Dogs play a key role

Nature conservation work with invasive species in the Finnish archipelago requires skilled dogs to succeed. And equipment that function. These activities are carried out on a wide front on our coastline by Archipelago Nature Care and Protection Association.

Wide range of dogs are used; Karelian bear dogs, American fox dogs, Finnish Hounds, Finnish Spitz, field line golden retrievers, East Siberian laikas, fox terriers. The job of these dogs is to locate minks and raccoons in the archipelago. They also reveal otters and these observations are recorded. They provide an insight to the otter population of the coast of Finland.

High quality for professionals

Dog tracking devices are having tough times on hard rocky terrain. Invasive species that are caught are fleeing or hiding under the rocks as the archipelago is filled with trenches and canyons, crater-like holes and rock cliffs. The dogs go after them into sharp-edged rocks. Often it takes time to catch the prey before the hunter gets to the scene. In particular, the collar casing is subject to a heavy strain, they must withstand hard knocks. Devices with antennas easily get broke, especially short antennas. Ultracom R10 and R10 Hybrid have been found to be durable devices. The R10 hybrid antenna has to withstand heavy use. The antenna should be attached along the collar with a fastener.

Waterproofness is important

When it comes to working in the archipelago, it is clear that collars get wet in the ocean. The tracking devices must withstand the water work. Collars have to show the dog’s position in the water. Often dogs swim to other islands after a scent. It is very important that the collars show location in the water as well. There might come a situation also where it is not allowed to enter the island where the dog is swimming. In this case, the dog must be caught before it steps to an unauthorized island. Ultracom R10 has performed well in these conditions. The R10 hybrid works well in water due to its VHF feature. Also, the GPS feature provides a location in water as long as the antenna is attached along the collar. Otherwise, the collar will often hang upside down when the GSM unit is under water. The VHF feature also shows the location even if the dog is underground and out of reach of the mobile network.

High quality for professionals

It is clear that the functionality of the equipment is appreciated by anyone who values their hunting dogs. The quality of the equipment is particularly important for professional operators. Work schedules are pre-planned. You have to get a lot done in a day. You cannot go home, even if technology fails. Working terrains are located in the open seas and the trip takes several days at a time. It is not possible to leave the work to get new replacing equipment from the mainland.

Text and photos: Tommy Arfman