When choosing to use a hunting bell on your dog while hunting or at a field trial, there are several important factors to consider. Dog bells come in many different sizes, material types, and designs. Each of these elements factor into what the bell is going to sound like when running and jumping. In this article, we are going to focus on choosing between a low tone or a high tone bell and the considerations that may play into your choice.
Let’s first start with defining what low tone and high tone means. The tone of a bell is the sound produced when the clapper comes in contact with the walls of the bell. The tone produced is determined by many components. The biggest determinant is the overall size of the bell; the larger the bell, the lower and deeper the tone that will be produced. As such, the smaller the bell, the higher the tone. In terms of size, LCS carries the Sportsman Brass Bell (our smallest at only 1 ½ inches tall), but also bells as large as 2 9/16 inches tall, 2 3/8 inches wide, like the Handmade Sheep Bell, and several sizes in between.
The acoustical properties of the bell also play a large role in the tone produced. Bells are generally made out of brass, tin, or steel, but can be made out of most other materials. The acoustical properties of the material can be modified by simply adding tape around the outside of the bell. This will change the tone by restricting the bell from being able to resonate as well. We have also seen some trainers add soldering to the clapper of the bell to change the weight of the clapper. This will also consequentially alter the tone of the bell.
Why does bell tone matter?
Tone plays a demonstrable part in how well you will be able to hear the bell ringing and at the distance of which you will be able to hear it. I don’t want to go to deep into acoustical physics, so I’ll give a crash course. High tone bells product a higher energy, shorter wave sound. This sound is great at short distances, as it can be loudly heard. However, because of the shorter wave length of the sound, it doesn’t carry as far and is more affected by heavy cover. A low tone bell, on the other hand, produces a lower energy, larger wave length sound. This sound is better able to carry over a distance and subsequently is not affected by cover as much.
Which bell tone is better for you?
The tone of the bell mostly comes down to personal preference and the range at which you are going to be running your dog. Higher tone bells can sometimes be hard to hear for people with moderate hearing loss. For smaller dogs or dogs running closer range, I would recommend high tone bells. For larger dogs and those ranging out several hundred yards, I would recommend low tone bells.