Astro 430, SportDOG TEK 2.0, or Dogtra Pathfinder?

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Astro 430, SportDOG TEK 2.0, or Dogtra Pathfinder?

Post by Troops159 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:23 pm

I am looking for a good tracking collar. I already have e-collars so all I need is the tracking feature.

I will be hunting with 2 GSPs and plan on running their current Dogtra e-collars and just add the GPS collar when we are out.

I have been looking mostly at the Astro 430 with the T 5 collar, which seems to have the best overall reviews, but I'm not sure if that's because it is the best or just the best proven. They also are offering a $100 mail in rebate until the end of the month, making it about $550 bundled with one collar.

I have read mixed reviews on the TEK 2.0, with some of them not having much good to say but those were also written shortly after it came out so I'm not sure if there has been updates and improvements since then? This one I have found for ~$600.

I have noticed a lot of people mentioning the Dogtra Pathfinder.. I am a little skeptical of this just because of the cell phone aspect and I have had some shady experiences with Bluetooth so I am a little hesitant to trust it. It also seems that a holding a cell phone and messing with a battery pack for it would be a huge hassle, plus I don't have a water proof phone... But the $400 price tag is more appealing..

Please tell me your experiences with any/all of the systems I have mentioned and any pros or cons that you know of.

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Re: Astro 430, SportDOG TEK 2.0, or Dogtra Pathfinder?

Post by mgrucker » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:06 am

I will be hunting with 2 GSPs and plan on running their current Dogtra e-collars and just add the GPS collar when we are out.
Do you really want to carry two remotes with you? I already had Sportdog ecollars but decided to go with the Garmin Alpha anyways for hunting. When you are holding a gun having to fumble between two controllers is no fun. With either the Alpha or TEK you would have everything in one controller and could still use your Dogtra ecollars when you don't need the tracking, that's what I do for training or going to the park for example.

The main reason I went with the Alpha (this would apply to Astro too) over the TEK was mapping support. You have a variety of map chips that can be added to Garmin handhelds, it's just like any other Garmin handheld GPS. On mine I have the Garmin HuntView chip installed which shows a lot of detail about hunting areas. In MN, where my chip is for, it has state WMAs and federal WPAs. I was able to download WIA data from the DNR and add that to the map myself. It also does routable driving directions so I can pick a spot on the map and it will tell me how to get there. Maybe that's a third thing you don't have to take with you?

I've never use the Dogtra but I didn't even really consider that one and I do have a waterproof phone. Do you really want to not be able to use your system because it's sprinkling out? Even with a waterproof phone (I have an S8 currently) the screen doesn't respond well at all when it's wet. I like having physical buttons for the stimulation which both the Alpha and TEK have. I would think the battery life is going to be an issue depending on how often you have the screen on.

That comes off like I'm a Garmin rep but really I just thought about it for a long time and determined the Alpha was really the best system with the least drawbacks. The price is a tough pill to swallow for sure though. I think once you get it though you'll be glad you did.

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Re: Astro 430, SportDOG TEK 2.0, or Dogtra Pathfinder?

Post by oldbeek » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:51 pm

I like the instant use of a separate e collar. Love my 430. would never be without one again. Had a tek 2 it is a little heavier. My 38 lb dog did not like it. With out a Garmin, you know your dog is way out there. But you do not know the dog is going basically in a straight line into the wind. You call the dog back. The dog was on birds and getting ready to point. Without the Garmin, you just missed a covey. Buy one now. You will never regret it. Life is short.

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Re: Astro 430, SportDOG TEK 2.0, or Dogtra Pathfinder?

Post by gonehuntin' » Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:00 am

I love my Astro's and have nothing bad to say about them. I've used them since their inception. The Alpha is another story. It is a poorly thought out piece of crap IF YOU RUN MORE THAN ONE DOG. It is touch screen so when hunting in the cold with gloves, it is difficult at best to switch between dog's and it's pretty easy to issue a correction to the wrong dog. Unless you utilize the screen lock feature, it is always switching screens on you so you try to issue a correction and you're on the wrong screen and have to get back to the tracking screen. If you use screen lock, then you first have to unlock the screen then do what you want with the dog. All valuable time lost. Had Garmin simply left the screen toggle on and forgot their damned touch screen it would be a good unit. As it is, it's a piece of crap. Wth one dog it works fine, but with multiple dog's it's worthless and don't let anyone tell you it isn't. Glad I kept my 320's as backups. The Alpha was an $1,100.00 waste of my money.

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Re: Astro 430, SportDOG TEK 2.0, or Dogtra Pathfinder?

Post by kcbullets » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:57 pm

I've been using the Garmin Astro for 3 years with no problems. I wouldn't hunt a dog anymore without one.

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