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Beepers Bells Ys, The classictinklins electronicbeeperwho's to say which is betterfor keepingtrack of your dog in the woods?Our expertson everythingover which they can disagree havethe answersfor vou.

OverTime Chimes byTomKeer A few weeksago in church,my I l-year-old daughtersaw her first phonograph.She was born into the electronicage,and sheis far more technology-savvyat her agethan I am at mine. It took me a few monthsto realizea Blackberrywasn't something I could pick off a bush.Anyhow, when the 45-rpm reachedthe end, sheplacedthe needleback at the startof the vinyl. The same songbeganto play; sheexclaimed,"I just heardthat song.How do you get the other songsto play? My iPod is so much easier. This is confusing." A beepercollar is to a bell as an iPod is to a phonograph. From the first modelscastin China during the Chou Dynasty(2568.C.) to thoserung in the fourth CenturyA.D. for prayer,bells have alwaysbeentools of communication.Bells most likely had their first usefor huntingduring the Middle Ages. Artwork from that time showsfalconswith little bells on their legs,and it is likely that Charlemagneusedthem sometime in the seventhcenturyto keep track of his raptorsflying through the countryside.But the first written descriptionof hunting bells was in a book printedin 1387by GastonPhoebuswho describes thesesmall bells for falconsas being madeof silver or gold, and comingfrom Milan,Italy. Some400 yearsafterPhoebus'book, Boston'sfamoussilversmith,Paul Revere,becameknown as one of the first bell makersin the United States. Imaginethat.A bird insteadof a dog wearinga bell. A bell isn't just a bell. Many partsof a bell are namedafter humananatomy.There is the head,shoulder,waist,lip, and the mouth.Other partsare the yoke, soundring, the clapper,the crown, and the beadline. In the pastbells have beenusedto track cows, sheepand goats,and they've beenmadeout of a variety of metals:brass,bronze,tin, copper,even steel.During war, bells were meltedfor cannons.During peace,cannonswere meltedfor bells. Regionalismfactorsinto a handler'sdecisionto bell a dog. To a northerngrouseand woodcockhunter,the soundof a clapperhitting the soundring is pure music to the ear.It hasas familiar a feel to it as a pair of L.L. Bean Maine Hunting Shoes hason the feet.When the noisestopson a pointing dog, every bird hunter'spulsequickens.Don't eventhink aboutpulling out

a bell on a traditionalSouthernquail plantation,though.In the wide, openplainswith a flushingdog?Why useone when you can clearlyseeyour dog? You'd usethem on pointersbecauseit's far easierto track your dogswhen they go into high or thick coverts,which is where the birds are.You can look aroundan alder run or a wheat field and still sensewhereyour dog is whenthe bell goessilent. With an orangecollar you can hearand seeyour dog, even if he blendsin with the terrain,as doesa Germanshorthairedpointer huntingduring full foliage or an English setteron a snowy lateseasonday.You'd usethem on a flushingdog becausethe sound makesyou feel good. Bells requireno operatinginstructions.There are no batteries to go flat, no tonesto adjust,and no screwdriversare needed to get underthe hood.Justput the collar on your pooch and go huntin'. If you're runninga braceof dogs,usetwo differentsizes and tonesso you know which dog is where.You can also match the sizeand tone of your bell to the sizeof your dogs.Use a bigger bell for a bigger dog and so forth. If a late-season snow clogs your bells,try a dab of petroleumjelly on the clapperand someneat's-footoil throughoutthe inside. Somesay that a bell situatedundera dog's neck impairshis a hearing.The point, I guess,is that Fido can't hear-and-obey whistle command.Just usevastly differenttones,suchas a deep ring for the bell and a higher-pitchfor the whistle.A deepring tone is betteranyway,as the soundcarriesfartheron a windy day. You can deepenthe bell's tone by spot-weldingextra metal on the clapper. When you put a bell on your pointingdog, you're not just tying into a long-standingAmerican tradition.You're becoming part of over a millenniumof huntinghistory.

Modern Versatilitv u Anisfield byNancy

Aestheticsare too subjectiveto be a worthwhile point of debate. Beeperopponentssay beeperssoundlike tractor-trailers in reverse,a microwave's"done cooking" signalor abrasive weatherradio alerts.I might counterthat, to me, bells on hunting dogs soundlike hyperactivecows or an ice creamwagon visiting the neighborhood. Similarly,argumentstrumpetingthe historicaluseof bells must acknowledgethat not all traditionsare necessarilybest.In the past,ice was cut from lakes,transportedto sheds,wrapped in canvas,coveredin sawdustthen usedto keep food cold. THE UPLAND ALMANAC


Would you ditch your refrigerator for an icebox? Blackberry for a passenger pigeon? The main argument in favor of beepersis that you can't hear what doesn't make noise.Simple enough.A bell might be audible as the dog runs, but when he goeson point, silence ensues.No matter how well you keep your ear trained on that chime (or clang, as the casemay be), when it stops,there is no preciseway of knowing where the dog is. Preciousminutes slip by ... the grousegets nervous ... the quail start to move ... and you're spendingvaluabletime looking for the dog. If the dog is wearing a beeperset to a point beep,however,you can simply move towards the sound following the shortestdistance between two points - a straight line. Another argument in favor of beepersis the evennessof their sound.Bells ring loud and soft, fast and slow. A good run/point beepermaintainsthe volume and rhythm of the beeps.Of course that can be alteredby wind, terrain and the dog's body position, but not nearly as many of thesevariablesexist as with a bell. The more similar and repetitive the sound, the easier it is to track the dog's movements.Tuned to the soundof the moving beep,I've beenable to carry on a conversation(low, of course,listen to the woods and still subliminally track my dog. The change in the beep's location and the speedof those changesprovide all the information I need about my dog's movements. Furthermore, with a bell constantly ringing, you run a greater chanceof the dog's not hearingyour calls or whistles.With a beeper,you can time your commandsin betweenthe tones. Many new beeperslet you choose the tone - aflat,btzzy WINTER 2OO9

sound.a chime-like ring or a hawk scream - and let you pick volume as well. Many beeperscan be turned on and off at the transmitter, so if you hunt in and out of thick J cover and are able to U) z seethe dog 2 at some times and not at others, you can easily turn the sound off when you don't need it. I've found that featureparticularly helpful while hunting quail when the dog might passfrom grass fields into thickets and while hunting pheasantswhen the hunt moves from open terrain into shelterbelts. The option to switch the beeperto a point only beep or just using the locate button gives the dog handlerfar more control thanhehas with a bell that rings only when the dog moves and always when the dog moves. One other argumentthat must be consideredis that beeper collars offer a safety featurebells cannot.If somethinghappens to the dog - injury or collapse,perhaps- or he gets caught somewhereimmobilized, the beepercan help you find him. I've seena dog caught in a snareand had one of my own dogs caught in a leg-hold trap. In both cases,the dog was visible, but if he hadn't been,the beep would have been the quickest way to locate him, possibly saving him from seriousinjury. Beyond that is the story of Mickey Fancher'ssetter,draggedinto a den by a bear (See"Bear Attack in the GrouseWoods," Upland Almanac, Summer 2005). Without the beeper,Mickey would never have found the dog or had the chance to try to save him. For search and rescue,a beeperis secondonly to a tracking collar. Think accuracy,versatility and safety, and the beeperwins every time. trl

45


SayWhat?

Beepers forHunters Loss withHearing Wisdomisn't the only thing to comelvith age.Unfortunately. hearingimpairmentsdo, too. Whetherthesedifficultiesare genetic.disease-related or the resultof exposureto sustained noise,the inabilityto hearthe beepon your dog'scollar isn't a laughingmatter.Hard-of-hearing huntersfind that lower tones areeasierto hear:somefind a tonethat is differentfrom the norm ,uvorks best.Here are some collarsthat rvill help you keep trackof your dog. so you can put your r,visdomback to work. Lovett'sElectronics continuesto be the leaderof the packrvhenit comesto designing low-tonebeepersspecifically loss.Their LTH rnodelernitsa for huntersrvith high-endhearin-9 The decibeloutputis lower-pitched soundthan standardbeepers. higherthan standard,horvever.and a harvkscreamcan be added. Lovett'sner,vVLT model usesalternatingcurrentinsteadof the usualdirectcurrent,allorvin,g the userto pick pitch as rvellas volume(900 hertzto 1.400hertz).The VLT giveshuntersrvho are hardof hearingand thoser,vhoare tone deaf the ability to customizethe soundsto their ears.Both modelsoffer selections collars. of pointand run modes;both are fixed on blazeoran-qe Severalcollar manufacturersoffer beepersthat aren't specificallydesignedfor hard-of-hearinghandlersbut offer a varietyof soundoptions,one or moreof rvhichare likely to suit hunterslvith hearingproblems.Do,etra's 2500T & B streamlines the beeperand trainin-9 collar setup by buildin-ethe beeperhorn right into the receiver.which sitsunderthe dog's neck.lixed on of stirnulationoptions. ablazeorangecollar.Along rvith a ran-qe the collar offers the huntera choiceof trvo very diffbrentbeeper tones.One is a roundbeepsound;the otheris a lorver-pitched. flattertone.Both can be setfrom a choiceof threevolume huntersthenhavesix differentsounds levels.Hard-of-hearing to pick from, plus run/pointand point only modes.all seton That meansthe huntercan changethe sound thetransmitter. and volume remotely.a very handyf-eaturelvhenterrainor wind conditionsvary duringthe hunt.The transmitteralsohasa 46

"locate"buttonthat activates the roundbeepsound. While Innotekhas ralmi gratedtorvards-eene purposedog trainirl,q-qear. the companyprivatelabels one terrific productcalled the Bird Dog TrainerII fbr Pennsylvania's Lion Country Supply.The beeperis partof the e-collartrainingsystem and emits four differenttones in both high and lorv volumes: harvkscreech.doublebeep. singlebeepand rvarble. Thereare also four beeper modes:silentrunning/beep on J poi nt.5-second,l0- second. tr and an off/call do-elocator. a z The rvaterproofbeeperhasa z remoteon/off function. SportDog off-erstrvo beepers. the SD-AB and the DSL-400. Eachbeeperoffers nine total tonesthat areaudible to 500 yards.There are five lorvvarietyfbr hunters:bobrvhite. decibeltorlesthat off-erenou-sh and the singlebeep.lorv-volumeharvk.hi-eh-falling-to-lorv tone.Beepersrun off of threemodes: double-high-falling-to-lorv silent.5-secondand lO-secondbeep:are waterproof:andemit a lclrv-battery rvarning.The SD-AB is anatomicallydesi-qned and is rounded.so it fits dogscomfortably.The 400 comesrvithan orangestrap.and as lvith the otherbeepercollarsmentionedhere, comesrvith batteriesand limited lif'etirnervarranties. Most of thesebeepercollarsrangein pricefrom about$90 collarcostsaround$379. to $120.The Dogtrabeeper/training beeper and the Bird Dog TrainerII costs$229.Stand-alone collar or beeper/trainer combo.the investmentis rvorthit rvhen flushingrvithouta shottaken the alternativeis a beautiful-grouse becauseyou coulcln'thearor find the do-epointin-eit.rrr*$

Lovett's LTH. VLT www.dogbeepers.com 800-446-1093

Innotek Bird Dog ThainerII www.lcsupply.com 800-662-s202

Dogtra2500T&B www.dogtra.com 8 8 8 - 811- 9 11

SportDog www.sportdog.com 800-732-0r44 -Tottt Keer arrclNottct'Anisfield THE UPLAND ALMANAC

Both Barrels Bells vs Beepers by Tom Keer originally printed in Upland Almanac  

The classic tinkling bell or the modern electronic beeper - who's to say which is better for keeping track of your dog in the woods? Our exp...

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