Jump to content

Making The Garmin Alpha Leap?

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, Flush said:


Just completely depends on the terrain, and yes it can be with the extended antenna. I often (but not always) use the extended antenna and it certainly does help. There are also aftermarket antennas for the collars too that are longer, and they help a little bit too. 

In some country, like rolling prairie country, I will have no problem keeping constant contact with the dogs all the way past a mile. Not that I usually let them roll that far, but you know how it goes... But in more broken country you just can't seem to stay in contact consistently past say 600 or so no matter the antennas. The worst by far is chukar country, which I hunt quite a bit.


I know a lot of grouse guys worry about overhead tree cover with gps reception but in my experience trees are a non-issue with the new GPS systems. The issue I have is solely the radio comm between the collar and the handheld, and the trees don't seem to effect that much. 


By far the biggest issue is when I'm down in a deep canyon and the dogs are in the next canyon over and there is a lot of earth and/or rock between you and the dog. I know Doug has the same issue in chukar country with Garmins, I don't even think he uses a Garmin anymore, just sticks with a Tracker.



Great information from all...thanks.  My cover in NH is pretty tight.  Lots of broom handle cover that you could not fall over in if you tried.  I think running an astro and my dogtra T&B's might be where I'm leaning.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been using the Alpha for 3-4 seasons now and while it's a good tool a couple of experiences this year have me questioning if a setup with an Astro and a separate training collar might be better.  With two dogs it's damned easy to get them mixed up.  I missed a great opportunity to break my youngster on a porcupine because of it.


With my Astro I was able to fit both the e-collar and the tracker on the same collar strap.  If possible that'd be the best way, though it might be harder with something other than the old DC40.  The GPS antenna might get in the way on the new collars.


The biggest negative about both Alpha and Astro is that they don't alert you to when the dog comes OFF point--you have to look at the thing which I don't want to do when I get close to the dog.  In thick cover without a beeper or bell there is no way to know if the dog is relocating etc.--critical information--without looking at the screen at the worst possible time.


I think I'll make this suggestion to Garmin, but bird hunters are not the big part of the tracker market for  them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Dave Erickson

I bought one not too long after they came out and at that time I was overwhelmed by it and sent it back. Not to long after that my wife and I made the leap from clamshell cell phones to iPhones and somewhere in that time frame we were issued iPads at work, so I became familiar with swiping screens , etc.


So 3 years ago I reordered an Alpha and it was much easier to comprehend and I love it. Mine is used primarily for pheasant hunting. I appreciate the the point alert (also have the Fenix watch) and general safety it provides in knowing where your dog is at a glance. Another big benefit for me is it keeps me from overhanding my dogs. If my dog has been out of sight for some time rather than reflexively hacking with my whistle or tone recall I can see what's up with the Alpha, and most of the time the dog is on the way back, or maybe he's working a specific area hard and I'd better get over that way. It's enhanced the trust.


I set the three physical buttons to: tone, nick, and hot.


The one thing that annoys me a little is the locked screen pop-up. That would be better served by either having an "L" in the corner of the screen, or a MUCH briefer pop-up. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve been running one for some years now. First an Astro and for the last 3 or so, the Alpha.

I wouldn’t want to be without it.

For my needs, the stim and tone stuff is perfect.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...