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Dave Erickson
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:45 am  Reply with quote
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Location: West Coast of WI

A few years ago I tried out a Garmin Alpha and it was just a bit overwhelming and complicated, so I sent it back while grumbling. Since then I have started using iPhones and iPads and have a much better relationship with touch screens and tech devices in general. So I'm about to try it again. I was set to go with a Garmin Astro, but with the $100 rebate the Alphas which include the training features are $50 more than the latest Astro. I really don't need it as a trainer, but it would be nice to have ready a hot button for any unwanted encounters (deer, porkys, etc.)

A couple things have caused me to step back into a dog GPS. Our late GWP "Jazz" started to get lost after his hearing when downhill. As you probably know, the anxiety experienced with a lost dog is not enjoyable! Also nice to know what's going on when my dog gets over that yonder rise and minimize counterproductive handling.

Is anyone else using a GPS system? Are they working out for you?
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Ray-citori
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:07 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 05 Feb 2015
Posts: 184
Location: New Braunfels TX

I have the Astro and love it, Good luck this time. As computer illiterate as I am I have it down pretty good. Bought my Astro before the Alpha was released
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Hootch
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:17 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 1291
Location: Eagle, Nebraska

I have the Astro, but is very complicated, I just want to know what direction my dog is and how far, in a glance. I don't need the other crap. The screen is impossible to see in bright light, takes too long to use, by then, I know where dog is cuz birds have already flushed, and handheld was always going low on charge,

Less than thrilled with it. Thinking of getting something different.
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PatrickB
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:23 am  Reply with quote
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Joined: 16 Dec 2007
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Location: Minnesota

I used the SD Tek 1 GPS only collar for many years. That worked well with the older dog who didn't need correction. When the new puppy started I upgraded to the Tek 2 with GPS and training. I've been happy with the performance of both collars. I honestly wouldn't hunt a pointing dog in the woods without a GPS collar as it removes the concern of a lost dog and it doubles as a tool for me to find the parked vehicle.
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16'er
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:27 am  Reply with quote
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Joined: 08 Oct 2006
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Location: Tappahannock, Virginia

I'm intrigued by the dogra pathfinder, not many reviews last I looked and seemed mixed.
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Riflemeister
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:20 am  Reply with quote
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I use the Garmin Alpha on my two big male shorthairs. It is great for keeping track of my dogs, but not really compatible for the rare times I run both dogs together. It does a nice job of keeping track of multiple dogs, but you have to select which dog you want to stimulate. Invariably a situation will arise such as one dog on point and the other backing. As I go in to flush the bird, the backing dog may take that as an invitation to follow me in or the pointing dog may try to relocate on a running bird. I always seem to have the wrong dog selected or worse stimulate the dog that's doing it right. If your dogs are perfectly trained or you're running just one dog at a time, I can't say anything bad about the Alpha. I do run the Alpha on my dogs for area shoot to retrieve field trials and find the ability to instantaneously select tone, momentary or continuous stimulation very handy.

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Rick Grimes
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:42 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 18 Jun 2004
Posts: 383
Location: thick and uncivilized places in the Allegheny Mts.

I use a Sport Dog Tek 1. The first one went bad after a few months and they quickly replaced it. I've had no troubles with the replacement. With my severe hearing loss my hunting days would be over without it, cause even when I can hear the beeper I don't have a clue which direction the dog is.

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Going into coverts becomes less a chase with the sole purpose of killing; it remains important to find game but the gratification-and I keep coming back to that word-is in the beauty of finding it. George Bird Evans A Dog, A Gun, And Time Enough.
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tramroad28
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:05 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 20 Jul 2011
Posts: 366

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Last edited by tramroad28 on Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:03 am; edited 2 times in total
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Gil S
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:37 pm  Reply with quote
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Joined: 04 Mar 2008
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Location: Lowcountry Ga.

I've used the Astro for over 5 years on one dog and the younger for 2 seasons. Same handheld unit and the newer collar for the younger dog and the older collar for the older dog. Every now and then I'll drop a dog, but it comes back. Won't leave home without them for dog safety and finding dogs in thick cover on point. I heard an account by a dog trainer whose dog didn't come back and check with her and there was some concern as the dog wouldn't respond to the whistle. She tracked the dog with the unit and found that the dog was trapped in a barn inside a wall. She saved the dog and would have never found the dog but for the collar. My dogs also wear e-collars simultaneously. No problem with two handhelds. Gil
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Dave Erickson
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:18 pm  Reply with quote
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Joined: 06 Nov 2009
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Location: West Coast of WI

Thanks for all the comments. I thought long and hard and read as many comments as possible about the Astro vs Alpha question. It's hard to know it all ahead of time, so you pays your money and takes your chances. If I can lock in the three physical buttons to include one hot, and one for a reminder nick, and the 3rd for a tone, I'll be using what I normally use along with the tracking benefits. Most likely I'll just use the compass screen. The Alphas are over the top with features and I suspect I'll use the minimum. Marking the truck as a waypoint will certainly be useful. I have been lost a couple times in the big woods, and once in a southern MN snowstorm which turned into an Ordeal.

I think could also make a strong case for the Sport Dog TEK 2 for the same benefits.

Like I mentioned above, I've come leaps and bounds in my understanding of handheld technology since my first feeble attempt, so I think I can do this! I'll give it the college try. Smile
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Cold Iron
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:18 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 09 Mar 2016
Posts: 230
Location: Mn.

I think you will be happy with it Dave, have had the Alpha for a couple of years now even though I run flushers. But up in the arrowhead you could loose your dog, or yourself, for a really long time if not forever. Well worth the peace of mind. Previously ran dogtra systems.

I don't use tone but vibrate and it came in handy as Sniper got older. Before he passed on he couldn't hear but as soon as I hit vibrate he would check in.

Eyes aren't they used to be so carry at least 2 pair of 3X reading glasses with me. Then again would have to just to read a map and compass so a wash.

The Alpha uses both the US GPS sats and the Russian GLONASS sats so is a lot more accurate. The further North you go the worse the US sats are once you add in the GLONASS sats it becomes a lot more accurate.

At the same time you have to be careful if you cross into Canada supposededly it will brick your system. It uses the same frequencies as the Canadian emergency system and that supposedly is the solution to "fixing" it. I have come pretty close to the border and never had a problem though.



Next thing you know you'll be getting the Garmin fenix watch so you can track without looking at the handheld Very Happy

Spend plenty of time with it in the yard and getting used to it of course before you get in the woods. The holster is weak IMO and I went with the WingWorks holster and like it. By now sure there are others out there as good but the WW has served me well. I don't have any pictures of it but you can see the bottom of it in the top left and the clip. It is a stout piece of gear.



https://wingworks.biz/product-category/vest-and-field-accessories/holsters-for-garmin-astro-and-alpha/

Good luck and have fun! Because of work not sure how much I will get out this year, it is not going to be much. Been a rough summer due to work too. Still got a lot of skeet tickets to burn up on the hill, and the Groupon for South St. Paul.
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Square Load
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:01 am  Reply with quote
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Flagstaff, AZ

Have owned a Garmin Astro for 6-7 years and it works great for it's intended use, keeping track of my dog. Do not have any experience with other brands or newer Garmins.

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Dave Erickson
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:27 pm  Reply with quote
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Cold Iron wrote:
I think you will be happy with it Dave, have had the Alpha for a couple of years now even though I run flushers. But up in the arrowhead you could loose your dog, or yourself, for a really long time if not forever. Well worth the peace of mind. Previously ran dogtra systems.

I don't use tone but vibrate and it came in handy as Sniper got older. Before he passed on he couldn't hear but as soon as I hit vibrate he would check in.

Eyes aren't they used to be so carry at least 2 pair of 3X reading glasses with me. Then again would have to just to read a map and compass so a wash.

The Alpha uses both the US GPS sats and the Russian GLONASS sats so is a lot more accurate. The further North you go the worse the US sats are once you add in the GLONASS sats it becomes a lot more accurate.

At the same time you have to be careful if you cross into Canada supposededly it will brick your system. It uses the same frequencies as the Canadian emergency system and that supposedly is the solution to "fixing" it. I have come pretty close to the border and never had a problem though.



Next thing you know you'll be getting the Garmin fenix watch so you can track without looking at the handheld Very Happy

Spend plenty of time with it in the yard and getting used to it of course before you get in the woods. The holster is weak IMO and I went with the WingWorks holster and like it. By now sure there are others out there as good but the WW has served me well. I don't have any pictures of it but you can see the bottom of it in the top left and the clip. It is a stout piece of gear.



https://wingworks.biz/product-category/vest-and-field-accessories/holsters-for-garmin-astro-and-alpha/

Good luck and have fun! Because of work not sure how much I will get out this year, it is not going to be much. Been a rough summer due to work too. Still got a lot of skeet tickets to burn up on the hill, and the Groupon for South St. Paul.


Mike, just made our way back across the state after watching a Brewer's game at Miller Park.

Anytime you can slip over to that beautiful skeet range on the bluff I'm game! I still have my Groupon, too. Not sure if us 5 guys (Carl, Steve, Tom, you, and I) will get that done before it expires. Hope so!

Thanks for the comments and tips. The vibrate makes good sense for the older dogs. My 10 1/2 year old Draht still seems to have good hearing, but that can change.

I have a carabiner attached to the bottom of my Pro 550 and I clip it to my strap vest. I'll most likely do the same with the Alpha and leave the 550 at home for training.

Or perhaps the Alpha can stay tucked in a pocket because.......drum roll.....I have the Fenix! Can't think of anything slicker than feeling the vibration on my wrist and looking at it for direction and distance to a hidden point, or for just a quick check. I've had the Fenix 3 for a while and the vibration and bluetooth work well. It reacts simotaneously with my iPhone when I get a text, so I know it will work well with the Alpha.
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Gil S
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:06 am  Reply with quote
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Joined: 04 Mar 2008
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Location: Lowcountry Ga.

Floyd extended the hunting life of Snap, a 13 year-old Brittany female, for three seasons using one of my Astro collars and ultimately a Sport Dog system. She was stone deaf and couldn't find us to check in, but with the gps collar, we would locate her on woodcock points beyond her collar bell hearing distance for us. She was a great dog and found a wild covey the last day of quail season when an EP and GSP couldn't find it. She had renal failure and was put down a month after the season closed. My experience hunting with her was the reason I have two Britts. Gil
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Parkerman
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:29 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 01 Sep 2006
Posts: 37

I guess I'm like Dave when he started, all I want is a simple unit that tells me where the truck is and where my dog is, it doesn't sound that hard, but it seems that all fo the manufactures want to see how much then can put into the unit which is fine for many people, but I just want a very simple unit and I am sure I am not alone ! Also a screen you can read with out your glasses would be really nice Very Happy

So does someone make this or is it too simple of an idea to sell............. Rolling Eyes
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