Thursday, July 14, 2011

I know where you are!

 - by Jim Taylor

The coolest  piece of technology I've incorporated into my hunts has been the Garmin Rino gps/radio.

Rino by Garmin
I was introduced to the benefits of this "gotta-have" tool  about five years ago as I sat on a lonely Idaho ridge top in the dark.  Four of us were bowhunting elk and I was odd man out with only a 1/2 watt radio(Walmart $19.95 I think) and my handheld gps that I was so proud of.  Right at dusk the adrenalin packed voice of hunting partner Ryan Springer broke  radio silence that he had just arrowed a monster bull at like 12 yards.  Springer, Shoemaker, and Frasca had Garmin Rinos....I had my 1/2 watt Wal-Mart special.  I could hear them, but I  could not reply as  my ½ watt radio was too wimpy to broadcast any distance in the thick Idaho timber.  So, there I sat listening to the back and forth chatter of my excited friends as everyone but me worked their way to Springer's downed trophy elk using their Rino gps/radios.  While they did the congratulatory high five’s, handshakes, and posed for trophy pictures  I sat there alone on a stump as dark fell over that Idaho ridge.  Guess what I asked Santa for that Christmas?

Since then, the Rino  has added so much pleasure to my hunts.  I won't  leave home without it.  These powerful little 5w radios  have built in gps's that let you broadcast your position as well as see the gps location  of your hunting buddies on a topo map displayed on the Rino's screen. 

Mike Frasca navigates with his Rino gps/radio 
They have proven indispensable on our elk hunting trips out West each year.  It used to be that when a bowhunter bagged an elk he might have to walk out of a canyon 2 or 3 miles to the nearest trail to rendezvous with his fellow hunters who then had be "guided" back into the canyon to the downed animal. This meant a waste of precious meat packing time when the September temperatures in Colorado are often in the 80's during the day.  With the Garmin Rino radio/gps, when one of our members downs an animal we can immediately see his position and we can all navigate separately and independently from every direction to converge at the downed elk.

Ryan Springer's 2006 Idaho Elk
Aside from the usual benefits of radio communication and gps usage the Garmin Rino allows you to:

1. Get Help: If you fall and break your leg,  your buddies can locate you. Even if you are unconscious your buddys can "ping" your position to locate you. With the rugged terrain of Western Colorado that's not a bad thing to have.

2. On public land like we hunt it is very useful to know exactly where your hunting partners are so that you are not stumbling on top of each other unnecessarily or hunting the same draw. You can actually set your radio to alert you if you come within a certain distance of a hunting partner.

3. You can transmit hunting hot spots, dangerous cliffs, or locations of last blood while tracking to your fellow bowhunters.

At our stage of life, hunting its not so much about the killing as it is about sharing the hunting adventure and friendship and camaraderie built around high mountain campfires. The Rino gps/radio has enhanced our hunting experience by letting everyone in our hunting party share in the exhilaration and excitement at the very moment a  buddy unleashes an arrow at the big one.    It just doesn't get any better than that dude.

Lets go hunting!

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