The Astro Gets the Blues
Over the weekend, we got the chance to test and use the Astro GPS Dog Tracking System in yet another unique environment. We were the guests of Steve Snell, owner of Gun Dog Supply, at his Midland, Texas quail lease. It’s more than 30-thousand acres of sprawling brush country, and the scaled quail we were chasing could literally be anywhere.
Scaled quail (also known as blue quail) are known for their ability to run, rather than fly — confounding dogs and hunters alike. It takes some serious dog power and plenty of boot leather to have a successful blue hunt.
Luckily, we were able to borrow the ranch boss’ custom-built “quail buggy,” a vehicle that would look at home on the set of Mad Max. It’s best described as a 2-cylinder VW Bug engine set atop a tough-as-nails skid plate and frame. In addition to puncture-proof tires, it sports all the necessary bird hunting accoutrements like water tanks, dog crates, jacks, and shovels.
But the accessory that got us really excited was the dash-mounted Astro 220 with a roof-mounted antenna to track the dogs. We hunted with six dogs altogether — two on the ground at any given time, and four others raring to go in their boxes. Using the buggy, we were able to let our hounds really cover some ground… and they were never out of sight of the Astro. Once the unit indicated the dogs had found birds (“on point”), we’d dismount the buggy and pursue the birds on foot.
The Astro, combined with the quail buggy, allowed us to hunt land we might otherwise wouldn’t have been able to cover. Truly a unique way to get the blues!
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