Finding Your Dogs in the Field: Triangulation or GPS?

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    Dogs that go missing during a hunt can be time consuming to find, setting your hunt back and putting you at the risk of having a less productive day. Even the best dog may get distracted now and then, veering off course and failing to do his or her job as effectively as possible due to a loss of focus. There are many things that can capture the attention of a rabbit dog, and those things may at times cause a disruption in the hunt when a dog takes a wrong turn or separates from the pack.

    Photo: Frins Project

    In the past, radio telemetry was commonly used to triangulate the location of dogs. While this can be effective, it is not without its own set of flaws. Some of the factors that affect the ability to triangulate accurately are animal movements during the triangulation, distance between transmitters and receivers, as well as the ability or inability of radio wave propagation due to topography, terrain, and canopy cover. Human error can also be a factor in the effectiveness of radio telemetry, with a margin for error also presenting a problem when it comes to promptly locating a dog that has gone astray.

    Photo: Gun Dog LC Supply

    While triangulation is a useful method of location dogs, newer more effective means have become available. One such example is the ability to track dog locations through the use of Global Positioning Satellites, or GPS. Through the use of collars and a convenient monitoring device, it is possible to easily see where your dogs are at all times. The handheld component bears a view finder screen that displays dog locations on a map of the area, giving you a convenient locating ability. Not only do these devices convey the placement of your dogs, but they do so precisely, giving you an exact location. Some models even feature an option to relay electronic corrective commands should your dog go off task.

    Photo: Collar Clinic

    Compared to slower and less reliable triangulation methods, GPS certainly seems like the way to go. The capabilities of dog tracking GPS systems do vary somewhat from one model to the next, so do your homework and select one that has the features you prefer and/or need most. Also keep in mind the terrain where you hunt; it will be possible to track dogs farther on level ground than hilly or mountainous terrain, so select a GPS that can accommodate, spanning the distance you need to cover.

    Photo: Eisenhut Dog Supplies

    Do you currently use GPS tracking devices to keep track of your dogs, or is radio telemetry triangulation your preferred method? Let us know and feel free to share your preferred device models in the comments!

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