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What GPS do folks use or recommend for hunting?

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by SPU, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    Looking into the options for a Garmin GPS. I'd like advice for one that is handheld, at least water resistant, and accepts SD or Micro SD cards for an Oregon-specific map.
     
  2. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    The GPS64st is suited ideally for hunting. It has actual buttons instead of a touch screen which does not work with gloves or in wet weather. Sound can be turned off so all presses of the buttons or functions are quiet. Has a large screen to see waypoints in all light conditions. This is my third generation in this series and it has been bombproof. It supports 64gig SD card, is water proof down to 3' if my memory serves me right. It comes with a basic base map. You can get the 100k Topo installed and still have room to load the entire Oregon 24k Topo which is what I did. So you have lots of mapping option.

    I used the smaller eTrex but it puked on me during a winter elk hunt and I had to come out in the dark using a headlamp, compass and pace counting. Fortunately I always do this as a back up and it saved me a night in the snow n cold! I've never trusted it since.

    A Rino would be another good choice but I've found their radio not very good and ended up carrying a real radio for comms. However if others in your party have Rinos then that is the way to go so you can keep track of one another and triangulate your positions as needed to rendezvous.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
  3. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    Thanks for your time posting. My experience with the eTrex has been less than stellar. I'll look into the GPS64st.

    Thanks again.
     
    OFADAN likes this.
  4. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I use a 62 or 64. Ive had great luck. The partial external antenna was a big improvement over the trex model for deep canyon and woods use....
     
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  5. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Well I don't know if I did something wrong or not ,but when I loaded the 'update' it pretty much made my Garmin good for the south. As in New mexico -eastward.
    And I did it at the Garmin sight. So get maps where you want to use the darn thing and be careful on 'updates'
     
  6. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure the Rino is still in production. My buddy has 2 and I was going to get one also but they don't make them any more. I guess you could get used.
    I would get something a little more user friendly than the rino.It confused the crap out of me
     
  7. OregonDonor

    OregonDonor Central Oregon Member

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    I love my Garmin 655. Use it for hunting, scouting, rafting, even used it out of country. Great piece for the money.
     
  8. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    The 655t is discontinued but the 650 I believe is still in production.
     
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  9. Oathkeeper1775

    Oathkeeper1775 Coast Range Well-Known Member

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    Certainly be aware of the output wattage on the gps/radio combos....

    X2 on buttons good, touch-screens...not so good.

    I have a 15Y/O etrex that will show coordinates, mark WPs, and show routes....but no map :(

    Near the the top of my 2016 upgrade list is 64st.
     
  10. nwwoodsman

    nwwoodsman Vernonia Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    I use an old Garmin 60CSX. Had it for about 7 years and it is still running strong. Works great in heavy timber, almost anywhere except for 10 year old reprod. Can't remember the map program I installed on it but it shows property boundaries. Best thing you can do is get a gps that you can load maps onto. Otherwise they become oudated pretty quick. Get something that shows the topography. It's a real bummer when you think you have a quick flat hike ahead of you and you end up in the bottom of a canyon.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
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  11. JoeDirt82

    JoeDirt82 NW Oregon Member

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    If you have a Android smart phone, I use a app called Locus the free version works great for hunting. This app allows you to save Google maps Terrain and Satellite maps onto your phone.
     
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  12. Koda

    Koda Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    I use backcountry navigator for android, lets you save USGS topo maps on your phone for use offline. If you use your smartphone keep in mind that apps can be buggy and phones arent usually waterproof....


    Garmins are great devices but do not... DO NOT buy one that does not have a built in electronic compass. even some of their high end ones do not come with this. If it does it will say so on the package.... dont rely on any store person, check the box.
     
  13. blitz

    blitz beaverton Active Member 2015 Volunteer

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    i have been using the garmin oregon 450 w/ hunt oregon sd card. has been awesome.
     
  14. Beefcake

    Beefcake Portland Active Member

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    The electronic compass burns through batteries about 3 times as fast. I use a Garmin and my trusty old-school compass so that I don't have to carry a million spare batteries.

    I would say DO NOT buy a Garmin without their high sensitivity receiver. I think they designate this as HC or HCx. These work way better in heavy cover (forests) and steep terrain.
     
  15. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I NEVER leave the truck without a real compass on my body. While I have faith in my GPS and it's always done me well, a compass doesn't run on batteries. Food for thought.
     
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  16. Koda

    Koda Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    I always thought it was using the screen and backlight that drains the battery most, I turned off the backlight in mine. The electronic compass is just more programming in a microchip, even my phone has one...
    My Garmin has good battery life on alkalines and runs the whole hunting season using lithiums.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
  17. Beefcake

    Beefcake Portland Active Member

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    My statement was based on experience during extensive SAR training; however, I should clarify a little. My GPS doesn't have the compass (cheap Venture HCx), but trainer was using a then state of the art unit (64S?) and my ex-wife had a super fancy Oregon or Montana (I don't remember which). It was the SAR trainer that said the electronic compass was what burned the batteries, and I think he turned his compass off somehow (I never figured out how to turn off my ex-wife's electronic compass). Therefore, if my statement was incorrect, I apologize.

    Back to the OP's question, I have had several GPS units over the years, and I'd love to have one with better maps, but my Venture HCx is the bare minimum that I'm comfortable carrying. If I had it to do over, I would have at least stepped up to one with a removable SD card (Vista HCx?), but I could never justify the cost of a top-shelf unit (I could, but there was always other gear that I wanted more). The internal memory on my unit won't let me upload all of Oregon's topo maps, so I have to reload it from "Basecamp" if I am going to different areas.
     
  18. Koda

    Koda Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Beefcake, no worries im just sharing my own exeperience as well and not implying anyone is incorrect, my apologies if it came out that way.

    i find it interesting a SAR trainer would turn off the e-compass feature.... in oder for a gps without an e-compass to point the correct way (bearing) it has to be physically moving (walking). ...thats a huge inconveinience especially off trail. Ive had 2 separate friends with those Garmins that both sold them because of that reason, they both had higher end units.

    the maps on the screen is a pain to keep up with, as far as im concerned when were spending hundreds on a unit it should damn well come with maps installed.... but garmin charges you more for that feature separately and they arent even USGS maps which are free....

    thats why I switched to Backcountry Navigator on my phone, its been reliable and has many free map layers including USGS to choose from to download. 20 bucks for the app....
     
  19. Beefcake

    Beefcake Portland Active Member

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    No worries here; I didn't take it as a slight. I was simply stating the basis for my opinion since it was from someone else's opinion that I trusted rather than my own experience. Since you guys don't know me from Adam, and since we've all seen "internet experts", I just wanted to clarify where my opinion came from so others can decide for themselves.

    As for turning off the e-compass, it was based on a different technique. In SAR, we were taught to use maps or the GPS to determine the desired heading but to use a standard compass to maintain that bearing. In other words, we didn't look at the little arrow on the GPS to keep us going in the right direction; we were supposed to be able to do this by shooting a bearing in the right direction, using a landmark in that direction to walk toward, and counting our strides to know how far we'd gone. The funny part is that the same trainer told me a year later that he had started using the e-compass and liked it. My original post was simply about battery consumption and the fact that someone else posted advice to absolutely not buy a GPS without that feature.

    Honestly, when I go hunting, I mark the location of the truck in the GPS and then turn it off. I have never actually needed to turn it back on to find the truck, but it's there just in case. I look at topo and road maps before I go to give myself hard boundaries and escape routes. In other words, if I know that I walked generally south or southwest from my truck and that the road runs generally east / west, all I have to do to find the truck is walk north to the road and then east until I find the truck. I know, pretty cheesy coming from a guy with a bunch of SAR training, but it is the way I've always hunted. I'd rather look at all the cool stuff around me than stare at a compass or GPS all day. I may start leaving it on so that I can back-track easier, but then I won't get to have the adventure of finding a new route back.
     
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  20. Koda

    Koda Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    I see now, that explains why the SAR person never needed the e-compass since he was using his manual compass to travel. I could see the logic then of turning off all other features not needed to conserve battery.... like I do with the backlight, regardless of how much actual power they use.

    keep in mind most people (non-SAR) dont even know how to use a compass and buy gps devices as their sole navigation system. Regardless of how I feel about that, they are better off with a unit that has the e-compass IMO.
     
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