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Posts Tagged ‘GPS’

Find great tethers in the hardware store's key department.

Find great tethers in the hardware store’s key department.

If you’re hunting along that ridge … you know, where the dead cow has been reduced to a bone pile … alongside the only gravel state highway, in that big boulder field and just south of that town, population 9 … well, watch for my e-collar transmitter. I left it there after taking a couple photos of me and my buddy on a chukar hunt.

That transmitter was the proverbial final straw and my camel’s back broke on that desolate desert slope. Like a compass, a whistle, and (almost) the camera I used for those pictures, so much of my gear is small and unnaturally mobile when it shouldn’t be. Maybe yours is too. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose any more of it.

Now I tie everything to me or my hunting vest. Loops, belts, D-rings, zipper pulls, there are plenty of anchor points. And these days, lanyards, cord and retractors of all sorts are available … often free for the asking if you’re willing to sport someone’s logo.

You’d be surprised how often in the heat of the hunt you literally drop everything. Okay, maybe you don’t, but I do. Every third or fourth training session, I’ll be walking along and something will bump against my leg. Sometimes, it’s a loyal dog, checking in. More often it’s a collar transmitter hanging from its lifeline … which is way better than buried in some clump of brush, lost to the ages.

At a recent training day I spent almost an hour searching the tall grass for a bird launcher control. On a grouse hunt, a GPS grew legs and escaped until a friend stepped on it. Once, one of my dogs actually sniffed up a pair of shooting glasses that had tumbled from my vest pocket.

Now, the glasses are leashed around my neck every time I lace up my boots. My training pistol has a line that goes through a belt loop. Whistles dangle around my neck, and water bottles are held fast by  a carabiner.

Yes, at times I can look like the receiving end of one of those old-time telephone switchboards, cords sprouting all over me. But most are easily managed, slack tucked into pockets until that tool is utilized. A couple hunts and you’ll work out the logistics too.

Maybe your mother told you what mine told me: you’d lose your head if it wasn’t screwed on. Tether it, and she’ll be happier and so will you.  And you won’t spend the better part of a morning on your hands and knees when you should be roaming the hills or prairie behind your dog.

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Like this.

Minor victory: Manny was steady on flushing pigeons without his half-hitch … two successful go-rounds, and we’re all in for the night (why tempt fate?). One step forward, without a step back. I’ll take it. Buddy, of course, was like a rock. Thanks, good boy.

Next: add the blank pistol (probably after a few backslides).

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Got a second GPS collar from Garmin, so dusted off the other one and started using them. I’ve finally figured out most of it – I think. Some initial observations:

– Manny runs faster and farther than Buddy … double his average speed and total mileage. I guess age is finally creeping up on my furry friend.

– Like a mobile phone, you’ve got to be careful not to become one with the phone and miss out on why you are out there. Numbers and maps are fun, but really, you’re there to hunt. And watch out for boulders.

– While I miss the security of “stimulation,” and especially the tone and locator features, having some quiet time on the grasslands knowing I can still locate my dogs is quite satisfying.

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Got an interesting email from a friend, lamenting the difficulty of finding training partners, even among our club members. Maybe you can relate. Few choose to go to the  higher testing levels, few of them live nearby, few of those have schedules that match. See where I’m going?

I’m going to train with Jim, if he’ll have me. And with luck, I’ll be a help rather than hindrance. So how do you find training buddies whose schedule, goals and personalities match?

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