Bird Dogs & Training  |  10/27/2018

Rooster Road Trip Review: Garmin PRO 550 Plus

By Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever

We've put a lot of awesome gear through the pheasant paces on this Rooster Road Trip public habitat and public access tour. Taking Top Dog honors as a favorite for its technology and function is the new Garmin Fish & Hunt PRO 550 Plus Training and Tracking Bundle.

The PRO 550 combines a robust training collar that includes simple GPS dog tracking. During Pheasants Forever's Rooster Road Trip 2018, we ran the PRO 550 Plus on both flushing and pointing dogs. Naturally, with its proven Garmin GPS capabilities and the ability to track three dogs out to two miles, the PRO 550 Plus will shine for pointing dog enthusiasts. This was evident during our runs with "Scout," a big-running English setter who commonly pushes 100 yards in pheasant country and out to 200 to 300 yards when prairie grouse is the game.

The PRO 550 Plus also has some applications for those with closer-working rooster rousers like flushers and retrievers. When "Beau" the Labrador retriever sported the PRO 550 Plus, it was easy to rely on the directional tracking in thick cover like cattails and keep on the move with her. It was even easier when we paired it with our Garmin fÄ“nix® series watches and only had to glance down at our wrist as opposed to using the handheld. And while it wasn't a situation we encountered on this particular trip, there was universal agreement among the Rooster Road Trip hunters at how the PRO 550 Plus could be extremely valuable on those retrieves where downed roosters hit the ground running and the dogs are off to the races. Finally, there's simply the unmatched comfort of knowing you'll never go home without your bird dog.

The PRO 550 Plus has a simplicity that's hard to resist. The design of the handheld is intuitive. It's paired to the handheld out of the box. Charge. Go hunt. Go home with your dog. And that's why it's the Rooster Road Trip Top Dog Gear Award Winner of 2018.