VALCO GPS in a dog test
Author Valco Laboratoriot
Everyone knows that, as in any hobby considered manly, it's the gear that counts when it comes to hunting. The story goes that at the end of the hunt, around the campfire, there's always a comparison of gear, and the more expensive the goretex suit, the more accurate the binoculars or the finer the radar collar on the dog, the bigger the hunter's legroom feels.
But there's always that honda man in the group (from the advertisement), who goes his own way. The honda man buys the product that gives the best value for money and quality. He doesn't have to measure inches with others.
We at VALCO Laboratories don't have our own dog, so we asked the "Hondaman" to share his experiences of using VALCO's GPS tracker:
Ransu's new GPS
"Right off the bat, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the sub-$100 GPS pan. Ransu, a less than a year old upright dog, is getting used to his first walks in the woods and I have been looking for a suitable tracker to keep track of his journey in the woods.
Initially I looked for the most commonly used collars by hunters, but the price was an immediate concern. There is no way I would be willing to put more than €500 into a collar and commit to ongoing licence fees to get a picture of how Ransu is moving in the forest with me.
There were no problems installing the device and with the help of the Finnish instructions, getting it up and running was really easy: prepaid in and the machine up and running, a couple of texts and it was done. I chose the motion detection setting because I want the device to wake up when Ransu starts moving.
After a bit of training, I realised how easy it is to use the mobile app to track how Ransu moves around me in the forest.
It amused me how a few guys looked down their noses when I told them how inexpensive the device was to track Ransu's movements. The comments were, in this wonderland of equipment sports, that you shouldn't put such cheap "china" around your dog's neck.
Why not, if it works and does the job?
I tested the functionality of the collar in wet weather, when the dog was pushing along wet cloths. I think the dog got wet more than the collar. We've now tried the collar in just about every type of forest we can find in these parts.
It has worked well, and the collar has not been overrun by water fowl. We've searched for woodland chickens for a puppy pystis, run into a few deer, given them a bit of a run for their money and still stayed on the map.
What I missed most was some sort of bark detection. This now shows the location, route and distance travelled, but you can't, for example, call it and hear if the dog is barking. For me, though, the most important thing is to know where Ransu is going without paying myself to be sick.
It remains to be seen how the battery will last in freezing temperatures, but even then I think it will easily last me the whole day, as it seems to be enough for a couple of days now. Of course, the map app could be a bit better.
I still think that for an investment of more than 500€, I should get real-time drone imagery with a game guarantee, otherwise the price per kilo for small game is pretty hefty. I wonder if the Valco boys could find a drone following a dog somewhere. That would be an interesting project.
When I got home, I had a quick overview of how Ransu had got around me, convenient and less than a hundred kilometres away, using a map app."