Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: California and South Dakota
Re: Love the Garmin Astro320 - Favorite features anyone??
We use the Alpha extensively, both the 320 and the newer 430. In fact, we don't put a dog out to work without one.
The main functions we use are direction and distance, and checking the track for total distance covered during a run/hunt.
The other aspect I really like is that in South Dakota there is a lot of public ground. Fish and Game has downloadable maps that we load into the handheld, so we can see exactly where an open piece of ground is, or is not. Hugely valuable when afield and in scouting.
The third most used function - marking the truck. Doesn't seem like it would really be necessary, but take a cloudy day where you can't tell where the sun is and go out in the rolling prairie - it's easier than one would think to be heading the wrong way.
The main advantage of the 430 - twice as fast refresh rate as the 320.
It is very easy to become highly dependent on them though - to the point one is watching a screen instead of watching the dog. When running the dog we use ours only for location purposes of the dog and to verify we are where we think we are. We need to always be training ourselves to keep track of the dog with our eyes, ears and intuition - as when you pull a tracker in competition, you're out of competition.
Knowledge and tools all help in training your dog, but have no worth whatsoever if one does not get up and actually go train.