The SportDOG Brand TEK 2.0 e-collar and tracking unit has turned out to be a fantastic addition to my training tools. I train my Mountain Curs hard year round. During the hottest summer days, I train first thing in the morning, and then again in the evening. I’ve been using the TEK 2.0 for more than a year, on an almost-daily basis, and it’s really improved my training and hunting. Let me explain why it works so well for me.
This comment is going to sound a bit strange to some hunters who use GPS units, but here goes: Once we get into the woods, I put the Handheld in my pocket and I rarely look at it again. The reason for that is the voice feature. It really simplifies things. Instead of checking the screen on the Handheld again and again like I used to do, I let the TEK 2.0 give me audible updates on the status of my dog. I always keep a compass on my watchband, and when the TEK unit tells me how far away and in what direction my dog is, I just glance down at my compass and head toward him.
I have friends who are still constantly looking down at their GPS to try and figure out where their dogs are. I think the way I do it is a lot easier and lets me get a fix on my dog’s position more quickly. That’s not to say I never look at the screen. If I need to check the map to find a creek or orient myself to a road, the Handheld is right there to help me.
Now, some hound or beagle guys who hunt lots of dogs at once might not think the voice feature is that big of an advantage. When their dogs are hot on a track and within earshot, I understand that. But my Mountain Curs hardly ever bark. They might bark five or six times when they’re on a track and getting close to treeing, but mainly they’re not barking until they’ve got a squirrel or coon treed. Also, I’m typically hunting one cur dog at a time. Sometime I’ll put a pup with an older dog, but most of the time I’m just hunting with a single dog.
Another piece of information the TEK 2.0 broadcasts is the speed at which my dog is moving. This is really helpful. When I cut a dog loose, and he’s takes off out of sight, he could be hunting anywhere from 100 to 1,000 yards away. That dog could end up off to one side or maybe even behind me.When that dog is out of sight and if he’s not making any noise, I have no idea how much ground he’s covering or how hard he’s hunting unless I’ve got the Handheld telling me what’s going on out there.
I’m also really impressed with the signal strength of this unit. Where I hunt, there’s lots of thick pines and mixed timber. I’ve had a dog tree very deep in the cover, where I couldn’t hear him, but the Handheld told me he was treed. Instead of busting through the thick stuff to get to him, it was easier to go back out to a road and cut to him from another direction using the map feature.
For me, the voice and map features on the TEK 2.0 have taken the advantage of using a tracking unit to the next level during both training and hunting. It’s a great way to get the most out of your time in the woods.