Tracking your hunting dog is one of the most important aspects of taking working pups into the field. The new Alpha 300 series from Garmin is a big step up from the 200 series line, which says a lot. The 200 Series was the gold standard for hunting dog owners everywhere.
This new lineup from Garmin includes the Alpha 300/300i series of handhelds and the Alpha TT 25 and T 20 collars. Notable upgrades in this new series include improved battery life, a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, and the inclusion of inReach satellite technology.
“Our most robust dog tracking and training system is specifically built to meet the needs of Garmin hunting customers. Whether you’re on sagebrush plateaus, rolling prairies, dense hardwoods, or rocky ridges, the Alpha 300 series and new collars are built to keep you and your dog on track for longer than ever before, thanks to significantly increased battery life and enhanced user experience.”— Dan Bartel, Garmin Vice President of Global Consumer Sales
Garmin Alpha 300 Series
Designed with the specific needs of training and hunting in mind, the Alpha 300 series offers a range of improved features. With a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, users can enjoy an impressive battery life of up to 55 hours. This means extended hunting sessions without the need for frequent recharging.
Should the handheld battery deplete during a hunting trip, users can easily switch to a standard or extended-life battery. The updated USB-C charging port facilitates faster charging, and additional handheld batteries can be used if needed.
The Alpha 300 series boasts a responsive 3.5-inch touchscreen display that ensures clear visibility regardless of the lighting conditions. The touchscreen remains functional even when wearing gloves, adding to its practicality. Users have the freedom to personalize their Alpha 300 experience, thanks to a redesigned main menu and a “favorites” bar, allowing them to optimize their Alpha unit for their specific training or hunting preferences.
When it comes to mapping capabilities, the Alpha 300 series delivers the reliable and comprehensive mapping Garmin users have grown accustomed to. Alongside multi-GNSS support and advanced mapping systems like preloaded TopoActive mapping and direct-to-device satellite imagery, the Alpha 300 series is now compatible with Garmin Outdoor Maps+.
This compatibility grants users access to premium mapping content, including elevation contours, landowner names, public/private land boundaries, wildlife management areas, wetland production areas, and more.
If you’re hunting densely populated areas, the Alpha 300 series now offers a feature called Channel View. Channel View allows users to monitor the density of Garmin dog collars in a particular area. This enables them to avoid any potential interference with other active Garmin dog collars. And, let’s be honest, it allows you to avoid the other hunters altogether.
inReach (300i Model)
For enhanced peace of mind and extensive communication coverage, the Alpha 300i model incorporates inReach satellite technology. Leveraging the global Iridium satellite network, users can engage in a variety of functions, including sending and receiving messages, navigating their route, tracking and sharing their hunting progress, and, if necessary, triggering an SOS alert to Garmin ResponseSM, a global response coordination center that operates 24/7.
The Alpha 300 series requires a compatible dog collar. Not only do these new handhelds work with the newly released TT 25 and T 20 collars, but they’re also compatible with the T 5, T 5 Mini, T 5X, TT 15, TT 15 Mini, and TT 15X dog collars, as well as Alpha 200, Alpha 10, Alpha 100, and Pro 550 Plus handhelds. This makes it easy to integrate your new Garmin tech with your existing setup.
TT 25 and T 20 Collars
The new TT 25 and T 20 dog collars are lighter and thinner than previous versions. Designed to fit pretty much any breed/size of dog, these collars boast an impressive 68 hours of continual use battery life, or 136 hours with the new extended battery pack.
The difference between the two is stimulation. The TT 25 offers electronic stim while the T 20 does not.
Seven multicolor LED beacon lights have been integrated into the collars, aiding in visually monitoring dog location. These LED lights can be activated or adjusted remotely using a compatible handheld device. Not only do they help you see your pup in low-light scenarios, but they also act as a precautionary measure, alerting drivers if a dog ventures close to a road.
Dynamic Tracking automatically identifies various states of dog activity, such as movement, stillness, and being kenneled/treed. This intelligent feature adjusts the GPS track point intervals accordingly, effectively prolonging the battery life.
Technology isn’t cheap, and neither are these units.
The Alpha 300 has a suggested retail price of $800 and $850 for the Alpha 300i. The T 20 Collar has a suggested retail price of $300 and $350 for the TT 25.
The stoke is high. I happen to have nine hunting dogs across the spectrum of field styles. We currently run the Alpha 100 ($600) with Garmin TT 15 collars ($300) on all of our hounds. (Don’t do the math there — it stings.)
We’ve lost dogs in the mountains overnight chasing everything from mountain lions to bears, as recently as last week. We rely on this tech to make sure our four-legged friends make it back home. They are more than just hunting tools; they are family and worth every dang penny.
With this new setup in the mail headed our way for testing, I’m excited to get it into the mountains and compared to its predecessor. Stay tuned for a full review.