Keeping tabs on my Treeing Walkers in the mountains of North Carolina is a tall task. It’s really challenging terrain from the standpoint of both navigating through it and also being able to hear my dogs when they’re on a track or treed. One of the perks of being a SportDOG Brand® Senior ProStaffer and Field Tester, is that I was able to start using the TEK 2.0 combo e-collar and tracking system before it was even out on the market. I immediately found some features that have made life a lot easier.
Tracking – The Map Screen
I like a lot of things about the TEK 2.0, but one of my favorites is how easy it is to keep track of a particular dog on the map screen. When you’re tracking a dog, that dog’s location always remains in the center of the screen. You don’t have to constantly pan across the map manually; the dog icon stays in the center of the screen and the screen automatically pans itself.
Now, I’ll often run two dogs together, typically a younger and older dog. To pick which dog I want to keep constant track of, I simply use the right-hand button and go down to the View Dog feature. I have my dogs’ names entered in the unit. For example, I have a dog named Reba and she’s keyed to the red collar. I just scroll down to Reba, represented by the red icon, and punch the button. Now I can see her location on the map at all times. Even if I put the Handheld away for a while and just listen to the voice updates, as soon as I take it out of my pocket, it only takes a glance to see her location on the map.
Speaking of the voice updates, that’s another feature I know a lot of hound guys are really thankful for. I set the Handheld to give me audible updates every two minutes, and that way I can hear how far a dog is, what direction she’s headed and how fast she’s moving, all without having to look down at the screen. I just keep it in my pocket and listen to it. My dog might be treed on the side of a ridge where I can’t hear her, and when the unit gives me my next update, I instantly know what’s going on.
The voice feature is also great for older hunters who wish they could join in the hunt but can’t move through the woods too well anymore. Maybe they’re limited to riding along and need to stay in the truck while the dogs are out. Well, even if there’s no way they can get to the tree, they can still turn on the Handheld and listen to the updates so they know what each dog is doing. I know a few folks in this situation and believe me, they think that voice feature is the greatest.
Superior Range and Map Detail
My TEK 2.0 unit has been incredibly reliable when it comes to range, too. Up here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, even with the thick foliage, I’ve never lost track of a dog. Not long ago one of my dogs treed 2.3 miles away and I had to figure out how to get to her. It’s times like that when you find out how good the map detail is, and I can tell you that on the TEK it’s fantastic. The map shows way more trails and creeks than any of the competitors’ units I’ve tried. This is a huge plus when you have a long, tough hike to get to the tree and you need to pick the best path to get there.
Coon hunting is challenging enough when you take into account that most of the time you’re in the dark, the terrain can be rough and, of course, it seems like your dog always trees in the toughest spot to get to. If you can overcome some of these obstacles with the use of a great tool like the TEK 2.0, why wouldn’t you? I guarantee you it’s one of the best investments a hound hunter can make.