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Bourjaily: K-9 G.P.S.

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December 17, 2008

Bourjaily: K-9 G.P.S.

By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily

I first saw the Garmin Astro in action last week. A friend and I were hunting pheasants in some long grass when Scott’s dog went on point. Even when he’s locked up tight, Gunner’s tail wags, and I could see it vibrating in the weeds about 30 yards away. “Scott, your dog’s on point,” I said. Scott pulled a gizmo from his pocket, studied it, and said, “No, he’s sitting.”

“I can see him pointing.

“No, it says he’s sitting 32 yards to the southeast.”

A hen flushed out from under Gunner’s nose, ending the argument.

What Scott was looking at was the receiver from his Astro, a GPS unit made by Garmin that goes on a dog’s collar. It tells you how far away the dog is, and in which direction. Little dog icons on the screen tell you what he’s doing: sitting, pointing, running, or treeing.  The Astro helps hunters locate dogs on point in thick brush, and, more important, it can help find lost dogs. Having once lost a dog in heavy grouse cover and worried all night and finally found him the next day, I can totally see the appeal of the Astro. I’m sure Sam was never far away, and with an Astro I could have tracked him down in a few minutes. On the other, any technology with the potential to turn hunting into a hand-held video game seems, at best, questionable. The answer is probably to keep the thing in your pocket until you absolutely need it, but that’s easier said than done. I am conflicted, and therefore in need of your opinions. Click here to see the Astro for yourself.

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from turkeyhuntertoo wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

To you so called "traditionalist". Do you all use handmade bows and arrows? I doubt it. Technology introduced compound bows, guns, crossbows, etc. I'm sure you appreciate those advances. Using technology to keep up with a prized dog is no different. It doesn't make one less of a hunter to care for his dog. Occasionally, even the best of dogs get confused and lost. Using technology to help find them only makes sense. It doesn't help much with bagging your game. So lighten up. If you don't want to use it, don't. The problem with the world is if "you" don't approve of "it" it's wrong. I personally won't be caring what you think. I'll be hunting my way.

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from smf wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

I hope folks won't use these toys as a substitiute for dog training. Money spent on gadgets often doesn't give you great returns. I understand why a houndsman may use these sorts of devices, any other use is a little tougher for me to justify.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Bourjaily, does the K-9 G.P.S. come in kid sizes to?

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from buckstopper wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

to all traditionist:I say again if its your thing to go without technogadgets- kudos to you and you fieldcraft. Some of us who have disire to be in the field but less time to do so and can afford it will use technology to our advantage where it is legal to do so. If you have a finely trained dog that minds well, that's great, your good. sometimes depending on where you are hunting, tracking devices would be handy. I've seen dogs chase a deer until they can't go no more. Does that make him a good dog or you a good trainer, maybe not, but you got to try em out somewhere and somehow. I would want my pet back regardless. You know that a dog is man's friend. one way to prove that is....lock your wife and your dog in the car trunk for an hour and see which one is glad to see you when you let them out.

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from Jeremy Jones wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

I have not used GPS collars on my beagles. I use radio collars. The receiver stays in the truck though. They come in handy if you have a young hound get confused and start chasing the long legged rabbits(deer). Beagles that have chased deer in the past are like alcoholics. In my opinion they are never cured completely. The radio collars make it a lot easier to locate the trash chasing hound before it gets run over, shot, stolen, or attacked by coyotes. I don't see anything wrong with someone using new technology to help find a major investment, both in money and very expensive time, and correct the problem.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Phillip, dartwick;Nobody's putting down traditional hunting methods (no collars), nor have criticized others that I see on this blog, but many guys have lost their dog and grieve over it, myself included. I felt like I lost a family member, which I did. Whats wrong with other points of view and how to solve it?

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from dartwick wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

del said"It is amazing the number of hunters that are quik to criticize another fellows hunting methods."There is nothing wrong with drawing lines.If you want to defend something thats fine - make a case.Even just state your ambivalence thats alright.But you have no business telling me that everything done in the name of hunting is cool and I should accept it.

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from rocky Mtn Hunter wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Tommy Nash: I thught that gissmo was called a Wife?????at least with the electronic things, they do have a on off switch. Who-ever invented them (wives) needs to be shot.

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from Michael wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Jeeezus!!!!What happened to bells on their collars and a whistle?Technology is only as good as the idiot using it.

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from Visitor wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Sue B,You said it well. There are no mountains in Kansas but we do have plenty of high cover that a dog can disappear in, go on point and you can't locate the dog.

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from rj wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I think this is a little much. Why not put the darn thing on your captive bred birds, then you won't need the dogs!!!!!They are using them on wolves and bears, why not collar every living wild animal, then you can use your gizmos to track them, shoot them from 3000yrds, then the government can regester and tax your kill(auto-deducting it from your bank account)in real time!Progress!!!!!

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from buckstopper wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

One of the smartest statements ever made in the movies was by Burt Reynolds in SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. He said "How smart you are depends on which part of the country you are in at the time."So it goes in hunting. What works out West, won't work in the South and vice versa. Does anyone hunt ducks in standing flooded timber out west....just curious.

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from DavidS wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

i guess i would not buy one, mostly due to the cost. i could buy at least 2 dogs and train them for less that this toy. my dogs dont have to have a peice of paper, so i dont pay hundreds of dollars for them. while it would be nice just for retrieving the dog, i am not much on "vidio technology". i would like to have a gps, for storing hunting spots, and finding my way out if i got lost. but for me, these toys have a limited appeal. being 50+ probably does not help companies like garmin much. my kids might be a different story. but unless the cost comes down considerably, i will not be buying one of these!

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from dartwick wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Finding a lost fog - very coolHelping you get the bird - extremely uncool

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from Zermoid wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

GPS to find the dog if you lose track of him sounds like a good idea in it's self but trying to tell you if he's sitting or pointing or whatever is overkill. And I don't see how it can be reliable as to what he's doing anyway.Would also be a good way to find out where your friend who won't tell you where he hunts actually goes! Slip the thing in the back of his truck!

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from Cliff B wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Yes it could easily be another intrusion into our sense of true 'woodmanship' but can be a 'dog and time saver'. Years ago hunting bears with hounds we lost a prize 'strike'dog for a day. [She turned up at camp the next day]. This device may have saved alot of time and anxiety.

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from Sue B wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I can see some real benefits in the Garmin Astro. I have two GSPs. I trust that they will stay on point, so if they have a big range, that's great. It's ground that I don't have to cover on foot unless they find a bird. The problem is that when the cover is so thick that I can't see my dogs, then I don't even know they are on point. If my dog is doing his job and has found birds, then I want to make sure that I can hold my end of the bargain and go flush the bird for him and hopefully shoot it. Anyone who has used a beeper collar already knows the drawback there. The Garmin Astro sounds like a good replacement for beeper collars that never really do the job well.The second benefit I see is that it could be a great training tool. If the Astro says my dog is on point, but then it tells me he moved and then I see birds go up in the area, then I know my dog broke on those birds. This would allow me to quickly apply a correction to the dog with his e-collar. I heard the newer models provide quicker feedback which would be beneficial in these circumstances.Finally, I love my dogs and I sure have put a lot of money in to them. Some of the country I hunt is big country. There is always a slim chance of your dog getting separated from you. In the mountains where I hunt, there is some terrain that is dangerous. The Astro is peace of mind and a great tool in case the worse situation happened.I'm all for keeping hunting simple and leaving my computer at home, but with as much time and money that I've already invested in my dogs, I think a Garmin Astro would have its benefits.

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from mitch wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Years ago I was hunting in SD it was getting toward the end of the day. Gray ominous clouds had been moving in all afternoon and the wind was really beginning to blow and I heard Jake's beeper collar signaling a point and I looked at my watch 1/2 hour to end of hunting I started trying to locate the dog in the 4' high grass I kept loosing the sound and then regaining it and couldn't establish a direction because of the noise the wind was making. Finally after 22 minutes I found Jake still on point. The only thing that moved were his eyes and they asked - where were you? I moved to the front flushed and shot a long-tailed, long spur rooster. He gathered up the bird and delivered to hand and we headed for the truck. That night a blizzard moved in and I've often thought what would have happened if I hadn't been able to find the dog. There was over 24" of snow on the ground the next morning and temps. were in the single digits. That convinced me of the importance of a GPS. It stays in my pocket until I need it. I could have lost a dog and if it had gotten to dark I may have been lost as well because by the time we got back to the truck you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I think any spitwad that would steal a man's dog deserves the end of a short rope in a tall tree. There is no price tag on my dogs. My Lab is a bit apprehensive and somewhat aggressive with strangers, so I don't think someone could load him up in a hurry.If a man needs a GPS to keep his dog then it is fine by me. Using it to actually hunt is not legal in many places and certainly not sporting in my book. Get a Playstation or XBox.

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from Z41 wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Since we are going to more and more pen raised birds at preserves it seems only logical that the next step is to put the GPS on the bird not the dog. Think of it - turn on the unit and walk to the bird, shoot it and walk to the body to pick it up. Do away with dogs, dogfood, dog cages. The time you spent dog training you can now use to focus on your naked canadian calander - looking up next hunting season. Plus, get this kicker, if you miss the bird you will know right where to go to kick it up again.Yup, by golly, this technology is wonderful.

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from jack wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

When facing such puzzling issues, I wonder: "What would Dad do?" He was in the brokerage business. When computers were introduced into the workplace, he would do his accounting on the computer and then check it on his greenbar paper with a machine calculator and a pencil.From this, I deduce that Dad would put any gizmo in the truck and forget about it.

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from nunyabinis wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I purchased an Astro and "installed" it on a 1.5 year old Bluetick Coonhound. I don't let her out of the kennel without it.Recently she caught wind of a deer and took off. She got 997 yards away quicker that you can say BOO so I took off in hot pursuit using the Astro to track her down.I was skeptical before I bought this contraption but now I wouldn't trade it for anything because you see, I love my Astro..... but I love that Bluetick a helluva lot more.

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from nunyabinis wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I bought an Astro and "installed" is on a 1.5 year old Bluetick Coonhound. I don't let her out of the kennel without it. Recently she got wind of a deer and took off. She got 997 yards away before you can say Boo!!! So I took off in hot pursuit and tracked her down with the Astro.I was skeptical before I bought this contraption but now I wouldn't trade it for anything because you see, I love my Astro..... but I love that Bluetick a helluva lot more.

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from sarg wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Reminds me of the time, while bird hunting in some kind of swamp in Wis., my friend Randy and some otheres decideed to go back to the truck. Randy told them the truck was one way but they wanted to go another. They didn't know Randy had his GPS so he told them to go anyway they wanted to but he was going in a certain direction. Gripping, they followed him right to truck.. I would have liked to have one of the gizmos when I was bird hunting, but a good bird dog should stay pretty close, not like dogs used to hunt cats or hogs, but thats another post. Merry Christmas to all..

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from Visitor wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Being a traditionalist, I hate the idea of a GPS attached to my dog - and esp the feature that tells you he's sitting, pointing, scratching his ass - or whatever. I am 73 and have had bird dogs all my life and hunted them all with a loud brass bell. Virtually every one went deaf in his old age. I have often wondered if those clanging bells had something to do with that - along with a lot of loud shotgun reports from the shooting, obviously. I now use an e-collar with a locate caller on it and it works wonderfully. I have taped-off the electrodes and hunt my Brit silent on grouse, hitting the locate button every so often to keep track of him. Like most good dogs, he ranges according to the plentitude of the birds so when they are scarce and he's out a ways, I'll turn the call feature on - on a low setting - and it works great. Some folks may miss the sound of the tinkling bell in the uplands but I am one old traditionalist who would cast a vote for technology. My Brit is more than just a valuable bird dog - he's my friend and constant companion and losing him, as I did a few seasons back - for 24 hours - would be a heartbreak beyond words.

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from Del in KS wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

As stated the dog collar sounds good to me. That said I have never used or owned a GPS and I live within 3 miles of Garmin's HQ no less. Learned to read a map and use a compass in the Army. Also did a stint on the Ft. Benning Orienteering team years ago. Most of the time I use sun, shadows, wind direction and terrain features to find my way. You really only need a compass in flat terrain where you can't see far on cloudy days. Think swamp or boreal forest. You can sure get lost in AK or Canada tho I never did. When I was in AK a WWII airplane crash site was found on Kodiak. Long lost bodies ID'd and jewelry recovered after 40-50 yr. Once heard there's still over 100 missing aircraft in AK. But I digress. Point is if you need it and it isn't illegal go for it. The thing might save your or someone else's life.It is amazing the number of hunters that are quik to criticize another fellows hunting methods. Nobody is forcing their way on you. I do use and like rangefinders. They help folks make accurate shots that reduce wounded animals. Try being a little more tolerant of other hunters. They make better friends than the PETA crowd.

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from Kevin wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I use my GPS to find my stand it the dark. That's it. The rest of the hunting is blued steel only.

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from brian wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I personally cant stand the ATV, GPS, fat guy hunting the food plot scene,, throw that stuff away and learn to hunt

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from Phillip wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

What gripes me is people who don't know jack about other commenters making comments about them.I'll say it again. If you can't keep track of your bird dog without the aid of Global Positioning Systems, then you have a problem technology won't solve.

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from Turkey Hunter wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I use it turkey hunting with two wide rangeing dogs. Works great in keeping up with 2 at one time. They range out to 1/4 mi plus. They check back, but at least I know the direction they are in. Lost a friends dog earlier this year. He had one of my collars. We watched him for over a mile on the GPS, saw where he was going and intercepted him (he was chasing a deer). Turkey dogs are very much in demand in our area (Va) and a good one is hard to come by. Will go to a lot of expense (and technology to keep one).

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from Carney wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I don't hunt with dogs but have a little experience with GPS -- all negative. Initially I was excited about a new compass kind of device but the early models really didn't like trees. The guy I was with spent most of the scouting trip trying to get the thing to work. The next generations were supposed to take advantage of more satellites and thus be more dependable but subsequent excursions into the woods were just as frustrating. I finally decided to forget the whole thing when a friend proudly displayed the GPS on his new boat. It had all of the maps downloaded, etc., etc. When we went out on the water it showed us plowing along a half mile outside of the river on dry land. Probably a simple adjustement but if he couldn't figure it out and get it set up right, what makes a fellow so certain that it could be done better and be more dependable?

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from Del in KS wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

This is a very good idea. You only have to lose one $2500 dog to see the value in it. Also when ol' Buck goes on point he may be in weeds that are higher than my head. Can't see him and he won't leave the bird. My friend Billy had a fine young German Shorthaired Pointer stolen 3 yr ago. The battery in his training collar had died and he ran to some other hunters accross the field when they fired shots. They loaded him up and left. There was no way we could chase the bastards. Truck was half mile away.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

It's one thing to disregard technology for yourself, just so you can have peace in the woods, but admit it you'd do anything for your dog and to get him/her back.

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from Brian T wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Good. Fine. Technology is here to stay (away from) on a hunt. If I had a GPS, it would be a backup to my Brunton Eclipse compass. Plus, GPS doesn't work worth a darn in steep-sided mountain valleys.

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from buckstopper wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I see it mainly as a time saver. Like or not technology is here to stay. With the cost and time put into rearing and training a dog it seem wise to protect your investment. If you are retired and/or not into gadgets, thats fine, you should enjoy your time in the field. To those of us who still have to earn a living, time is the most precious thing. Any gadget that would save half a day hunting birds or finding your dog or makes the difference between a sucessful hunt or chasing a wounded animal is ok in my book. BTW I always keep a good old-fashioned compass as a back up to my GPS.

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Just more crap to complicate my already semi-tolerable relationship with high tech devices that are swarming us like a rabid hive of killer bees... my dad and I lost our beloved English Springer Spaniel on a quail hunt more than fifty miles away. She was home in a week, a bit on the thin side but no worse for the wear and tear.Overpriced, unreliable electronic gizmo's that I have absolutely no need for. No GPS, no trail cams, no cell phones in the woods, no rangefinders. They are destroying what hunting used to be all about. Woodsman ship earned the hard way by spending years in the wilderness with nothing but a knife, gun, and compass and becoming one with nature. Listening to the sounds of nature and finding the sign of your prey and knowing where you are without any high dollar high tech crap that is useless and makes you a victim the moment the batteries fail or you fall in a creek and they short out.

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Just more crap to complicate my already semi-tolerable relationship with high tech devices that are swarming us like a rabid hive of killer bees... my dad and I lost our beloved English Springer Spaniel on a quail hunt more than fifty miles away. She was home in a week, a bit on the thin side but no worse for the wear and tear.Overpriced, unreliable electronic gizmo's that I have absolutely no need for. No GPS, no trail cams, no cell phones in the woods, no rangefinders. They are destroying what hunting used to be all about. Woodsman ship earned the hard way by spending years in the wilderness with nothing but a knife, gun, and compass and becoming one with nature. Listening to the sounds of nature and finding the sign of your prey and knowing where you are without any high dollar high tech crap that is useless and makes you a victim the moment the batteries fail or you fall in a creek and they short out.

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from OrangeNeckInNY wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Yeah, would work better as a part of your car/truck/atv. Sort of like your own personal Lo-Jack system.

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from Steve C wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

A GPS on a dog. And just when I think the sport of hunting can't sink any further.

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from Mike wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I like them ... but, apparently, the feature that says whether the dog is sitting or pointing is a bit much. Had to laugh ... or was that a smirk? Perhaps it was a smirky laugh.Next, to train the dog to use it to find it's owner. Let's see ... watch the location of the dog on the GPS then send a signal to come. From there, a short beep to bear right. A long beep to bear left. Could be a bit confusing when he gets to a ravine he can't cross ... that is, on a unit without the built in topo map and optional satellite view. Ahh, technology ... to make life easier and add to our girth.

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from Jeff Green wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I really like the concept, I hope it works as good as they say. My entire day job revolves around computers and other electronic technology also but, if it will make my live better I’m all for it.What really grips me is people that don’t know jack about dogs making comments about them. It doesn’t take long at all for a good hunting dog to get out of range. Hunting heavy cover or on a 300 yard track for a crippled bird, it happens.As soon as I can get the cash I will have one. In the mean time all comments from people that have actually used them are very welcome.

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from Scrap5000 wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

In case of emergency it would be a God Send. I read of one hunter whose dog had been stolen, and he tracked it down to the car on the highway that was driving with it in the back!

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from ChuckT wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

A friend temporarily lost his Shorthair in a cornfield in South Dakota in October. It picked up a pheasants' scent and was gone into the abyss of corn for over an hour. There was so much corn (it was too wet to cut) that I didn't think his dog would ever come back. His dog is going to be a good one, but it was young and inexperienced. I think the GPS would be perfect for this situation, but I agree with TommyNash: Just in case of emergency.

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from John wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Ok, I work in the field of computers and technology and I go hunting to get away from computers and technology.

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from Phillip wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Doesn't make a lot of sense to me for a bird dog. If your dog ranges so far away that you need a GPS to find it, you have bigger problems than a video game fixation.I could see it on chase animals. Most of the hound hunts I've been on turn into an actual hunt for the hounds after a few hours. Gadgets for this already exist, although in some states like CA, GPS units are illegal (radio telemetry is OK, though... go figure).There's a great unit out from a German company now that transmits the GPS coordinates straight to your cell phone, by the way.I don't see it as an encroachment on the hunt at all. Just another tool which, like any tool, can be misused.

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from Jeff4066 wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Okay... but what's the range on this?If I go on a hunting expedition like my last one, I'll turn it on and throw it on the car seat."No, fool, the car is THAT way!"

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from jersey pig wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

i kind of agree with the above statement about technological encrouchment. however, having some experience with the time and effort into training a good birddog there is no way in hell i would chance losing one. so if i was going to hunt him in thick cover over wide area i would love one of these gadgets.

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from TommyNash wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I hate these types of things. I like to get out in the woods or a field to get away from the grips of technology. In the pocket in case of emergency, maybe like a phone, I guess would be okay. At some point you'll never have to leave the couch and a gadget will live your life for you.

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from turkeyhuntertoo wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

To you so called "traditionalist". Do you all use handmade bows and arrows? I doubt it. Technology introduced compound bows, guns, crossbows, etc. I'm sure you appreciate those advances. Using technology to keep up with a prized dog is no different. It doesn't make one less of a hunter to care for his dog. Occasionally, even the best of dogs get confused and lost. Using technology to help find them only makes sense. It doesn't help much with bagging your game. So lighten up. If you don't want to use it, don't. The problem with the world is if "you" don't approve of "it" it's wrong. I personally won't be caring what you think. I'll be hunting my way.

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from smf wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

I hope folks won't use these toys as a substitiute for dog training. Money spent on gadgets often doesn't give you great returns. I understand why a houndsman may use these sorts of devices, any other use is a little tougher for me to justify.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Bourjaily, does the K-9 G.P.S. come in kid sizes to?

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from buckstopper wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

to all traditionist:I say again if its your thing to go without technogadgets- kudos to you and you fieldcraft. Some of us who have disire to be in the field but less time to do so and can afford it will use technology to our advantage where it is legal to do so. If you have a finely trained dog that minds well, that's great, your good. sometimes depending on where you are hunting, tracking devices would be handy. I've seen dogs chase a deer until they can't go no more. Does that make him a good dog or you a good trainer, maybe not, but you got to try em out somewhere and somehow. I would want my pet back regardless. You know that a dog is man's friend. one way to prove that is....lock your wife and your dog in the car trunk for an hour and see which one is glad to see you when you let them out.

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from Jeremy Jones wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

I have not used GPS collars on my beagles. I use radio collars. The receiver stays in the truck though. They come in handy if you have a young hound get confused and start chasing the long legged rabbits(deer). Beagles that have chased deer in the past are like alcoholics. In my opinion they are never cured completely. The radio collars make it a lot easier to locate the trash chasing hound before it gets run over, shot, stolen, or attacked by coyotes. I don't see anything wrong with someone using new technology to help find a major investment, both in money and very expensive time, and correct the problem.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Phillip, dartwick;Nobody's putting down traditional hunting methods (no collars), nor have criticized others that I see on this blog, but many guys have lost their dog and grieve over it, myself included. I felt like I lost a family member, which I did. Whats wrong with other points of view and how to solve it?

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from dartwick wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

del said"It is amazing the number of hunters that are quik to criticize another fellows hunting methods."There is nothing wrong with drawing lines.If you want to defend something thats fine - make a case.Even just state your ambivalence thats alright.But you have no business telling me that everything done in the name of hunting is cool and I should accept it.

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from rocky Mtn Hunter wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Tommy Nash: I thught that gissmo was called a Wife?????at least with the electronic things, they do have a on off switch. Who-ever invented them (wives) needs to be shot.

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from Michael wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Jeeezus!!!!What happened to bells on their collars and a whistle?Technology is only as good as the idiot using it.

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from Visitor wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Sue B,You said it well. There are no mountains in Kansas but we do have plenty of high cover that a dog can disappear in, go on point and you can't locate the dog.

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from rj wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I think this is a little much. Why not put the darn thing on your captive bred birds, then you won't need the dogs!!!!!They are using them on wolves and bears, why not collar every living wild animal, then you can use your gizmos to track them, shoot them from 3000yrds, then the government can regester and tax your kill(auto-deducting it from your bank account)in real time!Progress!!!!!

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from buckstopper wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

One of the smartest statements ever made in the movies was by Burt Reynolds in SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. He said "How smart you are depends on which part of the country you are in at the time."So it goes in hunting. What works out West, won't work in the South and vice versa. Does anyone hunt ducks in standing flooded timber out west....just curious.

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from DavidS wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

i guess i would not buy one, mostly due to the cost. i could buy at least 2 dogs and train them for less that this toy. my dogs dont have to have a peice of paper, so i dont pay hundreds of dollars for them. while it would be nice just for retrieving the dog, i am not much on "vidio technology". i would like to have a gps, for storing hunting spots, and finding my way out if i got lost. but for me, these toys have a limited appeal. being 50+ probably does not help companies like garmin much. my kids might be a different story. but unless the cost comes down considerably, i will not be buying one of these!

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from dartwick wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Finding a lost fog - very coolHelping you get the bird - extremely uncool

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from Zermoid wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

GPS to find the dog if you lose track of him sounds like a good idea in it's self but trying to tell you if he's sitting or pointing or whatever is overkill. And I don't see how it can be reliable as to what he's doing anyway.Would also be a good way to find out where your friend who won't tell you where he hunts actually goes! Slip the thing in the back of his truck!

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from Cliff B wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Yes it could easily be another intrusion into our sense of true 'woodmanship' but can be a 'dog and time saver'. Years ago hunting bears with hounds we lost a prize 'strike'dog for a day. [She turned up at camp the next day]. This device may have saved alot of time and anxiety.

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from Sue B wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I can see some real benefits in the Garmin Astro. I have two GSPs. I trust that they will stay on point, so if they have a big range, that's great. It's ground that I don't have to cover on foot unless they find a bird. The problem is that when the cover is so thick that I can't see my dogs, then I don't even know they are on point. If my dog is doing his job and has found birds, then I want to make sure that I can hold my end of the bargain and go flush the bird for him and hopefully shoot it. Anyone who has used a beeper collar already knows the drawback there. The Garmin Astro sounds like a good replacement for beeper collars that never really do the job well.The second benefit I see is that it could be a great training tool. If the Astro says my dog is on point, but then it tells me he moved and then I see birds go up in the area, then I know my dog broke on those birds. This would allow me to quickly apply a correction to the dog with his e-collar. I heard the newer models provide quicker feedback which would be beneficial in these circumstances.Finally, I love my dogs and I sure have put a lot of money in to them. Some of the country I hunt is big country. There is always a slim chance of your dog getting separated from you. In the mountains where I hunt, there is some terrain that is dangerous. The Astro is peace of mind and a great tool in case the worse situation happened.I'm all for keeping hunting simple and leaving my computer at home, but with as much time and money that I've already invested in my dogs, I think a Garmin Astro would have its benefits.

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from mitch wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Years ago I was hunting in SD it was getting toward the end of the day. Gray ominous clouds had been moving in all afternoon and the wind was really beginning to blow and I heard Jake's beeper collar signaling a point and I looked at my watch 1/2 hour to end of hunting I started trying to locate the dog in the 4' high grass I kept loosing the sound and then regaining it and couldn't establish a direction because of the noise the wind was making. Finally after 22 minutes I found Jake still on point. The only thing that moved were his eyes and they asked - where were you? I moved to the front flushed and shot a long-tailed, long spur rooster. He gathered up the bird and delivered to hand and we headed for the truck. That night a blizzard moved in and I've often thought what would have happened if I hadn't been able to find the dog. There was over 24" of snow on the ground the next morning and temps. were in the single digits. That convinced me of the importance of a GPS. It stays in my pocket until I need it. I could have lost a dog and if it had gotten to dark I may have been lost as well because by the time we got back to the truck you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I think any spitwad that would steal a man's dog deserves the end of a short rope in a tall tree. There is no price tag on my dogs. My Lab is a bit apprehensive and somewhat aggressive with strangers, so I don't think someone could load him up in a hurry.If a man needs a GPS to keep his dog then it is fine by me. Using it to actually hunt is not legal in many places and certainly not sporting in my book. Get a Playstation or XBox.

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from Z41 wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Since we are going to more and more pen raised birds at preserves it seems only logical that the next step is to put the GPS on the bird not the dog. Think of it - turn on the unit and walk to the bird, shoot it and walk to the body to pick it up. Do away with dogs, dogfood, dog cages. The time you spent dog training you can now use to focus on your naked canadian calander - looking up next hunting season. Plus, get this kicker, if you miss the bird you will know right where to go to kick it up again.Yup, by golly, this technology is wonderful.

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from jack wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

When facing such puzzling issues, I wonder: "What would Dad do?" He was in the brokerage business. When computers were introduced into the workplace, he would do his accounting on the computer and then check it on his greenbar paper with a machine calculator and a pencil.From this, I deduce that Dad would put any gizmo in the truck and forget about it.

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from nunyabinis wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I purchased an Astro and "installed" it on a 1.5 year old Bluetick Coonhound. I don't let her out of the kennel without it.Recently she caught wind of a deer and took off. She got 997 yards away quicker that you can say BOO so I took off in hot pursuit using the Astro to track her down.I was skeptical before I bought this contraption but now I wouldn't trade it for anything because you see, I love my Astro..... but I love that Bluetick a helluva lot more.

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from nunyabinis wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I bought an Astro and "installed" is on a 1.5 year old Bluetick Coonhound. I don't let her out of the kennel without it. Recently she got wind of a deer and took off. She got 997 yards away before you can say Boo!!! So I took off in hot pursuit and tracked her down with the Astro.I was skeptical before I bought this contraption but now I wouldn't trade it for anything because you see, I love my Astro..... but I love that Bluetick a helluva lot more.

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from sarg wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Reminds me of the time, while bird hunting in some kind of swamp in Wis., my friend Randy and some otheres decideed to go back to the truck. Randy told them the truck was one way but they wanted to go another. They didn't know Randy had his GPS so he told them to go anyway they wanted to but he was going in a certain direction. Gripping, they followed him right to truck.. I would have liked to have one of the gizmos when I was bird hunting, but a good bird dog should stay pretty close, not like dogs used to hunt cats or hogs, but thats another post. Merry Christmas to all..

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from Visitor wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Being a traditionalist, I hate the idea of a GPS attached to my dog - and esp the feature that tells you he's sitting, pointing, scratching his ass - or whatever. I am 73 and have had bird dogs all my life and hunted them all with a loud brass bell. Virtually every one went deaf in his old age. I have often wondered if those clanging bells had something to do with that - along with a lot of loud shotgun reports from the shooting, obviously. I now use an e-collar with a locate caller on it and it works wonderfully. I have taped-off the electrodes and hunt my Brit silent on grouse, hitting the locate button every so often to keep track of him. Like most good dogs, he ranges according to the plentitude of the birds so when they are scarce and he's out a ways, I'll turn the call feature on - on a low setting - and it works great. Some folks may miss the sound of the tinkling bell in the uplands but I am one old traditionalist who would cast a vote for technology. My Brit is more than just a valuable bird dog - he's my friend and constant companion and losing him, as I did a few seasons back - for 24 hours - would be a heartbreak beyond words.

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from Del in KS wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

As stated the dog collar sounds good to me. That said I have never used or owned a GPS and I live within 3 miles of Garmin's HQ no less. Learned to read a map and use a compass in the Army. Also did a stint on the Ft. Benning Orienteering team years ago. Most of the time I use sun, shadows, wind direction and terrain features to find my way. You really only need a compass in flat terrain where you can't see far on cloudy days. Think swamp or boreal forest. You can sure get lost in AK or Canada tho I never did. When I was in AK a WWII airplane crash site was found on Kodiak. Long lost bodies ID'd and jewelry recovered after 40-50 yr. Once heard there's still over 100 missing aircraft in AK. But I digress. Point is if you need it and it isn't illegal go for it. The thing might save your or someone else's life.It is amazing the number of hunters that are quik to criticize another fellows hunting methods. Nobody is forcing their way on you. I do use and like rangefinders. They help folks make accurate shots that reduce wounded animals. Try being a little more tolerant of other hunters. They make better friends than the PETA crowd.

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from Kevin wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I use my GPS to find my stand it the dark. That's it. The rest of the hunting is blued steel only.

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from brian wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I personally cant stand the ATV, GPS, fat guy hunting the food plot scene,, throw that stuff away and learn to hunt

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from Phillip wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

What gripes me is people who don't know jack about other commenters making comments about them.I'll say it again. If you can't keep track of your bird dog without the aid of Global Positioning Systems, then you have a problem technology won't solve.

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from Turkey Hunter wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I use it turkey hunting with two wide rangeing dogs. Works great in keeping up with 2 at one time. They range out to 1/4 mi plus. They check back, but at least I know the direction they are in. Lost a friends dog earlier this year. He had one of my collars. We watched him for over a mile on the GPS, saw where he was going and intercepted him (he was chasing a deer). Turkey dogs are very much in demand in our area (Va) and a good one is hard to come by. Will go to a lot of expense (and technology to keep one).

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from Carney wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I don't hunt with dogs but have a little experience with GPS -- all negative. Initially I was excited about a new compass kind of device but the early models really didn't like trees. The guy I was with spent most of the scouting trip trying to get the thing to work. The next generations were supposed to take advantage of more satellites and thus be more dependable but subsequent excursions into the woods were just as frustrating. I finally decided to forget the whole thing when a friend proudly displayed the GPS on his new boat. It had all of the maps downloaded, etc., etc. When we went out on the water it showed us plowing along a half mile outside of the river on dry land. Probably a simple adjustement but if he couldn't figure it out and get it set up right, what makes a fellow so certain that it could be done better and be more dependable?

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from Del in KS wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

This is a very good idea. You only have to lose one $2500 dog to see the value in it. Also when ol' Buck goes on point he may be in weeds that are higher than my head. Can't see him and he won't leave the bird. My friend Billy had a fine young German Shorthaired Pointer stolen 3 yr ago. The battery in his training collar had died and he ran to some other hunters accross the field when they fired shots. They loaded him up and left. There was no way we could chase the bastards. Truck was half mile away.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

It's one thing to disregard technology for yourself, just so you can have peace in the woods, but admit it you'd do anything for your dog and to get him/her back.

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from Brian T wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Good. Fine. Technology is here to stay (away from) on a hunt. If I had a GPS, it would be a backup to my Brunton Eclipse compass. Plus, GPS doesn't work worth a darn in steep-sided mountain valleys.

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from buckstopper wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I see it mainly as a time saver. Like or not technology is here to stay. With the cost and time put into rearing and training a dog it seem wise to protect your investment. If you are retired and/or not into gadgets, thats fine, you should enjoy your time in the field. To those of us who still have to earn a living, time is the most precious thing. Any gadget that would save half a day hunting birds or finding your dog or makes the difference between a sucessful hunt or chasing a wounded animal is ok in my book. BTW I always keep a good old-fashioned compass as a back up to my GPS.

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Just more crap to complicate my already semi-tolerable relationship with high tech devices that are swarming us like a rabid hive of killer bees... my dad and I lost our beloved English Springer Spaniel on a quail hunt more than fifty miles away. She was home in a week, a bit on the thin side but no worse for the wear and tear.Overpriced, unreliable electronic gizmo's that I have absolutely no need for. No GPS, no trail cams, no cell phones in the woods, no rangefinders. They are destroying what hunting used to be all about. Woodsman ship earned the hard way by spending years in the wilderness with nothing but a knife, gun, and compass and becoming one with nature. Listening to the sounds of nature and finding the sign of your prey and knowing where you are without any high dollar high tech crap that is useless and makes you a victim the moment the batteries fail or you fall in a creek and they short out.

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Just more crap to complicate my already semi-tolerable relationship with high tech devices that are swarming us like a rabid hive of killer bees... my dad and I lost our beloved English Springer Spaniel on a quail hunt more than fifty miles away. She was home in a week, a bit on the thin side but no worse for the wear and tear.Overpriced, unreliable electronic gizmo's that I have absolutely no need for. No GPS, no trail cams, no cell phones in the woods, no rangefinders. They are destroying what hunting used to be all about. Woodsman ship earned the hard way by spending years in the wilderness with nothing but a knife, gun, and compass and becoming one with nature. Listening to the sounds of nature and finding the sign of your prey and knowing where you are without any high dollar high tech crap that is useless and makes you a victim the moment the batteries fail or you fall in a creek and they short out.

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from OrangeNeckInNY wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Yeah, would work better as a part of your car/truck/atv. Sort of like your own personal Lo-Jack system.

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from Steve C wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

A GPS on a dog. And just when I think the sport of hunting can't sink any further.

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from Mike wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I like them ... but, apparently, the feature that says whether the dog is sitting or pointing is a bit much. Had to laugh ... or was that a smirk? Perhaps it was a smirky laugh.Next, to train the dog to use it to find it's owner. Let's see ... watch the location of the dog on the GPS then send a signal to come. From there, a short beep to bear right. A long beep to bear left. Could be a bit confusing when he gets to a ravine he can't cross ... that is, on a unit without the built in topo map and optional satellite view. Ahh, technology ... to make life easier and add to our girth.

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from Jeff Green wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I really like the concept, I hope it works as good as they say. My entire day job revolves around computers and other electronic technology also but, if it will make my live better I’m all for it.What really grips me is people that don’t know jack about dogs making comments about them. It doesn’t take long at all for a good hunting dog to get out of range. Hunting heavy cover or on a 300 yard track for a crippled bird, it happens.As soon as I can get the cash I will have one. In the mean time all comments from people that have actually used them are very welcome.

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from Scrap5000 wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

In case of emergency it would be a God Send. I read of one hunter whose dog had been stolen, and he tracked it down to the car on the highway that was driving with it in the back!

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from ChuckT wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

A friend temporarily lost his Shorthair in a cornfield in South Dakota in October. It picked up a pheasants' scent and was gone into the abyss of corn for over an hour. There was so much corn (it was too wet to cut) that I didn't think his dog would ever come back. His dog is going to be a good one, but it was young and inexperienced. I think the GPS would be perfect for this situation, but I agree with TommyNash: Just in case of emergency.

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from John wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Ok, I work in the field of computers and technology and I go hunting to get away from computers and technology.

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from Phillip wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Doesn't make a lot of sense to me for a bird dog. If your dog ranges so far away that you need a GPS to find it, you have bigger problems than a video game fixation.I could see it on chase animals. Most of the hound hunts I've been on turn into an actual hunt for the hounds after a few hours. Gadgets for this already exist, although in some states like CA, GPS units are illegal (radio telemetry is OK, though... go figure).There's a great unit out from a German company now that transmits the GPS coordinates straight to your cell phone, by the way.I don't see it as an encroachment on the hunt at all. Just another tool which, like any tool, can be misused.

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from Jeff4066 wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Okay... but what's the range on this?If I go on a hunting expedition like my last one, I'll turn it on and throw it on the car seat."No, fool, the car is THAT way!"

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from jersey pig wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

i kind of agree with the above statement about technological encrouchment. however, having some experience with the time and effort into training a good birddog there is no way in hell i would chance losing one. so if i was going to hunt him in thick cover over wide area i would love one of these gadgets.

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from TommyNash wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I hate these types of things. I like to get out in the woods or a field to get away from the grips of technology. In the pocket in case of emergency, maybe like a phone, I guess would be okay. At some point you'll never have to leave the couch and a gadget will live your life for you.

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