Conkey's Outdoors Blog

Understanding Your Garmins Tracking Distance

Bruce Conkey on 3/10/2020 @ 8:27am

One thing I have always been confused about is not the distance we get out of these systems. But the difference in distance most guys get. Distance that I get is the first indication of a problem happening in most cases. Getting a good base line of how your system is working and then using it and comparing that baseline to its performance. Gives the owner a lot of insight into just what he should expect and if something is going wrong. I am fortunate to deal with a lot of people so I get a lot of information. Most is depressing to me on the performance of their system. But it is acceptable to them because that is all they ever saw or understood to be the norm. I have never hunted mountains or big hills so I don't have experience in those areas but I do know the affect of those conditions. I hunt flat land with heavy vegetation and cover. 

I think it would be a good idea for everyone that gets a system. Instead of handing it to the wife or kids to go plug it into the computer and download a bunch of stuff that in most cases leads to problems. Take it and do some testing so you know just what you have right out of the box. Hang the collar in a tree or bush about the height of a dogs neck off the ground. About 2 foot works good. Lay it on the ground or hand it 6 foot high and you get a big difference in range. Then drive away in a few different directions. Don't lay your handheld on your center counsel. Have it by the window. Stop a few times and get out of the truck and see if the signal strength increases or decreases. I watch the collar information page and watch the signal strength. Once you loose the collar, then drive back but watch what is happening and when you pick the collar back up. Most cases you have to get closer than where you lost it at but not all the time. I compare it to stretching a rubber band. Once the signal breaks you need to get closer to grab it and start stretching it again. 

What got me thinking about this today is yesterday I was testing some results of a couple repair jobs. I just did my normal thing but when I got back to the store looking at the results a customer I know was in there and asked what I was doing. I shared some of the distance information I had and his first remark was. I get about half of that. I hear that all the time. I went to his truck and looked at his equipment. Collar antenna was chewed up. He had quick connects on his antennas. Plus the antenna on his handheld wasn't one I consider the best. Test your systems and get to know them and learn just how the placement of the handheld in your truck in the truck can make a difference. Learn about how you get on the other side of a radio tower or high voltage power line changes things. This is not magic but there are actual reasons for most people not getting the most out of their systems. 

Before you all ask. Here is what I expect. Out of the box with the short antenna. I expect .8 to 1 mile. With the longer antenna I expect 1.2 to 1.5 miles With some of the better aftermarket antennas. 1.2 to 1.7 miles on the handheld. 1.5 seems to be a good average. With the garmin 18" truck antenna I expect 2 miles and in most cases get 3 miles. With a good Tram.Browning truck antenna. I expect 5 miles but in most cases 6-7 miles. 

Not all antennas are created equal. I tested one several years ago when it first came out that people raved about. I cut it apart checked it out several ways and I saw no difference in it and the short black one that comes with the system. About a year later a buddy said he saw the same antenna that his buddy had but it worked good. I got one and cut it apart. The maker of it decided to make it better. The put a coil that match the frequency and I is now my favorite antenna. For general short range of about 1-1.2 miles. Here is another thing about range. When I coonhunt at night. I want and can stand all the range I get. When I am out deer hunting and the woods are full of other groups of hunters. I actually only want but about a mile to 1.5 miles. I don't want to pick up their dogs 3 miles away and interfere with my group of dogs. I know we all look at this stuff different but I am just sharing in hopes it can help someone understand and learn their system.


Garmin Repair/Replacement Info and Pricing

Bruce Conkey on 3/4/2020 @ 7:31am

NOTE: Information for US customers. Other countries may have different pricing or process. 

As most of you know. Garmin has a repair/replacement program on the items they sell. The process can be handled through several channels. 
All Garmin Products have a one year warranty. I highly encourage if you have any issues with your product, don't let it set on a table broke and the warranty run out. In most cases warranty repair can be handled two ways. If you purchased from a Garmin Dealer, that would be the place I would first go to. It would probably be quicker and a lot easier. If you want to go through Garmin then you can call them at one of several numbers. I prefer  1-800-800-1020.  Easy to remember and always got good service. Be prepared to give the serial number of the item you are having issues with. 
Next thing is many think they repair your product and send it back. I don't think I have every had the same product returned to me or a customer. It has always been product with a different serial number and it looks brand new. That is important because when dealing with Garmin you don't want to send in anything with new collar straps on it or map cards in it or any accessories. You won't get them back. Ask the representative you're working with about stripping the item down and they can share with you what to do. The cost to repair/exchange items has just went up the 1st of March 2020. I will attach a copy of the new pricing to this thread. Now these are Garmin's pricing but sometimes circumstances allow the representative on the phone to work with you some. 
Also some dealers offer repair/exchange on items out of warranty. So you can check with your favorite dealer before going to Garmin if you prefer. 
Some items over a period of time, Garmin will remove form the repair/exchange list. Then outside repair is needed. The list attached includes the items they currently exchange and repair along with pricing. 
Hopes this helps some understand the process.

NOTE:  The pricing on the DriveTrack 70 and 71 did not change and were not included on the price sheet.  They are handled the same way and are $130

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Helpful Tips for Recharging Your Hunting Dog

Small Business SEO on 11/13/2019 @ 10:05am

Helpful Tips for Recharging Your Hunting Dog

If you are a hunter, there’s a good chance you are more mobile today than you have ever been in the past. Chances are, you don’t think twice about loading up all your hunting dogs and taking them on the road to a new and exciting location.

While these extended trips are the perfect opportunity to make some great memories, it is important that you remember your canine hunting companions need a chance to recharge from time to time. Some tips you can use to help your dog’s recharge can be found here.

Make Sure They are Well Hydrated

Did you know that proper hydration can help to speed up recovery time more than any other factor? Similar to people, a dog’s body is made up of about 70 percent water, which is necessary for certain functions such s flushing toxins, regulating body temperature, and taking nutrients to any fatigued muscles.

However, unlike people, a dog’s average body temperature is 102 degrees, which makes proper hydration even more important. When you are traveling to new areas to hunt, make sure you keep plenty of extra water with you.

Also, to ensure your dog’s recover as quickly as possible, make sure to give your dogs water as soon as you return from a hunt. The only time you shouldn’t do this is if your dog goes straight to the water dish and drinks it all until it is gone. If a dog gulps down too much water, it can cause stomach issues.

Give Your Dog a Once-Over

When in the woods, your dog can encounter an array of issues such as cockleburs, thistles, barbed wire, and brush. Their fur may also mask some injuries. This is why you need to give your dog a pat down with your hands to find if there are any irregularities. Take the time to go over every inch of the dog’s body.

Take Some Time to Play   

Even dogs can suffer mental fatigue. This is often an issue for working dogs who are performing over longer periods of time, which can result in impaired focus and bad behaviors.

You should make sure to make a habit of playing with your hunting dogs to give them stimulation without the stress of having to perform. You can even provide them with a chew toy or bone. By playing with your dogs regularly, you are also going to form a stronger bond with your dogs, which is going to be beneficial when hunting.

Keeping Your Dogs Happy and Healthy

Remember, your dog’s metabolism will work much faster than a person. You need to make sure they are eating, drinking, and resting well to remain healthy.

While this may seem like common sense, it’s easy to overlook these recommendations after a long day of hunting. The most important thing you can do is to establish a routine with your dogs and always stick to it. This is going to ensure your dogs know what to expect and that they won’t suffer any of the issues mentioned above.

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