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Got on the mountain after work for a quick opening day grouse hunt. It was already drizzling. Didn't change my clothes or put an orange vest on my dog. Weather was moving in, so I was double-timing it up an aspen choked drainage when I hit a fork in the game trail. I went right, Atlas went left. This is his eleventh season, so I never worry about us getting separated for long. After a while, I thought it was weird that he hadn't caught up, so I went looking for him. Back and forth on his last known vector, nothing. Went down the trail we'd come in on, backtracked where we'd split up; no sign of him. Started to whistle and then call; he still didn't come. He doesn't chase deer, so I figured he had to be on point, but I could not find him in the mixed aspen/conifer woods anywhere. Started to worry about him (lots of cats and bears here). Storm was getting closer. Figured I should get out in the open where I could see further. Headed out into the meadow with the intention of getting up on one of the big volcanic boulders for a vantage point. Lots of snowpack this winter and a good monsoon season had the grass waist high. I was getting soaked. No longer thinking about birds, I just wanted to get my dog and lose some elevation before the lightning got to us. With my gun down and my thoughts elsewhere, a grouse rocketed out from under my feet like a midwestern pheasant. Rusty and distracted, I was late getting the gun up and behind with the shot, but the bird reacted and set down by the tree line where we'd entered the clearing. Atlas heard the shot and finally broke the point he was on way out in the meadow. I told him 'dead bird,' in no way confident that I was telling the truth, and motioned back the way we'd come. He circled around downwind into the trees, and dang it if he didn't come back with a not-yet dead grouse with a busted wing and leg. I assumed the birds would be taking cover under the pines, but I guess he knew better. Beat the heck out of getting skunked, even if my boots and gun required some oil when we got home. Atta boy!

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Last edited by MonkeyWrench; 09/02/23. Reason: typo

The Rifle is the Weapon of Democracy
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Good read. Is that a Draht?


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Yes, sir.


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I have been hunting with GWPs for 35 years. If I can be so bold as to suggest if you got a tracking collar you would not have had the situation you just went through. You will know what direction, how far away and what your dog is doing. In addition to that there is the peace of mind of not losing your dog. I lost three in the beginning over 35 yrs ago and it was gut wrenching till I found them DAYS later.

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Read the above again....and then go get a tracker collar.


laissez les bons temps rouler
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Reread above again (is that three times?) and get yourself some prune juice.

I don't run collars of any kind due to all the barbed wire here. Haven't lost a dog yet...


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Whole bunch of things in your life have yet to happen.


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Originally Posted by battue
Read the above again....and then go get a tracker collar.
After reading rick's story last year, I picked one up. Worth every dollar for the peace of mind.

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Yes, Rick’s been around a long time and has hunted Birddogs more than most in a lot of different places,

Experience is a wonderful teacher. If one has an open mind. If not, some have to learn the hard way.

I lost one in a SD cornfield that was loaded with Birds and fortunately he found me…45minutes later….before he crossed a road and got hit. Or ended up miles away. After which, I decided it would be a good idea.

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I had an especially small Brittany in ground cover no higher than 18-inches "disappear" on me once. I was a newly hired contract-guide and she was a company-owned dog; I had just let her out for a first time 'practice-hunt' and with my back turned for no more than 20-seconds, she literally vanished. I walked all over the area for half an hour and dreaded having to go back to the huntmaster asking for help and confessing that I had just lost one of his dogs. Actually, he laughed and said to go back and park exactly where I did before, and look no more than a hundred-foot diameter. I did and sure as hell, there she was still on point which by now over two-hours had elapsed. In addition to my wounded ego, I learned several valuable lessons that day - the most important being having a tracking collar and the second being having remote audio-alarm on the collar. Admittedly this was a working, kennel dog which did not have much of an established bond with people. Even so, tracking hounds and pointing dogs can get out of sight in seconds and any dog can get injured, entangled, trapped, and unable to make a sound. The only thing worse than having your best hunting buddy lost is finally finding him dead on the side of the road.

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https://www.gundogsupply.com/garmin-alpha-300i-tt25-combo.html

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I know the collars are expensive but there’s a few thousand worth of dogs (in $$$, not to mention their other value) on the tailgate that I would not be happy with losing.

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My experience is that you should never trust your dog. They will run off chasing stuff, get sprayed by skunks, eat things they shouldn't, bite animals they shouldn't, and generally do stupid crap. After having lost dogs in the field numerous times and up to a week, I would have jumped at the opportunity to have a tracking collar back when I had dogs. If I get another dog, I'll get a tracking collar.



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Originally Posted by MonkeyWrench
Reread above again (is that three times?) and get yourself some prune juice.

I don't run collars of any kind due to all the barbed wire here. Haven't lost a dog yet...


Get yourself on the juice Monkey, seems as if more than a few think your FOS. 🤣🤣🤣👍🏻

Again!!!!


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Run mine with a bell and tracking collar. Have been in situations when he is moving hundreds of yards away from me and can't hear the whistle because of background noises. Made my day to know when he finally turned back towards me after chasing him though thick woods.
Also helps when the bell is silent on point.

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Which one are some of you using....Now I have a Garmin 200I. Has some things I don't need, but for its size it has maps plus a GPS and can run multiple collars.


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Original Astro 400. Have several extra dc-30 collars. All this equipment has been out of production for years. Works for monitoring my two gwps. One more reason to own a tracking system has to do with older dogs who’s hearing is poor. They can’t hear the whistle. Even gunshots can confuse them to your whereabouts. I remember chasing a dog or two that “ran to the shot” in the opposite direction!

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Got a new pup and a tracking collar. I've used electronic collars before but not with GPS tracking.The tracker gives me some peace of mind in the field with the information it provides even though the cost for a good one can make you hesitate. Bad things happen fast and unexpectedly. At least this gives me a chance at avoiding a bigger problem when I can at least know what direction and how far to go looking to recover him.
On top of that, I ain't (proper English aside) getting back in the house without a dog when I leave with one.


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P.S. Garmin 200 I with 2 collars.


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I'm still using the Garmin Alpha 100. It has more bells and whistles than I'll ever use and after six or so years it is probably due for an upgrade. But it still finds my dog in the sometimes tall sage brush that I hunt.

After I lose sight of the orange vest, I go to the tracker to get a fix on him. It even tells me when he's stopped or on point.

Sometimes I wonder how we ever hunted without the collar.

Last edited by Kenlguy; 09/09/23.

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Thanks for sharing MW.

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Thanks, KL and TR. Got out again last night. Hailed on us pretty hard. Looked and smelled like Christmas. Snuck within bow range of an elk cow and calf. Aspens are turning. Pretty glorious...

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'KG and TR'


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