal, he relocates it to a safer location in the wild. For his services, he typically only receives an amount sufficient to cover the cost of gasoline to drive to and from his destination.
In each episode of Call of the Wildman, Brown is accompanied by his best friend, Neal James, and his dog, Lolly. James serves as the secretary for Brown's business, fielding telephone calls from individuals in need of his services. Lolly has been Brown's pet ever since he rescued her from wandering the streets in the aftermath of a 2009 ice storm. He doesn't know her exact breed, but he believes her to be part Border Collie and part Australian Cattle Dog. Some episodes also feature other friends who help Brown – the so-called "Turtle Team" – including handyman Jake Ison and David "Squirrel" Brady.
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