I usually run two dogs at a time. I like big running, independent bird dogs. That can be a problem when the bird numbers are low and they have to stretch out to find them. You can have dogs hundreds of yards away going in the opposite direction.
GPS collars have changed the way we hunt. Most of the change is good. My dogs don’t really get “lost.” Sure they can be a long way out, but you know where they are the majority of the time. You also get pretty confident that you can find them no matter how far they run. It’s just a matter of getting to the truck and getting them picked up.
I’m not sure if that confidence is good.
I have found a few things that these dog’s do once the realize that you are not with them and they are “lost.”
They come find you.
This is preferred. I like a dog that checks in on a regular basis. I don’t need to see them the entire time but I want to see them often.
Run in circles in the same general area trying to locate you.
This can be ok but you are going to have to go get this dog. They seldom come out of it on their own.
They stop and stay in one spot.
Tilley does this on a regular basis. She’s waiting to hear me call or hear a whistle. This tends to be helpful in my opinion. One time she did this in the middle of an uncut corn field. Hands down the creepiest moment I’ve ever had going into it to get her out. Children of the corn playing in my head the entire time.
It’s also preferable to the next one.
Panic running in a straight line.
This is seldom good but it’s easy to see on the map screen. As long as they are not headed in an unsafe direction it’s ok but I want to get them picked up ASAP. There are not many places when this dog won’t eventually run into a road or get so far off property that picking them up becomes an issue.
The only thing that’s worse that all of these is a dog going on “point” at an unreasonable distance and staying on “point” for a long period of time. It especially bad if it’s close to a road.
The “point” indicator on these GPS units will even tell you that your dog is “on point” but he’s not.
He’s stopped. That’s all the point indicator means. It’s a motion sensor. It means your dog is stopped. Maybe he’s on point but it’s also possible that he hit a road and got run over by a truck. The collar has stopped moving so the motion sensor activates and you get a “dog on point” notification.
It will raise your heart rate when a young dog that isn’t steady but holds a point for 15 minutes while you drive to pick them up.
All sorts of bad things will go through your head. I’ve done it more than once. It’s the one time where I’m happy to see a dog come “off point” on my handheld.