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You have found the HOME of Turtleman! Lebanon, Kentucky welcomes Turtleman fans!

You can meet Turtleman this March 1st, 2014 at the Turtleman Trek 5K! Turtleman will be at the Marion County Heritage Center (Home of the world’s only Turtleman exhibit) at 10 a.m. for a meet & greet, totally free of charge. This is your chance to meet the man in his own hometown and get a picture and autograph on your favorite Turtleman t-shirt!

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Ernie Brown, Jr, a.k.a. “The Turtleman,” was born and raised in neighboring Washington County, he’s called Lebanon, Kentucky his home for more than 20 years. Currently, Ernie stars in a reality television show, Call of the Wildman, on the Animal Planet network. His journey has been an interesting and exciting one, and we’re happy to share it with you.

When Ernie was a young boy of just 5 years of age, he found a copy of Rolling Stones Magazine. He proceeded to ask his grandparents how he could get on the cover of such a magazine. His goal from that point on was to find a talent unique enough to propel him to stardom. And he did just that.

At the age of 7, Ernie caught his first snapping turtle. It wasn’t about stardom at that point though; it was about need.  He needed to feed his family, and turtle meat would provide a nutritious meal. After perfecting his technique for over a decade, Ernie caught the biggest turtle of his life when he was 17. Weighing in at 55 lbs, Ernie nicknamed the creature “The Loch Ness Turtle.”

Over the years, Ernie has had numerous jobs, from working in a lumber yard or dairy farm to working construction jobs. Apparently catching turtles is much safer, because Ernie lost some of his teeth in a chainsaw accident, a few more in a vehicle accident, and even more in a construction-related explosion.

On the same day his ex-wife divorced him, Ernie’s home was robbed and his prized arrowhead collection stolen. Later that day, he set off on a unique journey of self-discovery. During a self-imposed six-month exile, Ernie lived in the woods near his home, acquainting himself with nature and wild animals as well as honing his survival skills.

In 2006, Ernie’s wish started to come true, as he was filmed catching turtles by the Kentucky Educational Television series Kentucky Afield. Later, the spot went viral on YouTube, with over 4 million views. By chance, Ernie met up with a group of executives from Sharp Entertainment and Animal Planet at a festival in West Virginia. Ernie was asked if he would be interested in doing a television show, and they rest, as they say, is history.

Filming for Call of the Wildman began in November 2010, and currently, Ernie is finishing up his second season of catching anything from turtles to snakes to raccoons.

In addition to his now famous catch phrase “Live Action,” Ernie has a distinct yell which he uses on the show, which is where the show’s title came from. Ernie says it’s an “Indian yell” and explains that he’s one quarter Shawnee and one quarter Cherokee. He concludes that he’s also one quarter Yankee/Union and one quarter Confederate.

The show is a unique one, revolving around the animal catching techniques of the Turtleman, and including real life friends Neal James, Squirrel Brady, Mule Man, handyman Jake Ison, and of course, Turtleman’s dog, Lolly. TurtleMom even makes an appearance every now and then. For more live action, go to http://turtleman.urnge.com . Get ya sum!!!!


  • Call of the Wildman was Animal Planet’s most popular show in the fourth quarter of 2011, with nearly 780,000 viewers
  • Ernie has become so popular, he has made guest appearances on The Tonight Show, Anderson Cooper 360, and The Today Show.
  • Neal James has written a song for The Turtleman, which he plays on his famous banjo at special events.
  • In 2009, Turtleman found his dog, Lolly, wandering the streets after a huge ice storm and rescued her. They’ve been together ever since.
  • Ernie still wants to be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

You can watch videos about The Turtleman on YouTube. 

Recently, the Marion County Heritage Center opened, featuring a special exhibit dedicated to Turtleman. Visitors can explore the life of Ernie Brown on Mondays through Fridays from 10 am – 4 pm, and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. The center is located at the  Historic Courthouse on West Main Street.

Purchase your own Home of  The Turtleman t-shirt online today.

Catch a glimpse of the hometown sites of the Call of the Wildman™ episodes on our very own Turtleman Trek! Kids will enjoy the Scavenger Hunt, and adults can find their way from site to site using the Turtleman Trek Itinerary. You’ll know you’ve arrived at your Turtleman-Trek destination when you find the following sign: