How to Match Your E-Collar to Your Hunting ConditionsPosted by Tom Keer
One of my dogless hunting buddies lives in the city. He's the guy who has all the new gadgets. I kidded him about all his new toys and he tried to explain it like this; he said he’s an “early technology adaptor.” Say what? In my “bird hunter's English,” I figure that means he buys new gadgets as soon as they come out. I told him I still have a flip phone, and he muttered something under his breath. But just because I didn't splurge on the latest smart phone, doesn't mean momma raised a fool.
In my own way, I’m an “early technology adaptor,” too. For me, it came when I bought a SportDOG Brand TEK 2.0 tracking and training e-collar. Up until then, my go-to collar had been a SportHunter® SD-825X, and as a grouse and woodcock hunter, it served me and my cover dogs well. I spend most of my fall in the uplands and lowlands of New Brunswick, Canada, and New England, and my dogs work within bell range. In the winter, I'll hunt quail in the fields from Virginia to South Carolina. This November, I'm headed to Kansas for the first time, and boy am I psyched.
I wanted a big running dog for the quail fields, so I got setter named Albert. When Albert hits the ground, he covers it with a purpose, and that means he's out of sight looking for birds in a hurry. In the flat fields, I can see him a long way away, but when I turn him loose in the rolling hills and tight cover at home, it's hard to keep up with him. Sometimes when the wind rips through the hillsides and valleys, he can't pinpoint my whistle blast.
Last year, I figured there had to be a better way. There was, and that's why I bought a TEK 2.0. The collar has been a game changer. I no longer need to fret when he disappears, because I can look down at my handheld and find him on the screen. I can use the topo map to work him through the coverts, and use it to find our way back to the truck. If I'm on the upside of a saddle and he's on the downside, then I know he'll hear my whistle when I get to the top. Because of the TEK 2.0, last year was our best season ever – it was easy breezy lemon squeezy.
Matching an e-collar to the way your dog works cover enhances your hunting experience. My cover dogs get their SportHunter® 825X's and old Albert, well, he gets the TEK 2.0. And, if I can't see him in the Carolina broomstraw and Johnson grass, I look down at the screen. In my own way, the TEK 2.0 has made me an early technology adaptor. It's just not the way my buddy from the city thinks.
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer, columnist and blogger who regularly writes for over a dozen outdoor magazines. He owns The Keer Group, a full-service, outdoor marketing company and hunts and fishes with his wife and children. Don't hold it against him, but he's a setter guy. Visit him at...
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