Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The New Garmin DC30

I've been running one of the new DC30's for a couple weeks now, and this past weekend ran two in "hunting situations." In short, the system works pretty well. There are, however, a couple things that you, the pointing dog enthusiast, can do to make the system work better for you.

1. Change the alert setting to tone 6 (EDIT: TONE 8). I think this particular tone is the easiest to hear, as it's a longer chirping sound.

2. Keep the Astro 220 handy. That does not mean in a backpack, hunting vest, etc. I keep mine on my chest, mounted to the strap on my vest. This gives you quick access to the screen, and allows you to hear the alert of a pointing dog more easily.

3. Change the dog type on each DC20 or DC30 to "pointing dog." I've noticed that in the Auto mode it can sometimes tell me a pointing dog is sitting. In "pointing dog" mode, it could report a defacating or resting dog as pointing, but at least then you get an alert. In the Auto mode, if it reported a pointing dog as sitting, the alert would not be sounded.

4. Be sure to pay close attention to the compass in the "dog" screen. If the arrows seem to be indicating any sort of inacurracy, then be sure to calibrate the compass. It only takes 30 seconds, and can be done quickly in the field while your worm burner is making a long cast down a treeline. Properly calibrated, the unit is very accurate, scary accurate, and has walked me right up the nose of pointing setters in thick cover. I have a few more pheasant tails in my fly tying bin to show for it.

The above being said, I expect pracitcal range for an eastern type bird hunter to be around 500 yards, depending on the countour of the land. I haven't found that heavily wooded areas decrease the range, but hills do. I put the DC30 on a dog while bikejoring, and even with a clear line of site (no trees), the Astro lost contact after we crested a hill 700 yards away. On the prairies, I have tracked dogs beyond 900 yards with the DC20 before I got them turned, and the DC30 should be better.

I think the newer unit should probably be more durable, the only possible weak spot being the antenna. However, it is long and thin, and I think will stand up to any wear and tear my dogs could ever expose them to, and Ike consistently hunts the early season with blood all over his face and chest--that's just the nature of the beast when you put together a hard-running dog with thick cover.

Kudos to Garmin for making the end of the nylon collar pointed. It makes working with that thick nylon much easier.

1 comment:

Shawn K. Wayment, DVM said...

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