Posts Tagged ‘Garmin Astro’

The Garmin Alpha is a Pheasant Hunter’s Tool of Silence

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Izzy & Trammell show off the new Garmin Alpha

Garmin’s new Alpha merges a GPS tracking collar with an electronic dog training collar system. I have owned the Astro, Alpha’s predecessor, for two years and was excited to give Garmin’s new gizmo a field trial this week along the Rooster Road Trip.

I was, however, hesitant about one thing; there is no beeper feature with the Alpha for pointing dogs. I have religiously run a beeber / eCollar combo with my Astro for the audible comfort of knowing exactly where my pup was at any given moment. In essence, I was using Astro’s GPS tracker to ensure my ability to always find a lost dog, but in reality I was only utilizing a small percentage of the collar’s benefits. Enter the Alpha and the added comfort of eCollar control.

After three full days of running the Alpha, I can say without reservation I’ve enjoyed the silence. As I’ve become more comfortable with the easy-to-use Garmin receiver screen and control for the electronic training buttons, I’ve noticed the added quiet to our hunting. There is little doubt the added stealthiest is helping our chances in cornering wily roosters accustomed to the sound of beepers, car doors and other abnormal sounds.

The other awesome feature of the new Alpha is its ability to track other hunters with Alpha units.  In other words, I’ve known exactly where Anthony & Andrew have been even when we’ve hunted some big rolling Nebraska prairies simply by looking at my handheld Alpha.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing. Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

The Garmin Astro 320 Fits your Bird Dog Lifestyle

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

The Garmin Astro 320 easily helps me keep track of my bird dog, Trammell.

I admit that when it comes to technology, I’m a laggard.  I still buy CDs and don’t own an iPod.  As a music fanatic, I still believe in the artistry of a good album from track 1 to track 12 and believe the sale of songs one at a time is destroying  . . . ah, but I’m digressing. 


What I like about the Garmin Astro 320 the most is its versatility to shrink to fit my needs and obvious capacity to expand as I become increasingly comfortable with the Astro’s multitude of capabilities.  As I see it, there are three distinct stages of the Astro user’s evolution.


First Stage

If you consider the bird hunter’s hierarchy of needs, there are two things that rise to the top;

a) Find my way back to the truck and

b) Don’t lose my bird dog. 

For a technologically-challenged guy like me, the Garmin Astro earns straight A’s. 


Whether you’re prairie stomping for roosters or combing the ruffed grouse woods, it’s pretty easy to get turned around.  I mean people are getting lost in apple orchards and corn mazes these days, think about how easy it is to get lost on the rolling prairies.   But with an Astro in hand, the path back to my Ford is as easy as following Astro’s electronic bread crumbs.


The Astro’s ability to prevent a lost dog is even simpler than finding my way back to the truck with it.  Not sure which feature my wife prefers more, but I know she doesn’t let me leave for any Rooster Road Trip without the Astro in tow.


Second Stage

The Garmin Astro is made with the statistical exuberance of a Sabermetrics infatuated baseball fan.  You want to know how many miles you walked today?  Check.  Want to know how many miles your dog ran today?  Check.  Do you want to know how many quail you flushed in the covey on this spot a year ago?  Check.  If you’ve got questions, the Garmin Astro 320 has the answers.


Third Stage

Live in New Jersey, but want to do a little pre-season pheasant scouting in Lyon County, Iowa?  With Garmin’s Bird’s Eye View technology, you can download incredibly detailed, Google Earth-quality maps to your Garmin Astro 320.  Not only does Bird’s Eye View make it easier for you to follow the habitat contours of the land, you can even view public lands boundaries. 


Be sure to participate in the Rooster Road Trip Facebook trivia contest on Friday for your chance to win a Garmin Astro 320 of your own. 



Follow Pheasants Forever’s Rooster Road Trip 2011 at, on Facebook , YouTube, and Twitter (#rrt11). 


The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.