Coon hunting has been a popular pastime for decades, and with the advent of GPS tracking, a productive night of hunting can be brought to a close long before dawn. Unlike their hound-chasing forbears, today’s coon hunters can track the movements of their dogs from the comfort of a truck. Using a handheld device that picks up a signal from the dog’s GPS-equipped collar, a hunter can see not only where his dog is, but how far he has traveled, what direction he’s going, and whether he’s still on the run or planted in front of a tree.
Perhaps the best part of using GPS tracking to follow dogs on a coon hunt is the ability it gives hunters to monitor the safety of their hunting animals. Because hounds can cover so much ground so quickly, hunters can quickly lose control of the hunt if they don’t have a way of keeping tabs on the location of their animals. Before tracking devices, hunters might not see their dogs for hours at a time, meaning an animal could run into the road and be killed without its owner knowing until much later. These days, however, a hunter can determine if his dog is nearing a dangerous highway, giving him a chance to intervene more quickly.
In addition to coon hunting, GPS tracking devices have been used to hunt bear, mountain lions, deer, turkeys, wild hogs, and other animals. Montana-based Boone and Crockett Club, a well-known big game hunting club, says that in the interest of fair chase, they frown on hunters using the devices to locate a dog that has treed an animal. Hunters who do not get personally involved in the hunt, but rather rely solely on a tracking device to follow the dogs and locate game for them are not permitted to register the animals they bag as hunting trophies. However, the club does permit hunters to use the collars for recovering dogs at the end of a hunt.
As the raccoon population has exploded in states like Tennesse, wildlife management personnel speak approvingly of using GPS tracking devices to aid in the hunt. Coon hunting has decreased in popularity as the demand for coon pelts has subsided, resulting in increased damage to property and surrounding environment based on overpopulation. Equipping dogs with GPS collars can help hunters have a more productive night while protecting their dogs from potentially dangerous situations.