Beepers For Hunting Dogs

There are two ways to find your dog while you’re hunting — by sound, or silence.

In the past, hunters have attached a bell to their dog’s collar so that they can keep track of the dog’s location as it hunts through the woods. This tried-and-true method has worked for decades, but it has one drawback — when the dog points, the bell stops making noise. The hunter must then locate the dog by trying to hone in on its approximate location the last time the bell was heard.

Newer technology brings grouse hunters the tone beepers, which can be added onto the dog’s training collar, and run with a transmitter. I use a Tri-tronics Sport G3 training collar, which came with a beeper. There are many types of training collars and beepers available; since I use a Tri-tronics I’ll describe its features, and these are similar to options available from other manufacturers.

Josey Wales on point with a beeper, training collar.

The beepers help you locate your dog in the grouse woods, and also help you find it when you’re out for pheasant on public or private lands — where you may share the area with a number of other hunters and dogs.

Range/Point, Point Settings
There are two settings — range/point and point — found inside the battery compartment. In the range/point mode, the beeper sounds once every five seconds while the dog is moving, and if the dog goes on point, the beeper sounds once every second. In the point mode, the beeper only sounds when the dog points.

In the range/point mode, you can also choose the type of beep you want to hear every five seconds while the dog is moving — single, double or triple beep. I normally just use the single beep. If you’re running more than one dog, you can set each to a different running tone. The volume control is either low or high, and you’ll need "high" as your hearing contends with the fall breeze blowing through drying foliage, and the patter of canine feet trotting through fallen leaves.

The once-every-second point tone option is a beep or a hawk scream — thought to help the dog hold the bird in place, since most bird species will freeze at the sound of a hawk. Although the hawk scream is a sound found naturally in the woods, my personal preference is the beep. With a dog on point, I’d rather hear a beep than a hawk scream once every second.

As with any addition to training equipment, you must introduce the beeper gradually. Start on low volume, and even at that setting you may wrap a piece of duct tape around a cotton ball you’ve stuffed into the beeper. Get the dog used to the sound before putting the beeper on the collar.

Place On Back Of Neck
The beeper should be located on the collar at the back of the dog’s neck. If you position it under his chin or on either side of his neck, you run the risk that the power switch get turned to “off” as the dog pushes through cover.

Josey Wales with Tri-Tronics Sport G3 electronic collar placed at the back of Josey’s neck.

Even with a beeper, one should still take precautions so that your dog will be returned to you if it gets lost. All dogs should be licensed, so someone who finds a dog wearing a license may call local officials (the county treasurer’s office in my area) to find the owner’s name. But, the county treasurer’s office is only open Monday through Friday during business hours. Add an identification tag that includes your name, home phone and cell phone number, with area codes (in case someone from out of the area finds your dog).

After all, safety for you and your hunting dog come first. Grouse and pheasant are bonus prizes.

For a fine assortment of Beepers, Training Collars, click here.

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