Handheld GPS

Discussion in 'Upland Game hunting, Dogs and dog training' started by donald1, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. donald1

    donald1

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    I'm relatively new to upland bird hunting. I don't have a dog, and that's ok. I just enjoy busting brush, and getting an occasional shot. My wife gets nervous having me hunting alone, and is insisting I get a handheld GPS. So what's a good entry level unit for me to look at? Most of my hunting is done in the Northern Lower and once or twice a year in the U.P.
     
  2. birdhntr

    birdhntr

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    I would take a compass class which I was going to do but the evening classes at the community education center are on hold.I would like to understand how to use my compass properly because it always works as it doesn't rely on a power source.My astro 430 tracks so I use it occasionally in new territory when I go exploring.
    If you plan on getting a dog in the future you could get one.Then you wouldn't buy a similar product twice
    Smart watches also have capabilities for this.
    This one is popular and has good reviews Screenshot_20201017-052905_Chrome.jpg
     
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  3. FullQuiver

    FullQuiver

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    Just use your phone. They are a handheld GPS and with one of several apps available offer many flexible features.

    Btw, no cell coverage is necessary for your gps features to work. Plus with Apps like Onx you can preload maps of areas you intend to hunt and have even detailed land ownership, forestry activities, fire history, topography among other features.. Handheld GPS really don't have any upsides to your phone. IMHO...
     
  4. wpmisport

    wpmisport

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    This is interesting. So you do not need cell coverage for these apps to work? You are not using any data when you leave this app running all day? Thanks.
     
  5. FullQuiver

    FullQuiver

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    If you download maps to your phone when you have WiFi and then only use your location services while out hunting then yes you won't be using data all day and they work great.. I would highly recommend that you look into the features of apps like Huntstand, Onx or other similar apps.. I use Hunstand here in MI but because of additional features I use Onx when I go out west hunting.. I only pay for 1 year at a time..
     
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  6. RCA DOGS

    RCA DOGS

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    I have the easiest GPS unit out there. Bushnell Backtrack. The size of a compass. You hold a button down for a couple seconds when you leave the truck to mark it, and it just has a constant arrow pointing the direction of the marked area and distance. No mapping or courses. I love the simplicity of it and it was like $65 when I bought it
     
  7. michiganmaniac

    michiganmaniac

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    This seems like a great thing. Im going to look into it for myself.
     
  8. PunyTrout

    PunyTrout Staff Member Mods

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    I bought a Garmin map64 similar to the one pictured above about 5 or 6 years ago. It has never failed me yet.

    I got some rechargeable AA eneloop batteries and they are still working great. Overall. their device works great but their mapping software Garmin uses is not very good IMO. They have probably improved it since I used it last though. YMMV.

    There are too many places that qualify as 'woods' that don't have cellular service yet. If you're using a phone, without proper planning and preparation of downloading the correct maps, you might find yourself out of luck precisely when you need it most.


    I have found that the Garmin customer support via their 800 phone number is fantastic for helping trouble shoot issues or answer questions about how to use the device.
     
  9. Trout Gun

    Trout Gun

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    Love the Bushnell Backtrack. However, mine recently fell out of my vest and is now lost. It's better than a cell phone because it was only ~$50. Replacing a cell phone will be much more expensive. I've looked to replace my Backtrack, but I don't think they make them anymore. Bushnell has an updated product, but it has more bells and whistles and cost more. If anyone runs into Backtrack, please share how to get one.
     
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  10. Stand By

    Stand By

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    In the mean time, you could hit a surplus store or gun show and look for a vendor with a supply of army training manuel's that may have one for compass and land navigation. The concept isn't difficult. You may see references to military compasses that use both mils and degrees. They both work exactly the same, only mils being more accurate for targeting purposes as there are 6400 mils in a circle rather than just 360 degrees. Degrees are accurate enough for navigating that the infantry still uses them. If you really want to be off the grid, get a lensatic compass with tritium. Not cheap, but no batteries required. Just a quick Google search and I've seen a couple navigation directions geared for the layman that are sufficient. But you can carry the training manual with your map for a reference. Also, it's not vital to declinate your compass in michigan as the difference between magnetic north and true north is only a few degrees. Just double check that your needle isn't always pointing to your gun barrel. ; )

    Also- a good thing to learn is your pace count. Mark off a 100 meters or yards and walk it at your normal pace three times. That's your average pace count. Keep pace beads, make a pencil mark, or tie a knot in a string for every 100 yards / meters you walk.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
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  11. Gamekeeper

    Gamekeeper

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    No NO F NO!
    One forget to turn off your phone, and it's dead in a couple hrs.

    Get a cheap Garmin Etrex on Ebay, change the batteries once a season, and learn how to mark the truck. 60$ max, with topo maps and micro sd card

    You get a cheap gps, and I'll teach you right here now to be a data centered grouse hunter.

    My GPS12xl (old serial interface unit) is still keeping me safe worldwide since 1995.
    Etrex's are small, and battery efficient.
     
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  12. Stand By

    Stand By

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    Agree. People think because they have satellite view on map that they are getting a satellite signal. Everything is off a tower. The further the tower, the quicker the battery is used up. If no signal, the phone will always be trying to affiliate with nothing.

    Airplane mode with a down loaded map would be better if you need to refer to the map, but obviously you wouldn't have your location tracked.
     
  13. RCA DOGS

    RCA DOGS

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  14. 6Speed

    6Speed Premium Member

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    Learning to use a map and compass like mentioned here and above is the best way to go if you spend anytime outdoors. A GPS can fail but a compass won't. The pace counters are part of land navigation and I still keep my ranger beads hanging on my truck mirror and another set in my hunting vest (see the picture and you can buy a set for less than $10 or make your own, instructions are on the web).

    My handheld GPS is a 15 year old Garmin that tracks. I've never had a reason to buy a new one and my model is obsolete now so there's no point in posting it. Screenshot_20201017-114924~2.jpeg
     
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  15. shaffe48b

    shaffe48b

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    One way not to get lost is one or two 3 dollar compasses from Wal-Mart and a general direction to a catching feature such as a road. It can still be challenging when there are several roads or trails in the area.

    I know how to navigate with a map and compass but this is a dated technique and not all that applicable to bird hunting. It involves knowing both your location and destination on a map using terrain association, shooting and walking straight line azimuths, and keeping a pace count. Good luck.

    A gps could be used for mapping but I am one of those that mostly uses a smartphone. There is a wide range of inexpensive, detailed, and easy to use apps these days. I rely primarily on a gps for navigation when I am in the true wilderness and inclement weather.
     
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