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hunting GPS suggestions

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 11:42
Dyelynn View Drop Down
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i've been toying with the idea of buying a GPS for a while now... i typically just carry a map, compass and protractor with me when i go into the woods, but as i start planning my packing list for hunting, the compactness and ease of the gps is becoming more and more attractive.

i would like to have a color screen, upgradable maps, auto-route tracking, the ability to name and save my waypoints and a good antenna for use in mountainous and heavily forested terrain.  this is my first foray into this area so i really don't know what price range i should be looking at.... i would prefer to keep it under 500$ though.

thanks for any suggestions.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 12:03
Dyelynn View Drop Down
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id also like to buy a unit with an sd or micro sd slot for flexibility..
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 12:13
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so far the front runner is the garmin gpsmap 62s
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 12:33
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or maybe the Garmin gpsmap 60csx


anyone have any experience with the smartphone app recon hunt?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 13:37
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I've been using the Garmin Rino series GPS units for over a decade now and have been very pleased with them.  They combine a good 2-way radio with GPS that allows you to "beam" your position to another Rino user whenever you either talk on the radio or press a button.  Even if other users don't have a Rino, you can still use the radio to communicate with their 2-way radios, you just can't beam your coordinates to them.  The Rino 530HCX has all the bells and whistles, and is the next generation to the one I have.  It has the card slots and high sensitivity GPS receiver that mine doesn't have; otherwise, they're identical.  Before that, I had the Rino 120 and 130.  If you hunt with a group, these are extremely useful in the event you need to contact someone on the radio, since you don't have to carry a separate radio and GPS.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 14:03
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I have access to a lot of GPS units at work. From fancy ones that you load your own data into, basically a little computer. All the way down to the humble Garmin Gecko. I'm kind of out of the loop on the non-garmin brands (as far as recreational units go).

The Oregon type models with the larger screen are easier on the eyes, if you actually want to use the map. None of them are an excuse for a map, but its handy if you want to get back to a specific point (like your truck). And you can load road/trail/whatever data into all of them if you know a thing or two. Draw a few things in Google Earth, export to .kml, convert to .gpx, and you're cooking with gas, all with free software.

Most people over-buy, from what I have seen. Myself included. The unit I use most often is that humble Gecko, I don't think they even make it any more.

I use my Blackberry GPS all the time, but I haven't in "the field". My screen is painfully small, but I bet some of the apps for phones with decent screens are pretty darn good. That would be one less piece of hardware to tote around too.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 14:20
Dyelynn View Drop Down
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thanks very much to both of you...

ted, i was looking at the rhino series, but i really wanted the color screen for easier map reading, but i will definitely take another look now.  how well and easily do they map routes, mark waypoints and how well can you make out contour lines and the like on the screen?

i do carry a radio already, a little talk-about or something similar, and it works just fine... i don't generally carry my phone into the woods though.  so, the way i see it, i can have 1 phone with gps, 1 gps and 1 radio, or 1 gps radio combo....

i don't get cell reception anywhere i hunt, so having the phone on me would be purely for the gps app.... that rhino is looking better and better.... however, i already have a radio and the gps apps are like 5$ on top of a smart phone i already have.   gah!

anomad, the one thing i worry about with the oregon models is them getting broken.  this thing is gonna have to survive in my pack with all the crap i jam in there, or in a pocket somewhere that might get fallen on or sat on or w/e.  how rugged are they?


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 14:23
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I see Garmin has introduced another new touchscreen series... the "Montana 600, 650, 650T."  Looks to be basically the same as the Oregon series, except with a larger screen.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 14:41
RifleDude View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Dyelynn Dyelynn wrote:

thanks very much to both of you...

ted, i was looking at the rhino series, but i really wanted the color screen for easier map reading, but i will definitely take another look now.  how well and easily do they map routes, mark waypoints and how well can you make out contour lines and the like on the screen?



The Rino 520 and 530 both have color screens.  I've found that they map routes very easily... as easy as any other GPS unit I've used, but I've only used Garmins.  The screen isn't as large as some other units due to the integration with the radio.  It's certainly not as large as the new Oregon and Montana touch screen models, but that has never prevented me from being able to map routes.  Contour lines and other features on the screen are easy to see.  No worries there.  The quality of graphic info all depends on which map software you have loaded, not necessarily on the unit.

Marking waypoints, navigating to waypoints, and navigating between screen features couldn't be easier, since the Rino units use an all-purpose "joystick" button right below the screen for left/right/up/down enter functions.  Marking a waypoint is simply a matter of pressing and holding the joystick button down and a menu comes up that gives you the option of marking or finding a waypoint.

The ability to immediately send and receive coordinates to and from another Rino user with the press of a button is an awesome feature.  My hunting buddies all have the Rinos, and when we're hunting in the Rockies, we can keep track of each other's locations very easily with this feature.  As soon as you talk on the radio, your updated position appears on all other users' maps.  Or, if you want to remain silent, you can just press the page button to do the same thing. 

The menus are all laid out in a logical fashion and I found it pretty easy to master by just reading the manual and getting out and using it.

This is the newest variation of the one I have.  I couldn't be more pleased with mine.  I've used mine a lot, and it hasn't been babied.  I've never had any problems with it whatsoever.  I also like the fact it comes with a rechargeable lithium batt pack and batt life is much longer than the ones that use traditional AA / AAA batts.  It also has built in NOAA weather channels, with bad weather alert interrupt feature.

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=146&pID=8523
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 14:41
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BTW... welcome to OT, Anomad!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 14:41
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I used to run the Garmins but switched to a DeLorme PN-60. The screen is a little on the small side, but it supports aerial/satellite imagery and DeLorme's data is first rate. It shows topo contours along with public land ownership. The accuracy is better. I regularly get 6 ft. readings and never got that even with the Garmin 60CSx, which has a better antenna than the newer Garmins. But either brand will give you a good deal. I'd just stick with the push button models unless you use fingerless gloves.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 15:53
Dyelynn View Drop Down
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that delorne looks very nice as well... decisions, decisions :p
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 16:19
mike650 View Drop Down
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+1 on what RifleDude said.

I have the Rino 530HCX because I wanted the barometer feature too for both fishing and hunting. I'm very happy with it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 16:20
anomad View Drop Down
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Even the el cheapo models will easily save the route you travel (tracks and/or routes). Waypoints are just one or two clicks. Then you can plug the unit into your computer or take out the SD card (if equipped). And view the routes or waypoints in Google Earth. Or visa versa.

I know several LEOs that use the Oregon units, without breaking them. Those guys are a pretty good test, as they are hard on equipment. I've used a number of Garmins attached to the handlebars of my dirt bike or mountain bike with rubber bands. Haven't broken one yet! (knock on wood).


I don't know about you guys, but I don't usually roam too far when I hunt. So the maps that come with aren't all that important to me. Or if its a wilderness/camping kind of thing I'll just bring a topo map and use the lay of the land. I do load a few key points into my unit to identify places I want to check out, something like where a trail or creek crosses from private to public land, trail intersections, or maybe the edge of my hunting unit. I almost always try to save a waypoint at the trailhead or wherever I park/camp, in case I am trying to grope my way back in the dark.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 16:29
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It's not my main radio because I hunt on private land but it's real nice to have for many reasons.

My buddy has the same unit as Ted. He was snowmobiling with friends out in the back country a few years ago when one of them got into a serious wreck. With a basic cell phone and the Rhino they were able to effectively communicate their coordinates to 911 and a rescue chopper arrived shortly after. This rapid response saved his friend's life.





Edited by mike650 - May/26/2011 at 12:54
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/25/2011 at 17:01
jonoMT View Drop Down
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Most units have the barometer built in, which is also nice for use with a ballistics calculator.

I mostly hunt in an area that is rugged. There are rock outcroppings and boulder fields here and there. 23 years ago it burned in quite a few places so there are areas of dense new growth mixed with deadfall. I know most of it well but consult either the GPS, a custom aerial map I made overlaid with topo lines or both. Being off by a couple hundred yards can mean spending an extra hour or two fighting through that stuff. I also mark kill sites, some of which are hard to find. Going back over a few years worth of data in Google Earth made me realize one particular ridge is where the elk are pretty consistent.

Because I've come in from different approaches, I didn't connect that two elk I've shot were within 150 yards of each other until I compared the data (4 years apart). Another elk I should have got was less than 100 yards from one of those. I happened to note the spot because I was lying about 75 yards away long enough to create a mess of sample points.

If you're going to be in a place like that, always, always, always carry a paper map. I've never had a GPS fail, but have come close a couple times to running down the batteries (and spares) in cold weather.
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