To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

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To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby M Bouthillette » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:15 pm

Well here we are, in 21 days I'll be picking up my first PP.

I've trained Labs to retrieve before and was always happy with my TT F70 (which I don't have anymore), but now I'm wondering if I should be looking into a training collar with integrated GPS. I'm hunting thicker covers and not the prairies where dogs can run off for miles so I wonder if a GPS unit would be relevant.

Your thoughts ?

PS No need to remind me to wait until the dog is older before putting the collar onto him :D
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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby JASmith » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:19 am

A good GPS unit should work most of the time from what I've read. Unless the cover is truly SOLID something like the Alpha with the long antenna should do the trick.

disclaimer: I don't have a dog yet, and I haven't even taken my Alpha out of the box. But my research before buying it indicated that to be the case. :)
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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby M Bouthillette » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:36 am

Thanks JASmith, but my question is more in regards as do I need GPS for my PP. I can see why you would need a GPS for a long quested Setter or Pointer, but question the relevancy with a PP.

Thanks and good luck with the upcoming pup
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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby mtlhdr » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:42 am

The short answer is "yes." I have never heard one regret uttered by a GPS owner. Whether I'm hunting 50 acres or 50,000, the dog always wears the GPS. There a have been a couple recent discussions on Alpha vs Astro+e-collar, try using the search function. I'm in the Astro+e-collar camp.
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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby JASmith » Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:37 pm

Yeah I can't see any reason not to have the GPS really. There isn't a downside outside of the cost investment. Like I said. I bought one and I don't even have the dog yet. :) But it will also be a PP.
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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby blue04 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:58 pm

What's the typical max range between the collar(s) and receiver?

I ask because, early one morning, I met a coon hunter with GPS collars on his dogs. He had been out searching for two dogs since late the night before. He had the GPS receiver, and he said that he had been getting hits on them on and off all night. But he thought that the dogs were getting too far away for the collars to communicate with the receiver and he kept losing track of them.

At one point while I was helping him search for them, we could hear the dogs running something and baying and could see the dogs at one point in the distance (1000 yards or more away probably). But they were only popping up on his receiver sporadically.

Is this common with really big running dogs?
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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby JASmith » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:41 pm

That depends entirely on the quality of the GPS unit. Some of them are effective up to 9 miles away. There is a large variance though.
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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby mtlhdr » Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:00 pm

The GPS collar and receiver communicate via radio signal. I think Garmin says the max range is 7 or 8 miles, but that can be affected by cover, terrain, etc. "Long-range" antennas are available for the receivers but I am not sure how much more you get out of those. From what I've read/heard it is much less than classic radio telemetry tracking systems.
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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby Misskiwi67 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:57 pm

I use my Alpha daily. I still recommend a separate training collar, the settings are not as finite and mine occasionally has a half second delay making it less ideal for training complex behaviors. The alpha is great for stopping a sight chase on deer etc, and I can't imagine hunting without one now.
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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby ANick » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:54 pm

Timely question, thanks!! :)

I'm doing the 'How to approach the e-collar?' question for my young pup. By the time I get my mind made up she'll be getting close to being big enough... and possibly old?

The GPS is a given for me, not so much to keep an eye on a field trialer but more for the peace of mind that I've got an ace in the hole for ending the day *with* my dog. At the price, it's cheap insurance. I don't have any real background with ecollars but I do 'get' the advantages of the separate units for GPS and training.

I am seriously not up to speed on brand and model. The advertised range of the GPS units seems to follow the range advertised for radios, from what I've read in forums and print. I'm figuring the true effective range to be more realistically about half the advertised... or less .. terrain and 'conditions' dependent.

... back to the bleachers with the popcorn..

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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby GRIFF MAN » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:03 am

mtlhdr wrote:The short answer is "yes." I have never heard one regret uttered by a GPS owner. Whether I'm hunting 50 acres or 50,000, the dog always wears the GPS. There a have been a couple recent discussions on Alpha vs Astro+e-collar, try using the search function. I'm in the Astro+e-collar camp.



Why, what is better about one than the other ? This is truly a question not a troll. :lol:
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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby mtlhdr » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:50 am

GRIFF MAN wrote:mtlhdr wrote:
The short answer is "yes." I have never heard one regret uttered by a GPS owner. Whether I'm hunting 50 acres or 50,000, the dog always wears the GPS. There a have been a couple recent discussions on Alpha vs Astro+e-collar, try using the search function. I'm in the Astro+e-collar camp.



Why, what is better about one than the other ? This is truly a question not a troll.

Personal preference, I wouldn't say one set-up is better than the other for everyone. I like the flexibility have having separate units. The dog wears the the e-collar about 10x more (perhaps even more than that) than the GPS collar, so we save a lot of wear and tear on the GPS collar. Also, I personally find the stand-alone e-collar a little easier to use (change stim settings etc) than the Alpha, granted if I owned an Alpha and used it daily perhaps I would be as proficient with it. When I test drove my buddy's I found it a bit cumbersome.
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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby Misskiwi67 » Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:34 pm

The alpha is cumbersome for training. It takes a moment to switch between settings or dogs. I mostly use the tone button in the field, and I can got that without looking at the unit.

The alpha is invaluable for hunting "insurance". The reason I use it daily is because we live on an acreage and I can put the collars on and let them run, and know if they are playing, running hot laps, or digging in the flowers from the comfort of my couch.
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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby STait » Fri Apr 08, 2016 2:09 pm

JASmith wrote:That depends entirely on the quality of the GPS unit. Some of them are effective up to 9 miles away. There is a large variance though.


There may be unit manufacturers that claim 9 miles range, but they are either not honest in their reporting, or they are tracking from an airplane. The problem lies with communication between the transmitter and receiver. The collar usually never has a problem finding satellites. In real world tracking, even on the prairies between 1 and 2 miles is top range from my experience. I've gotten farther signals like 2.4 miles when I climbed on the cab of my truck and my dog was on an elevated plane. But, in chukar country the signal can be lost at 200 yards when the dog goes over the steep side. Telemetry is better IMO, but I lost my $1000 receiver so I now use Garmin GPS units.

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Re: To GPS or not to GPS on the collar...

Postby Hdc » Fri Apr 08, 2016 2:57 pm

I vote a strong yes on a GPS collar. I have an Alpha for my PP. Use it for both training and hunting.

I can't begin to list all the times I have been glad I had it in hunting situations, even in close or short range. For instance, we were in heavy CRP cover (grass up to my chest) in ND two years ago. One second my dog was close, the next he disappeared. I tweeted the whistle, and he did not come. I checked the GPS and it indicated he was within 20 yards. Followed the GPS to my dog and he was locked up on point. While I would have eventually found him without the GPS, it sure was nice knowing exactly where he was and going straight to him.

In Ms., where I live, we can blood track off lead. It is invaluable when I release him on a blood track at night.
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