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Series / Call of the Wildman

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Call of the Wildman is a 2012 documentary series that airs on Animal Planet.

The show follows Kentucky celebrity Ernie "Turtleman" Brown Jr. as he goes about catching wild animals that have invaded people's homes and properties and then safely relocates them to the wild. As his nickname suggests, his specialty is turtles (usually snapping turtles), but he's also caught foxes, wild boars, snakes, and raccoons among other creatures. Oh, and did we mention he catches nearly all of these animals with his bare hands?

The show attracted criticism over allegations of animal mistreatment and that producers were staging scenes by planting captive-bred animals in locations for Turtleman to catch (including dumping venomous snakes in a public swimming pool).

Provides examples of:

  • Attack Its Weak Point: When Turtleman has to take down an emu that escaped its pen he's specifically told to jump it from the back avoid approaching the animal from the front since emus can use their incredibly long front claws to disembowel you — not that Turtleman listens, and ends up rugby tackling the thing and getting a (thankfully minor) slash on his torso for his trouble and a bloody lip.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: A lot of what Turtleman does would seem like this. His style of catching animals is very high energy and flamboyant and often leaves the viewers wondering why he didn't go with a simpler approach like trying to feed the animal.
    • Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that he doesn't want the viewers at home to think they can catch a wild animal with a handful of food. Wild animals are wild and dangerous no matter what.
    • Another reason is Turtleman's methods, while not as easy, are generally faster, and in many cases the property's owners are quite prepared to use lethal means if the problem isn't solved ASAP.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Even the Turtle Team gets nervous when they believe they might be dealing with a bear. Luckily it turns out to be a wild horse.
  • Berserk Button: Poachers. Turtleman is disgusted by them.
  • Big Applesauce: One episode has Neal & Turtleman regaling Turtlemom with tales of their trip to New York City (which was originally shown on the show's website as the "Turtleman Takes Manhattan" webisodes). The two visit several well-known NYC landmarks, including Central Park, the Diamond District, and Katz's Deli.
  • The Big Easy: A couple of episodes have taken place in New Orleans, as well as the surrounding swamps and bayous.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Mentioned now and then; Squirrel professes to believe in them, as well as the Skunk Ape.
    • See also the Crossover with Finding Bigfoot mentioned below.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Turtleman. Though he doesn't really fight, he does catch a wide variety of animals with his bare hands.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: Neal wrote a bluegrass song about Turtleman that pretty much fits this.
  • Canine Companion: Lolly Dog, whom Turtleman found wandering the streets in the dead of winter and took in.
  • Catchphrase: His signature rebel yell and 'Live Action!'
    • Also "that was almost a snap-snappy!" when an animal nearly bites him.
  • Christmas Episode: Call of the Wildman: Holler Day Cheer.
    • Another episode aired in December 2013 as part of Animal Planet's "Holiday Best Fest" Christmas promotion had Ernie and Neal recount their trip to New York City and present Turtlemom with a necklace they purchased for her there, all while trying to keep Turtlemom from serving them her infamous pineapple upside-down candy cake.
  • Cloudcuckoo Landers Minder: Neal is this to Turtleman, or at least tries to be and is only successful part of the time.
  • Cool Car: Technically it's a truck, but the turtlemobile has it's own measure of awesome to it.
  • Country Mouse: One episode featured Turtleman going to North Carolina, which was his first time on a plane and he expressed his apprehension about it. He was also dismayed to find out that he couldn't bring his knife Thunder on the plane with him because of TSA guidelines.
    • Played almost painfully straight when Turtleman visits New York City, with Neal running himself ragged trying to keep Ernie in check.
  • Crossover: Turtleman (along with cast members from other popular Animal Planet series) appeared on Puppy Bowl IX providing Reaction Shot cameos and commentary.
    • Turtleman and Neal made an appearance on a season premier of Finding Bigfoot with Ernie recalling an alleged Sasquatch encounter he had as a child and joining the members of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization on a night-time Sasquatch expedition. Renee and Bobo from Finding Bigfoot then appeared on a special episode of Call of the Wildman airing immediately afterward; Neal, Ernie, and Squirrel put their tracking skills to the test, tasking them with tracking down Ernie in the Kentucky woods.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Turtleman may come off as nothing more than a backwoods country bumpkin but that couldn't be any further from the truth. His knowledge from catching animals to natural cures is extensive, and he has no problem doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
  • Deep South / Hillbilly Horrors: Subverted. Turtleman is from the rural parts of Kentucky, but he's shown to be a genuinely nice guy and he's pretty well-educated on the various animals he encounters.
    • Likewise, one episode featured the group being nervous that they were tresspassing in someone else's territory. It turns out the people whose property they were invading (Turtleman was trying to rescue a raccoon from an abandoned car) were big Turtleman fans.
  • Do Not Try This at Home: A disclaimer at the start of each episode reminds the audience "Catching wild animals is dangerous. Doing so with your bare hands is just plain crazy. Don't try this at home".
  • Drive-In Theater: in one episode, a Rascally Raccoon has taken up residence in the local drive-in's snack bar and is helping itself to popcorn and chips. Turtleman chases it into the projection booth and catches it, then he and Neal watch the movie being shown that night from the Turtlemobile.
  • Everything is Big in Texas: Several episodes have had Turtleman & Neal travel to Texas to catch critters, Neal mentioning this trope almost verbatim when describing a huge diamondback rattlesnake They had to contend with.
  • Follow the Leader: Has been followed in late 2013 by Lone Star Legend, another Animal Planet series which is almost the same show, only with a different cast of characters and set in south Texas instead of the Kentucky backwoods.
  • Full-Boar Action: A couple of episodes had Turtleman and Neal travel to New Orleans and Texas to help catch some wild hogs that were running loose.
  • Halloween Episode: Call of the Wildman: Halloween Spooktacular.
  • I Call Her "Vera": Turtleman calls his knife Thunder, because it thunders open the jaws of an angry snapping turtle like nobody's business.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Turtleman has a tendency to do this, to Neal's exasperation, sometimes in the form of literally throwing himself into the water, but he's skilled enough that he (usually) makes the most of it.
  • Manchild: Turtleman occasionally comes off as this, with his constant hyperactivity and goofing off.
  • Meaningful Name: Turtleman is an expert at catching snapping turtles.
    • The same goes for the animals he's nicknamed. They've all either been named after where he caught them, or their behavior. For example, he nicknamed an opossum that was hiding in a chimney "Santa Claws".
    • His Bowie knife being called Thunder is because of the old wives tale about how if you're bitten by a snapping turtle, it won't let go until it thunders, and he uses it to pry open the mouths of snapping turtle.
  • The Nicknamer: Nearly every animal Turtleman has caught has been given a nickname.
    • The rest of the turtle team has gotten in on the act as well.
  • Only Sane Man: Neal often seems to have this mentality, complaining about how crazy and dangerous Turtleman's methods of catching animals are.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Justin Beaver and Bucky the Beaver. Both are relatively small compared to Turtleman and the rest of the crew, but they manage to drag Turtleman around with no problem.
  • Playing Possum: One episode demonstrates why this idiom exists when a literal possum tries this as Turtleman is trying to remove it from a house, and actually fools him into thinking it's hurt.
  • Pop-Up Trivia: Call of the Wildman: More Live Action; reruns of previous episodes with this trope added to them, as well as footage not shown in the original episodes.
  • Rascally Raccoon: Several episodes have featured raccoons invading peoples' homes, including an extremely rare albino raccoon.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Subverted. While he does point out that the snapping turtle's reputation for having a nasty bite is true, he also shows genuine care for them and is willing to rescue any turtle he can.
    • One episode even shows he uses a snake that lives near his home named Sir Lancelot as a natural way of getting rid of mice showing how beneficial they can be.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: One episode had the turtle team answer a call from two brothers running a cemetery, one of which carried a Colt Peacemaker on his hip. The possibility that the brother might use the pistol to deal with the animal if the turtle team failed to catch it serving as extra motivation for them to succeed.
  • Rube Goldberg Machine: Jake and Neal build an overly complex trap like something Wile E. Coyote would come up with when they think they're dealing with a bear.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Turtleman is able to figure out what kind of animal(s) he's dealing with just by studying clues left behind by the animal such as tracks, methods of entry/exit to an area, and whether there's anything left of any livestock or poultry it's attacked.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: One episode had Turtleman catching a skunk that was raiding beehives. He laid in wait for the skunk by hiding right between the hives loaded full of bees, and somehow managed not to get stung, even when he was yelling and raising havoc trying to catch the skunk when it showed up.
  • Semper Fi: One episode had Turtleman teaching a Marine how to catch snappers so he could keep them out of the pond where his children play.
  • Shout-Out: One job had Neal and Turtleman being called out to a motorcycle shop, the case being named "American Chompers".
  • Sick Episode: One episode had Turtleman out of commission with the flu, leaving the rest of the turtle team to handle a call without him.
  • Smelly Skunk: Turtleman's most hated type of nuisance call due to a childhood incident where he was sprayed by them.
    • Taken up to eleven on a couple of occasions where he's faced off against multiple skunks at once, in confined spaces, no less.
  • Special Guest: One episode had Turtleman & Neal travel to North Carolina to catch snappers out of a pond for NASCAR driver David Ragan. David even took Turtleman on a ride in his racecar as a reward.
    • A bit of an inversion in one episode; Turtleman got to throw the first pitch on opening day at the home field of the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Squirrels in My Pants: In one episode, Turtleman had a whole nest of rats fall on him when a weak spot in a ceiling gave way, several rats getting in his clothes.
    • Played even straighter in the Christmas Episode when Neal literally had a squirrel dart up his pant leg trying to get away from Turtleman.
    • Another episode had a pigeon get in Turtleman's coat when he was trying to remove a flock of said birds from the attic of an old courthouse being converted into a museum.
  • Stock "Yuck!": Turtlemon's pineapple upside-down candy cake, seen in the Christmas episodes, falls into this category as Ernie and the rest of the turtle team will avoid it like the plague.
  • Team Mom: Turtleman's mom Lola Brown (aka "Turtlemom") often plays to this when she's present in episodes.
  • Tempting Fate: In one episode, Neal was skeptical that the caretaker of Logan's Fort had actually seen a rattlesnake on the property. Neal was the one who ended up finding it, and it was indeed a real rattlesnake.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In one episode, a wild hog was getting into the trash of a barbecue restaurant. Lampshaded by Neal when he found out what the animal was.
  • Toothy Issue: Turtleman is missing several teeth in the front of his mouth, which according to him was the result of getting hit in the mouth while he was taking down a tree in his yard.
    • Neal has occasionally mentioned that he's missing several teeth as well, though it's nowhere near as readily apparent as with Turtleman.
  • Verbal Tic: Turtleman's signature rebel yell may qualify as he's always sounding off when excited.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Skunks?: While it doesn't stop him from catching them, Turtleman does not like having to deal with skunks due to a childhood incident that's left him afraid of being called to deal with them.