UPDATE: Garmin has announced an improved collar/transmitter, due for release in the third quarter of 2008.
The Garmin Astro GPS dog tracking system was designed with hunters in mind. Imagine a GPS unit that shows your dog's location (actually up to ten dogs) as far as five miles away!
Not just a one trick pony, the Garmin Astro features a top of the line GPS, modeled on the Garmin 60CSx. So you get a bright color screen, SiRFstar III chipset for great reception under canopy, barometric altimeter and electronic tri-axial compass. You can load detailed topo maps, and with highway maps this unit will even give you turn-by-turn directions (maps purchased separately).
The first hands on reviews of the Garmin Astro GPS dog tracking system have been posted by users at GPSNow, where one is written from the dog's perspective:
"I'm Rusty and I'm a 3 year old Brittany that loves to RUN! Dad likes to know where I'm at because when I find a bird I can be a long way away and I'm not gonna move a muscle until he finds me. Dad bought the Astro and put it on my training collar, pressed the buttons on both units and in about 30 seconds said he knew exactly where I was. Wow that's fast! Dad turned me loose and could see the pointer showing just where I was at and how far away I was. With a press of the menu button and selecting "show info" he could see how far I'd traveled and how fast I was moving. I ran over a hill and doubled back and dads buddy wondered where I'd gone off to. Dad said he's coming up behind us 'bout a hundered yards. How'd he do that! The collar unit is a little heavy and did want to slip to the side but Dad always knew where I was. Then he made me stay back at camp and took the truck down the road over a hill in heavy cover and still had three bars of signal 2 miles away. Dad says that switching between the Dog tracker and the map is a snap because the buttons are right where they should be so he won't get lost either. It has lots of features but the stuff you need is easy to use right from the start. This unit is made for hunters and is well worth the cost."
More Garmin Astro reviews
- Cove Mountain Kennels reviews the Garmin Astro 220 and the new DC-30 collar.
- Quite a few Astro 220 reviews are being posted by our readers in the comments section at the end of the post I wrote when the Astro was first announced.
- The Astro GPS dog tracking system wins a 2007 gear of the year award from Field & Stream magazine.
- Another perspective is given in this Garmin Astro review posted on a message forum.
- Consumer-authored Garmin Astro reviews have been posted at Amazon.
- Allory Deiss reviews the Garmin Astro for GPSInformation.org.
- A story about using the Astro for search and rescue dogs.
- An Astro video review:
Other Garmin Astro resources
- The Garmin Astro owners manual.
- A PDF with detailed Garmin Astro specifications.
- A Garmin Astro hunting story.
- More Astro stories from Garmin.
- And a Garmin Astro video.
Compare prices on the Garmin Astro at these merchants:
- Find the low price on a Garmin Astro at GPS Now, where shipping is free on orders over $399. Order by 5 p.m. Central Time for same day shipment.
- Check the current Garmin Astro GPS dog tracking system price at Amazon.
- Get the Garmin Astro 220 GPS-Based Canine Tracking System at TigerGPS, where you get free shipping on orders above $250.
- Buy the Garmin Astro 220 / DC 20 Combo GPS Dog Tracking System at REI.com.
- Get the Garmin Astro for an amazing price on eBay.
- Most of the merchants listed above sell extra DC-20 transmitters for those of you tracking multiple dogs.
From the official Garmin Astro web page:
Tired of searching for your hunting dog in tall grass or dense cover? Now you can leave the hunting entirely to him. Introducing Astro, the first high sensitivity GPS-enabled dog tracking system for hunters and sportsmen. This unique system pinpoints your dog’s position and shows you exactly where he is, even when you can’t see or hear him.
Attach Collar and Go
The Astro system includes a bright color-screen handheld GPS device and a wireless transmitter, called the DC 20. To get started, just take Astro outdoors and turn on the handheld and transmitter to acquire GPS satellite signals. Then attach the DC 20 to your dog, either with the included dog harness or by threading it onto a 1-inch e-collar. Now you’re ready to turn him loose — no other setup required.
Track Dogs in Dense Cover
As often as every five seconds, your dog’s DC 20 transmits his position to your handheld, and you can see his current location and a trail of where he’s been on the Map page of your handheld. Switch over to the Dog Tracker page to view a compass pointing to your dog’s location as well as his current status: whether he’s running, sitting, on point or treeing quarry. Astro can also sound an alarm to let you know instantly when your dog goes on point.
Astro boasts a high-sensitivity GPS receiver that can track your dog’s position even in the densest cover. You can track up to ten dogs at one time with Astro, at a distance of up to five miles away (depending on terrain). The system transmits information by line-of-sight, so it reaches farthest in flat, open territory.
Count Your Coveys
After you’ve captured your quarry, mark the exact spot with Astro’s Covey Counter™, a special waypoint that tells you the exact location, time of day and elevation where you found your prey, as well as the number of birds you flushed and took from that location. Astro lets you save other special waypoints, such as "Truck" and "Lodge," so you can save the location of these places quickly and easily for each hunt. Astro also offers special waypoint icons to represent food plots, tree stands and other hunting-related points.
Experience Full-featured GPS
Astro shines when you’re out on the hunt, but it also excels in getting you back to your truck at the end of the day, or even back home again. In fact, the Astro handheld has all the features of Garmin’s top-line handheld outdoor devices, including a barometric altimeter, electronic compass, microSD card slot, celestial information, area calculator and rugged, IPX7 waterproof exterior. With optional detailed city street maps, you can search for over 6 million points of interest and create a route on roads with exact turn-by-turn directions.
Astro: Leave the hunting to your dogs
- Garmin TOPO U.S. 2008
- Eneloop rechargeable batteries
- invisibleSHIELD screen protector
- SanDisk 2 GB MicroSD card