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Garmin Astro 900

photo: Garmin Astro 900 handheld gps receiver
Version reviewed: Astro 900 Dog Tracking Bundle

For training a hunting dog or just keeping track of a big dog who loves to run free, the Astro 900 coupled with the T-9 collar will allow you to find your best friend even when well out of sight. Without the collar the Astro 900 alone is the one GPS navigation system for just about anywhere you want to go outdoors.

Pros

  • Fantastic range
  • Rugged and durable
  • Standalone GPS
  • Programable training mode
  • Preloaded US and Canada maps
  • Upload additional maps
  • Long (20 hour) battery life
  • Expandable memory (Micro SD)
  • The one GPS for all things

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lots of learning for software

 

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Astro 900 handheld GPS with T-9 collar

If you are hunting with a dog or just enjoying some off-leash recreation with your four-footed friend there is always the chance that even the best trained dog can get lost. The Astro 900 GPS when linked to the T-9 dog collar makes far less likely to happen.

I rescued a one-year-old Irish Setter who had little to no training during his first year. I love to bike, hike, and run with my dog as a companion. I have always trained my dogs to stay close and come when called by whistle. Where I live there are thousands of acres of public woodlands and those woods are filled with deer, bear, coyotes, and other animals attractive to a dog's hunting instincts, so a dog needs to be well trained to come no matter the distraction.  This new dog needed to learn the rules that would earn him the off-leash freedom and I needed to be able to track and find him during the process.

The Astro 900 bundled with the T-9 collar was the perfect tool for the job. First, the range of the unit was far better than anything else on the market, able to locate the dog up to 9 kilometers away. The map based onscreen display allowed me to see where the dog was and provided a distance from me as well as a track log of his route. Both the collar and hand unit are rugged and waterproof, something my dog tested immediately and frequently. 

This device is also a training tool that will deliver a tone, vibrations, or a mild shock to the dog. The intensity of these training features can be programmed and adjusted on the handheld device. This feature is something that needs to be used carefully, especially the shock feature. If used improperly the shock feature can break the dog's spirit. Unless you have a great deal of experience with training dogs I suggest this feature be turned off. However it was useful for me to use to stop my setter from chasing deer.

 

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The Astro 900 comes pre-loaded with US and Canada topographical maps and can be used as a standalone GPS for any outdoor navigation needs. It can track your progress, post and find waypoints, and do everything a high quality GPS can do as well as share information with other Garmin Astro and Rhino units. Even if you don't have a dog the Astro 900 is one of the best handheld GPS units for any outdoor recreation, especially hunting.

One final example: We use these units to track our deerhounds during hunting season. Occasionally a hound does not return and we have a 100% success rate in tracking and finding the lost dogs even overnight and even when they get out of range. This may take some driving around and searching, but so long as the collar still has a charge they will eventually show up on the 900's screen when we get into range. Then it is just a matter of finding the best route to the dog and the maps make that a lot easier.

Experience

I own numerous GPS devices and this is the one unit that I can use for nearly everything. I have owned hunting dogs for over 50 years and have a good deal of experience with dog training.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $700

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Specs

Price Current Retail: $749.00
Historic Range: $449.99-$749.00
Reviewers Paid: $700.00
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