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Tracking Systems
Posted in  Dogs, Coondogs   on  February 2, 2020 by  Josh Brown0

About the author

After getting my Masters of Business Science I decided to share my experience online about country living and teaching my son about the things I did when I was his age. Join me as we take this dirt road together!

What types of tracking systems have you used, owned, or wish you could see in action on the hunt? As all of us Coon Hunters know, before spending some serious money on purchasing a tracking system, we would like to see it in action first or at least, talk with another Coon Hunter about the Pro's and Con's of the tracker we want!!! With G.P.S. tracking systems being the new go too in Coondog tracking. It makes some Coon hunters wonder what will the future of tracking systems hold, for the sport of Coon hunting? If these sound like questions that come up in your personal conversations and at the Coon Hunts you have attended, then your not alone. So sit right back for a good read that is sure to, help you zero in on the tracking system that's right for you... 
Crockett Cooner's Woods

There's  Coons In Them There Hills

The Old "Beep- Beep" Trackers

For years now I have kept the old trusty radio antenna "beep-beep" tracker in my dog box at all times! Just in case, something goes wrong with one of the new G.P.S. systems we now all seem to rely on. For those of you that don't know the history of the older tracking systems or are new to the sport of Coon hunting and have never experienced the older trackers. I'm referring to the old radio antenna types of trackers, much like the TRX-3S Wildlife tracker with two collars, that I personally own. I'm proud to say, both collars have tree switches made into the collars that lets you know when your hound is up a tree. The collars do this by causing the tracker to beep faster and the light gauge on the receiver of the tracker to blink quicker.  Now I have to say for years, my old trusty tracking system has served me well through countless Coon hunts in all types of weather conditions and climates. Plus, the collars have been worn by countless numbers of hounds and still work, to this day.  

But, for all of you older Coon hunters let's face facts. We have all been there in the past when something went wrong with the old tracking systems.  A collar battery went dead on the hunt, something inside the receiver got wet, or the transmitter separated from the collar !! I have to admit when I was new to Coon hunting we did not use trackers. Then it seemed almost over night everyone had a new antenna type of tracker. That, I might add reflected tracking signals off the hills behind you and still to present day confuses new Coon hunters on which direction their hounds, really are. But, even worse with the older antenna trackers. Coon hunters did NOT know, what lies on the path ahead, much less how far each individual dog was from them. Which, I might add comes standard with most of the new G.P.S. trackers. 

As most old Coon hunters know when reading and fine tuning the older trackers. You are looking for the strongest fastest beep/signal and the highest number of lights on the gauge. So next, you can fine tune the selector knob down to pin point your hounds whereabouts. Which, I might add is a skill all in itself, when your dogs have entered the mouth of a cave, got out range, or the countless amounts of other things that could go wrong when reading the older tracking systems!! Now, cost is always a big factor for most Coon hunters and tracking systems are not cheap but, for anyone that needs a tracker and does NOT have the luxury of using one of the new G.P.S. systems. Below are twelve basic steps on how to use one of the old Wildlife trackers and what problems to look out for  when using one...

Twelve Basic's Steps To Follow On How To Use The Old Trackers

  1. Turn the receiver on by flipping the on/off switch (Look for lights or listen for static sound) 
  2. Next make sure the antenna is turned on usually its the switch next to the wire that come out of the receiver (Note: Remember some switches are hard to read and understand. Many times on the antenna switch, on is off and off is on with the antenna switch)
  3. Before placing the collar on the dog, make sure to remove the magnet from the collar (to turn the collar on) (The collar must be on to check for channel in rule 4)
  4. Find out which channel A/B/C the collar is programmed to (Turn the Channel knob until you see the strongest lights on the gauge or highest needle movement on the receiver (light flash the most or the needle moves rapidly)
  5.  Check to see if the collar has a marking or lettering that shows which direction faces towards the dogs nose (This is so the tree switch, in the collar will work correctly) (If no marking is found on the collar follow rule 6 )
  6. Lay the collar on a hard surface, flip the collar over while watching the hand held receiver, the blinking light bar/ needle moving/ and beeping will  increases, face the collar in that direction where it increases the most, towards the dogs nose (Note: Not all collars have a built in tree switch so the blinking/beeping may not increase)
  7. Put the collar on the dog tight enough so the collar will not fall off ( Note: With some collars it's o.k. to tuck the antenna in behind the lead loop and some collars you must leave the antenna out, to make the collars signal work correctly)
  8. Turn the tracker off but, leave magnet out and collars (on), let the dog's go
  9. When tracking, turn receiver on, select the correct channel A/B/C, turn the antenna on, (start with the fine tune selector switch at lowest possible setting, zero)
  10. Point the receiver in the direction of the collar or what direction you think is correct, while turning the fine tune knob (Your looking for signal of the collar at this point) (Note: watch out for reflection of signals off of hills in opposite directions, from the collar)
  11. When the light gauge bar firsts lights up (1 to 2 bars), STOP  turning the fine tune selector(Note: Look and listen for the highest amount of light bars /needle movement and the strongest beeping signal)
  12. Lastly when you have found the strongest beeping and the highest amount of lights/needle movement on the gauge, that is the direction/distance of the collar/hound

You Can Track That Hound Day Or Night From Space With G.P.S.

Night Moon

Eclipse While Coon Hunting

Now, for my readers that follow me and keep up on the newest events taking place here at the Crockett Coonhound. Those readers know, I took about an eight year break from Coondogs and bought Beagle Hounds while on my educational track back to college. In that length of time many things changed in the Coon hunting world, such as the G.P.S. trackers got put on the market. When I got back into the sport of Coon hunting,  I had been told by many Coon hunters how great of improvements the G.P.S. made in the sport of Coon hunting but, I personally had never experienced a G.P.S. in use on the hunt.

 On my first Coon hunt after my eight year break, with a new G.P.S. systems it blew my mind. With the anticipation of my first hunt in eight years and my curiosity about the new hound I had just purchased. I had forgotten about the new G.P.S. systems and my friends started showing me all the benefits to the G.P.S. trackers. This is after they saw me with the old "beep-beep" yagi antenna Wildlife tracker, I use on the hunt for many years. I have to say, all of the Coon hunters with me on my first hunt back. Cracked a grin and turned their heads so I would not see them chuckle at me, when they jokingly ask me

"awww what 'ca doing with that old tracker!" 

I have to say that when my fellow hunters where standing beside me at the edge of the woods that first night, and I heard his hound fall treed. Followed by his hand held tracker spouting off "Larry is treed!" I was like a kid on Christmas morning, I could not ask enough questions at that point!

How do you program that new tracker, what did it cost, is it water proof, does the stimulation  come on each collar? I was making statements like "You mean to tell me it shows the names of the roads and how far the dogs are from us, and from each other!  

 Everything that came to mind was flowing from my mouth. I was thinking back to nights long ago, when I lost my hounds, the batteries went dead on my collars, and it was a literal pain getting my fingers pinched stretching out the yagi beams.  

So, I started studying G.P.S. trackers ,the pro's and con's of each new system. Now, I can say that I have not made the purchase of the new GPS tracker yet, but it's on the top of my "too buy  list." Actually I have to say that they are pricey for me at this time. But, as all the hound hunters that read my post know. Electronics seem to  go hand in hand with all hound hunters. Not only do hound hunters love trackers, but I would say its a safe bet to say we also feel very strongly about CB radios and cool Apps on the cell phones. Below is a picture of the new G.P.S. tracking system I borrow and use from a fellow hunting buddy, here at the Crockett Coonhound.

G.P.S. Tracking System

Remote Garmin Alpha T100 Tracking G.P.S. System

Not All G.P.S. Tracking Systems Are Created The Same

With different tracking systems there are always going to be certain pro's and con's to each system, that is designed to fit the personal needs of  each hunter and different styles of hunting. With different G.P.S. tracking systems you have options. Some of the G.P.S. systems will link to your individual cell phones.  Where it's as simple as downloading the app from the company that produces the tracking system and connection that app to the collar around your dogs neck. But, don't just think that tracking systems are only good for people that enjoy hunting and own hunting breeds of dogs. With many other outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and outdoor gatherings. A tracking system can come in quiet handy for people that like to bring their 4-legged friends to those types of events and keep up with the whereabouts of their dogs. Also, their are some specialized tracking systems that are designed for the common house dog that like to roam the neighborhood. As far as  G.P.S. tracking systems for sporting hounds are concerned there are countless features such as tone features, stimulation features, and different range features that will fit certain types of hound hunters needs, the most. Below are some points about the Garmin Alpha T100 that we found out about here at The Crockett Coonhound and consider to be great for our personal hunting needs...    

Points We Like Here At The Crockett Coonhound About The Garmin Alpha T100

  • The T100 has Tri-Tronics stimulations built into each collar (It helps break bad habits such as running off game and helping your hound learn to return when called)
  • The Range on the T100 is about 9 miles (Personally we believe that 9 miles is a understatement, I would actually think 12 miles is more accurate, in flat ground good weather conditions) 
  • You can add up to 20 dog collars (The ability of add so many dog collars to one system is a great feature for coyote hunters and deer hunters with hounds)
  • The Map features of the T100 is a big plus for us here at the Crockett Coonhound (Lots of maps where pre-download to the system when it was first purchased) (As luck would have it, we did not have to pay to download anything, and the handheld up dates the maps automatically much quicker than other systems) 

Now I have to say that Garmin is NOT a sponsor of the Crockett Coonhound at this time, we just like their products. The Garmin products have never let us down on the hunt and where able to withstand the abuse that we put our equipment through!!! Also, cost was a big factor in purchasing from Garmin and other products that work with their tracking systems could be purchased, not far from our current location. For anyone interested here is a link to the Garmin page. If you would like to take a look at what a G.P.S. system from Garmin and what it cost, plus some of the different features of Garmin's tracking systems. Garmin Alpha 100   

Ace Treed

Tree That Hound

I hope after this post you have a better understanding on some pro's and con's to look for when talking tracking systems, be that old antenna trackers or new G.P.S. style trackers. Please fell free to check out the rest of the Crockett Coonhound website, we have a lot to see here.  If you would like to stay up on everything going on here at the Crockett Coonhound, take a second and sign up for our newsletter. Lastly, if you are scanning the old inner webs, make sure to look for me The Crockett Cooner and The Crockett Coonhound you can find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.  Thank you all for taking time to read this blog post. I hope you have a great day and an even better tomorrow. 

Frequently Asked Questions

🔋 Do different G.P.S. tracking systems batteries, have longer life spans?

Yes, keep in mind that some cheaper G.P.S. trackers are designed to track only house dogs that likes to roam the neighbor hood when let outside.  Usually those trackers will NOT  have the capabilities and durability that a G.P.S. system that is designed for hunting and sporting hounds will have . The G.P.S. systems for hunting dogs have been built to last longer and withstand more and longer periods of harsh use. 

📡 Are all G.P.S. tracking systems signals compatible with cellular networks?

No, not all G.P.S. tracking systems have cellular network tracking. (Note: It depends on the G.P.S. system and brand you purchase.  Always look at and compare the different features of the G.P.S. system you think you might purchase, because they are all different.) 

🗺️ Do you have to purchase maps from some G.P.S. trackers?

Yes, with many different G.P.S. tracing systems you will have to purchase the maps for the locations you plan on using the tracker in. (Note:  many trackers come with pre- installed maps that will fit your needs, but sometimes you must buy the map you need.) (Note: with some trackers a payment plan will need to be set up to keep your maps updated, so checking with other people about the Pro's and Con's of  a particular tracker, like the one you want, is a must.) 

🔂 Is live tracking the same for all G.PS collars?

No, depending on what G.P.S. system is in question. Many different G.P.S. collars will turn off and on at different intervals automatically, to save battery life.(Note:  Depending on battery size of the collar, temperature conditions, and pre-installed live upload software of each G.P.S. systems collar, some G.P.S. collar batteries will lose life quicker than others.)

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