Last Updated on September, 2023
Imagine NOT having to run at your hunting dog’s pace.
Imagine knowing where your dog is ALL THE TIME during a hunting trip.
Imagine having all of these features for a flat one-time payment.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg of benefits you get with GPS tracking collars explicitly made for dog tracking.
I buy these trackers, test them on my own, and decide whether the tracker deserves to go on the list.
Below are my 7 top picks for the best GPS tracking collars for hunting dogs.
Table of Contents
- Best GPS Tracking Systems for Hunting Dogs
- 1. Garmin Astro 430 T 5X Dog Tracking Bundle (Editor’s Choice)
- 2. Garmin Alpha 200 + TT™ 15X Combo (#2nd Best Choice)
- 3. Sportdog TEK Series 2.0 GPS + E-Collar (#3rd Best Choice)
- 4. Dogtra Pathfinder 2 GPS Dog Tracker + E-Collar
- 5. Garmin Astro 900 Dog Tracking Bundle
- 6. Dogtra Pathfinder TRX
- 7. Garmin Pro 550 Plus/TT 15 Mini Bundle
- Telemetry Dog Tracking Systems vs GPS Dog Tracker
- Smartphone App vs Handheld GPS Trackers
- Benefits of GPS Trackers for Hunting
- Top Factors to Consider When Buying a Hunting Collar
- In Conclusion
Best GPS Tracking Systems for Hunting Dogs
For the record, I bought thirteen collars altogether to review. But I thought about saving you time.
That’s why I’m presenting you with the most cost-effective dog-hunting GPS trackers with better features.
1. Garmin Astro 430 T 5X Dog Tracking Bundle (Editor’s Choice)
Garmin is a company based in the USA with a long history of GPS trackers since 1989.
This device comes with the Garmin handheld locator and the T5x collar.
Let’s first look at the dimensions, communication range, and precision & accuracy.
The handheld locator:
- Height: 6.3″
- Width: 2.4’’
- Depth: 1.4″
- Weight: 9.02 oz (with batteries)
I clearly felt that the knurling design is not too rough and smooth; just right.
The collar with one-inch collar strap:
- Height: 1.75″
- Width: 3.5’’
- Depth: 1.85″
- Weight: 6.6 oz (with optional NiMH pack or two standard AA (not included))
The dimensions are more than satisfactory andi it fits dogs with a minimum neck size of 9.5 inches in circumference.
The Garmin Astro 430 works all over the world. However, the communication range depends on the collar.
So, if you chose the T5x collar, the maximum communication range is 9 miles. If you chose the T5x mini, the range is only 5 miles.
This tracker uses GPS, GLONASS, and radio frequency for live tracking. Garmin said their accuracy was up to 12 feet, and guess what I did?
I checked it myself, and they’re not lying.
The location updating speed of the tracking is 2-2.5 seconds — this is real-time tracking in the context of GPS trackers.
You can track up to 20 dogs at once. So, I know it is good news for hunting dog owners with multiple hunting dogs.
Now about the battery, resistance capacity, mapping, geofencing, and UI & memory aspects.
Garmin’s battery lasts for 20 hours, and that’s pretty decent for a high-functioning hunting dog tracker.
There’s no point in a GPS hunting dog tracker if they cannot withstand the harsh environments.
That’s why the Garmin Astro 430’s handheld locator comes with the IPX7 rating (submersible up to 1.5m).
The T5x collar has the 1 ATM rating (submersible up to 10m).
In terms of its mapping, there are TopoActive maps with a base map, and you can also add Garmin-supported maps.
Geofencing features allow you to draw safe zones using points on the map, and you get an alert if the pet crosses the boundary.
The locator’s 65-K color TFT display is 2.15 inches in height and 1.43 inches in width.
The collar units come with LED light beacons so that you can spot them at distances closer than 12 feet.
You can use a memory card for storage of up to 4GB, in terms of memory.
Now, let me tell you the features that are built for hunting. That is, apart from real-time tracking and range, battery life, and resistance capacity.
Hunt metrics in the Garmin Astro 430 let you understand dog hunting patterns with the data of the following parameters,
- Distance traveled
- Time durations and times
- Overall scores
- The number of times “on point” or “treed” events during a hunt
You can export all of this data to your PC or laptop via the cable in the package.
In addition, there is shock and vibration integrated to the collar to tame the dogs better. On top of that, you can train your dogs with these features.
With its BaseCamp software, you can organize all the waypoints made by Astro’s Convey Counter™, tracks, and maps. The BaseStation software acts like a field control center.
With that, you can monitor the location data of all the dogs (as long as the number is under 20).
2. Garmin Alpha 200 + TT™ 15X Combo (#2nd Best Choice)
The Alpha 200 has the same fundamental operational procedure as the Astro 430 — the handheld locator and the collar TT™ 15X.
We start with dimensions, communication range, precision, and accuracy.
The Alpha 200 handheld locator’s dimensions are as follows:
- Height: 6.4″
- Width: 2.7’’
- Depth: 1.3″
- Weight: 9.9 oz (with batteries)
- Minimum neck size of 9.5 inches
The Astro 430 and the Alpha 200 are made of a mixture of plastic and steel.
Garmin ensures that each of its products has unique features. But they never drop the fundamental features that make Garmin trackers resourceful.
So, like the Astro 430, the communication range of the Astro 200 depends on the collar used.
Since the package includes the TT 15X collar, the range will be up to 9 miles. The accuracy and precision will be up to 12 feet — I found these numbers not to be exaggerated.
The location update speed is 2.5 seconds. At times, I experienced a fluctuation of under one-quarter of a second, but that’s negligible.
Now, let’s look at the battery, resistance, mapping, geofencing, and UI & memory.
The battery life will last up to 20 hours, and then it is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
Like the Astro 430, the Alpha 200 comes with the IPX7 waterproof rating. It’s more than enough for a hunting tracker. The collar is 1 ATM waterproof rated.
Preloaded TopoActive maps and direct-to-device BirdsEye Satellite Imagery downloads increase the variety value of mapping.
You can add maps to the device as well.
Geofencing characteristics are similar to the Astro 430; the alerting rapidity is almost real-time.
The UI and memory of the Alpha 200 are different from the Astro 430.
The screen size is 1.8″ (width) x 3.0″ (height) With a diagonal length of 3.5 inches.
The display is a transflective color TFT screen, but there’s a difference. This is a touchscreen. So, Garmin has allowed picking what’s convenient for their potential customers; either buttons or touchscreen.
In addition to the locator, you can synchronize the Garmin Explore app.
The maximum allowable storage is up to 16GB. That’s four times higher than that of the Astro 430.
Now, let’s look at the features that are built for hunting.
The TT 15 collar has integrated vibration, tones, and beacon lights.
Like the Astro 430, all the hunting metrics are preloaded in the Alpha 200.
You can track up to 20 dogs WHILE saving the contacts of 250 dogs. You also get the high sensitivity receiver, the barometer altimeter, and the compass (of tilt-compensated 3-axis).
Alpha 200 has 10,000 waypoints, while the Astro 430 has only 2000.
But training features are improved with vibrations and sounds of 18 levels of correction.
3. Sportdog TEK Series 2.0 GPS + E-Collar (#3rd Best Choice)
SportDOG is a US-based company operating since 2003.
It was a bit of a new brand, yet its TEK Series 2.0 ended up performing well.
This hunting tracker works with its handheld locator as well.
Let’s enter the analysis in terms of dimensions, communication range, and precision & accuracy.
The receiver (E-collar module) has dimensions of 3.70″ (length) X 1.54″ (width) X 1.54″ (depth). The red collar strap is 1″ wide.
SportDOG recommends the product to be used for dogs 8 pounds or larger with neck sizes 10.75″ – 23″.
The handheld device without the antenna is 5.45″ (length) x 2.5″ (width) x 1.50 (depth).
TEK Series 2 works disconnected from cellular networks. SportDOG uses its own technology named HopTek™, which allows you an extended range of up to 10 miles.
You can customize its location update speed. This allows you to manage the battery life. You can set its range to 5, 10, 30 sec or 2 min time intervals — that’s a unique characteristic.
TEK Series 2.0 lets you track one extra dog than the Astro 430 and the Alpha 200 — 21 dogs at once.
I noticed a range between 10-15 feet when I checked its accuracy.
Now, let me tell you about the battery, resistance capacity, mapping, geofencing, and UI & memory aspects.
The GPS collar is charged in around 4 hours and lasts around a day.
But with intense use of 3-5 seconds of location updating speed, the collar lasted around 10-12 hours — but this is MY test results.
The handheld device is fully charged in around 8 hours and lasts approximately 12 hours — these numbers are accurate as per my testing.
Geofencing works just like the Astro devices. You can draw the map on the locator and get alerts almost in real time if the pet crosses the boundary.
The handheld locator is waterproof, and submersible up to 5 feet and the GPS Collar is DryTek® waterproof and submersible to 25 feet.
Mapping is superior in the TEK series 2.
With unlimited lifetime map updates, you can view 1:100,000 preloaded topographical maps on the locator’s screen, including labeled roadways.
There’s a tilt-integrated compass as well.
I really loved the navigation wheel on the handheld locator. It allows you to switch between the letters much faster. The screen is clear and has a modern design that increases the balance between UI and UX.
So, what about hunting features?
You get to save up to 20 waypoints within the locator.
The trip screen captures and saves hunting trip statistics for you and your dogs. The trip screen shows statistics like the average speed, total time elapsed, distance traveled, and your coordinates.
The tracking screen will show everything, including current tracking and any shared hunters or shared dogs with their status.
I personally loved the audible voice updates on your Bluetooth earpiece (not included) on the dog’s locations. When there is the Bluetooth earpiece, you’ll be able to hear the notifications as audible notifications.
Everything takes place in a vast 10-mile range.
4. Dogtra Pathfinder 2 GPS Dog Tracker + E-Collar
Dogtra is yet another US-based company with many dog collars with a company history of 30 years.
Their specialty… you guessed right — hunting collars.
Their Pathfinder 2 is one of their best-selling trackers. I had to find out why, of course.
It comes with a GPS connector (a handheld without a screen) and a collar.
So, first of all, let’s look at the dimensions, communication range, and precision & accuracy.
The collar has a neck size compatibility from 12.5″ to 22″ of circumstances, and the company recommends the collar for dogs as small as 35 lbs.
I measured the range to be somewhere between 8.5 to 9 miles. The specs say the range is 9 miles — it checks out.
But what I loved most was the 2 seconds location updating rate. That qualifies as real-time tracking.
You can track up to 21 dogs.
Although the product doesn’t mention the accuracy exclusively, my personal measurement was around 10-15 feet.
Combined, all these features bring a lot of value.
Here’s how they change with battery, resistance capacity, mapping, geofencing, and UI & memory criteria.
It only took me around 2.5 hours to charge, and the battery lasted about 7 hours and 30 minutes. This duration checks out with the specs — maximum battery life of up to eight hours.
Unlike most hunting dog trackers, the Pathfinder 2 has a higher IP waterproof rating: IPX9K.
This means the tracker is safe for even close-range, powerful, and high-temperature water jets.
Pathfinder 2 has integrated online and offline maps, and Mapbox powers all these maps.
For those who don’t know, Mapbox is an all-American advanced and flexible map service with dynamic and static maps.
They can be easily integrated into mobile apps. This brings me to the next best feature.
The mobile app of the Pathfinder 2.
It’s compatible with iOS and Android and shows all the tracking details on your smartwatch or smartphone.
You get all of these features with NO subscription whatsoever.
Now, onto the hunting tracking characteristics.
You can switch between connecting the phone and the GPS receiver by flipping the switch on the screenless handheld.
Since the operating screen would be as big as the smartphone’s screen, it only gets easier.
You’ll see each dog, the direction they’re at, and how far they are on one screen as a list.
Tap the dog of your choice, and go to the map view.
Since the location updating rate is every 2 seconds, the Pathfinder 2 is an excellent tracker.
5. Garmin Astro 900 Dog Tracking Bundle
Garmin devices do have a slight monopoly of hunting dog trackers in the market. But each Garmin tracker is unique.
The theory is the same for the Astro 900.
This is a tracker that comes with a handheld locator and a collar.
First, let me tell you about the dimensions, communication range, and precision & accuracy.
The Astro 900 bundle comes with the T9 collar.
If you can remember, the range of Garmin devices depends on the collar used.
The dimensions of the T9 tracking unit are, 3.5 (length) x 1.85 (width) x 1.75 (depth) cubic inches. The strap is 1 inch wide. It fits neck sizes from 13″ up to 23″ in diameter.
The Astro 900 handheld is 6.3 inches long, 2.4 inches wide, and 1.4 inches thick.
The communication range is up to 5 miles with an accuracy of up to 5 meters (around 16 feet).
I usually check the range practically, and Garmin remains true to its claims. But what’s interesting was the location’s refreshing rate.
There was no exaggeration there as well.
Now, onto the components such as the battery, resistance capacity, mapping, geofencing, memory, and UI.
Both the T9 and the Astro 900 handheld are expected to run for at least 20 hours. It’s the T9 collar that runs for 40 hours at maximum.
However, I experienced 17-18 hours of the handheld and around one and a half days of the collar.
Being able to withstand 1 meter of water for 30 minutes, the Astro 900 bundle is IPX7 rated.
If you remember, the previous Garmin trackers in this list worked only inside the USA.
But the Astro 900 has preloaded ToPo maps of both US and Canada.
You can always add maps, and it also has the base map.
The geofencing feature is seen in the Astro 900 as well.
If you get a little distracted, you’ll be altered on your handheld with vibrations.
The Astro 900 comes with a memory of up to 4 GB.
I personally love the 65-K color screen. I feel it feels more realistic than a smartphone, especially with that 160 x 240 pixels resolution screen that’s 1.4″ wide, 2.2″ tall, and 2.6″ in diagonal length.
As for the hunting tracking characteristics,
You can have up to 2000 waypoints with 200 navigational routes. The device comes with high-sensitivity receivers, a barometric altimeter (determines altitude by measuring air pressure), and a compass.
Automatic rerouting with the 2.5 seconds location refresh rate is such a help in hunting trips. On top of that, you get area calculation, hunt/fish calendar, and even sun and moon information right inside the Astro 900 handheld.
6. Dogtra Pathfinder TRX
The Pathfinder TRX is another Dogtra best-seller. What caught my eye was how the collar was approved for UKC and AKC events.
Since you already know about the company, let’s jump right in.
Let’s start with the dimensions, communication range, and precision & accuracy.
It’s almost the same E-collar used in the Pathfinder 2. Although with varying characteristics, the dimensions are the same.
The TRX handheld has the following dimensions; 13 x 10.44 x 4.25 inches; 10.3 oz in weight.
So, the company recommends that dogs wear the collar for 35 lbs or more.
The communication range is up to 9 miles. However, the maximum distance allowed between the Pathfinder TRX GPS connector and the operational smartphone is 33 feet.
Most Dogtra trackers appeared to share one important characteristic; the location updating rate of 2 seconds. This sort of rapidity is essential for tracking dogs in the hunting landscape.
The precision and accuracy are the same as the Pathfinder 2.
Now, onto the battery, resistance capacity, mapping, geofencing, and UI & memory.
The battery life is around 8 hours, and it took me about three and a half hours to charge it fully from 0.
The TRX is entirely waterproof with Pathfinder’s waterproof specs.
Mapping seems far superior to Dogtra products to me.
That’s mainly because you can access unlimited online and offline maps, not just any maps but satellite-based ones.
Geofencing works terrific, and the notification time is almost real-time.
Although the locator is there, you need to have your smartphone to operate.
However, this locator doesn’t have any training stimulation; no vibrations or sounds.
What are the hunting tracking characteristics?
I like that there aren’t many correctional simulations because a feature like that would constantly vibrate the collar and hinder the hunting process.
What you really need is a borderline real-time location update rate with a high range being resistant to harsh environmental conditions.
The TRX has all of that.
7. Garmin Pro 550 Plus/TT 15 Mini Bundle
We’re back to another impressive hunting dog tracker. This is the Pro 550 Plus, with the TT 15 mini dog collar.
I won’t waste your time; let’s get started with the dimensions, communication range, and precision & accuracy.
The TT 15 mini differs from the TT 15 under two significant criteria; the dimensions and the tracking range.
The width (W) x height (H) x depth (D) dimensions of the TT 15 mini are 3.1″ x 1.8″ x 1.4″. Its total weight with the collar is 7.5 oz.
The Pro 550 Plus, handheld, has these dimensions; W x H x D of 1.8″ x 11.4″ x 2.1″ with a weight of 8.9 oz.
So, this collar is best for smaller breeds between 15-50 lbs.
The communication range is 4 miles, and the location refreshes every 2.5 seconds.
And, you can track up to 3 dogs.
The precision and accuracy of all Garmin trackers in this list are the same. So, you don’t have to worry all too much about that.
We are moving on to battery, resistance capacity, mapping, geofencing, and UI & memory.
The battery life of the Pro 550 Plus is around 24 hours, and the TT 15 mini runs between 16-30 hours.
In my experience, My Pro 550 Plus ran for around 20 hours, and the collar ran for about a day. So, the specs check out.
The TT 15 mini has a water rating of 1 ATM (submersible up to 10 meters). On the flip side, the handheld is IPX7 rated.
All the maps are integrated into the handheld and preloaded as any other Garmin device.
However, geofencing is absent in the Pro 550 Plus.
But you can easily sync with your Fenix watch series, the Tread navigator, or even the Garmin DriveTrack. This increases UI convenience.
The Garmin Explore app comes into the picture with the Pro 550 Plus. That lets you conveniently manage everything with your phone.
Hunting tracking characteristics are as follows.
Of course, the location will update every 2.5 seconds, but there’s a catch.
What would you do if you didn’t know the direction?
Hunting tracking has become more convenient with direction tracking. The efficiency skyrocketed with the GPS and GLONASS satellite reception — you’ll see both the direction and how far away the dogs are, with a communication range of 4 miles.
You can also assign line colors for each dog based on the speed threshold. That makes it easier to know if the dog has started the chase.
I personally love the customizable training with 18 levels of simulation. I used just vibration, but you can try both tone and vibration and see what works for you.
Telemetry Dog Tracking Systems vs GPS Dog Tracker
The main difference between telemetry dog tracking systems and GPS dog trackers is the amount given on your dog’s location.
Telemetry dog tracking systems hardly give you the exact location of your dog. So, they’ll tell you our location updating rate is real-time, but there’s a catch.
You’ll get to see the direction and the distance to the collar, but hardly the location.
Pet GPS trackers, on the other hand, are pretty straightforward.
You’ll get the EXACT location on the map. The direction and distance are secondary priorities.
Smartphone App vs Handheld GPS Trackers
Some so many trackers are OPERATED by mobile phone apps.
These trackers are hardly helpful in tracking hunting dogs. The problem is with signal triangulation.
The trackers that ONLY run with a smartphone app directly rely on satellites. So, the typical location update rate will be at least 10-15 seconds.
But handhelds cut off the need for direct connection to the satellites. They create a localized signal area, and that’s why the location refresh rate is almost real-time.
If you’re planning to buy a GPS tracker for hunting that runs solely by a smartphone app, I have a piece of advice — double-check the location refresh rate, the number of dogs you can track, and whether they have multiple types of maps, to begin with.
Because, as a matter of fact, handheld GPS trackers are the BEST solution to track hunting dogs.
Benefits of GPS Trackers for Hunting
- Be constantly alerted to the location of your dog(s)
- Understand the topography better
- Train your dogs WHILE you track
- Learn how to adapt to hunting situations quickly
- Discover the hunting patterns of your dogs
- Maximize the safety of your dogs
- Increase the efficiency of each hunting trip
- Coordinate better with fellow hunters
Top Factors to Consider When Buying a Hunting Collar
Hunting cannot be effectively done with dogs if not for proper location tracking. So, you need to check aspects such as the location refreshing rate for starters.
You also need to check if the tracker reveals the EXACT location. It would help if the screen also showed the distance between you and the dog too. In addition, you should ensure whether the tracker works with or without cell service.
Durability is typically guaranteed by design and by resistance features. This is where you should look for the build quality, the material, and the dimensions too.
In addition, it is much better if the waterproof nature is certified with an IP rating (eg: IPX7). Durability will be even higher if there is an impact resistance of at least 1m.
Multi Dog Systems
Some hunters take multiple dogs for hunting. That’s one reason why traditional GPS/ location trackers will not be enough for the job. So if you do have multiple dogs, you need to ensure the system lets you add all of them. Typically, the maximum is up to about 20-21 dogs.
Some regular trackers don’t even last a few hours. Going hunting with your dog wearing such a collar would be a nuisance.
That’s why you should ensure the battery life is satisfactory according to your needs. Remember, rechargeability of any electronic item saves you a fortune. Finally, check how long it takes to charge the devices.
Compatibility with Mobile Apps
The best hunting trackers have their designated handheld locators. This lets them track the locations faster and more accurately.
But some of them let you view the location tracker and other data by mobile apps. Checking this compatibility is the right thing to do.
Extra Features Present
There are so many features integrated into hunting trackers unlike regular dog trackers. Some of these features are activity tracking that is only applicable for hunting dogs.
There also can be diverse maps that are both preloaded, and offline. In addition, there can be hunting calendars too.
But remember to check the relevance of the feature for your requirement before buying them based on the special features.
Would you like to have just the tracker and the handheld locator, or a full package that has charging cables, manuals, and even batteries. So, check for what’s included in the
Taking a dog built for hunting without a GPS tracker is a risk. But choosing the wrong GPS tracker for tracking hunting dogs is no different. Luckily, now you know everything you should know to make a choice.
Tracking hunting dogs is a piece of cake with the right tracker. When you choose that, all you need to focus on is hunting, and hunting only.
That’s how efficient hunting with dogs is achieved.
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