Questions and answers from United Kennel Club Coonhounds

Questions and answers from United Kennel Club Coonhounds Off Game and a Coon in Same Tree

Q: How do you score a tree where both off game and a coon are seen in the same tree?

A: You should give the dogs the benefit of the doubt and plus the points.

Off Game and Den Tree

Q: How do you score a tree that is an obvious den tree but you see off game in the tree?

A: In that case you don’t see the coon; therefore, you have to score it as seeing off game only.

Off Game or a Coon

Q: What if a cast cannot all agree whether the game seen in the tree is a coon or some other off game?

A: This situation is not a matter of a majority not seeing the game. The situation is determining what the game is; therefore, it is not a matter that automatically goes to a majority vote for a decision. Instead, the judge of the cast shall make the decision on whether it is a coon or not, based on his or her opinion. Unless any handler disagrees, that is the decision. If anyone in the cast does not agree with the judge’s decision they may ask for a cast vote. It would then take a majority voting against the judge in order for his or her decision to be reversed. In a four-dog cast, it would take all three handlers voting against the judge. Two and two is not a majority to overturn the judge’s decision.

Act of Courtesy Questioned

Q: In a three-dog cast, all dogs are declared treed. I was the hunting judge. When we arrived, my dog was not at the tree so I minused the dog and ordered the other two dogs to be handled. The dogs were treed on a fairly steep bank of a creek. I crossed the creek and started shining on that side while the other two handlers were shining from the side the dogs were treed on. Soon after we started shining, one of the guys yelled at me and said my dog came into the tree, which I saw as well. So I asked the one handler if he would handle and tie my dog for me if I threw him my lead strap. He said sure, and that’s what he did. This was the same handler whose dog was leading the cast. After he tied my dog, the other handler wanted him scratched for handling another handler’s dog. I was a bit dumbfounded but he was adamant that he be scratched for it. I told him that I knew of no such rule. He continued to make a fuss of it and after the hunt was over he raised the question with the Master of Hounds and wanted to fill out a complaint against me. Does UKC have any such rule that I’m not aware of?

A: This question may be best answered with a question. Where does that logic come from? There are obviously handler infractions that do result in a scratch, but this is not one of them. Not even close. Last time I checked, leashing and tying a dog back for another handler in the cast is a form of courtesy and good sportsmanship. Making a stink of it and trying to get a handler scratched for doing so seems like exactly the opposite of that.

For the record, UKC defines “handling” as verbally calling the dog struck and treed. Physically handling a dog may be done by the handler or anyone else in the cast, if needed. Young handlers sometimes need help leading a dog, handling a dog at the tree or even turning it loose. In the scenario above, it sounds like one cast member was more interested in looking for a way to eliminate the competition as opposed to actually competing and let the chips fall where they may.

Agreeing to Allow Track and Train Handhelds to be Carried is not an Option

Have you ever, as a handler, been involved in a cast where all handlers agree to allow the handheld of a track and training device to be carried by the handlers? If so, you might think about what you are doing before you agree to something that is against the rules. No judge or handler has the authority or the option to agree to disregard any rule. Agreeing to disregard this or any other rule is never a good idea.

If such a question ever arises in a cast you are involved with, you would be well advised to speak up and let the rest of the cast know that “we don’t have the option of agreeing to disregard a rule”. Otherwise, this might be a good time to take note of the “Attention” list that runs alongside this monthly column. That list was implemented for things of this nature that were not reported or handled on the day of the event.

Honesty and Integrity

honesty, n.1. Quality of being honest; a honour, seemliness of behaviour; b chastity; c uprightness of character; freedom from deceit and fraud; integrity, trustworthiness.

integrity, n. ‘completeness, soundness; blamelessness, innocence’.

How many times have you heard someone tell the story of how they got cheated at a nite hunt? Sometimes it becomes apparent that it’s more of an issue with the complainant and not knowing and understanding the rules well enough. Sometimes it’s an excuse for the dog. Sometimes it’s the truth!

One’s honesty and integrity certainly play a key role when it comes to making decisions during the course of a nite hunt. We are very appreciative of those hunters and judges who can always be counted on to base their decisions on doing the right thing according to the situation at hand, regardless of how it affects the dog they are handling. The rules provided for nite hunts work flawlessly for the most part if the honesty and integrity of those involved is what it should be. Otherwise, judgment calls or voting situations can certainly change the outcome of a cast winner.

Furthermore, what is a win or a title really worth when we got caught up in scoring something wrong for the simple sake of winning? I’m fairly certain that hounds don’t care whether they win or lose. Titles on the line or not, they simply don’t always perform according to the reputation they may have earned. However, that should never be the case when it comes to judges and handlers. Their integrity and reputation is always on the line during the course of a nite hunt. Five or ten years from now, we will have forgotten the dog that got an undeserved win, but we certainly won’t forget the face of a dishonest handler. It’s good to be reminded of this every now and then and to be encouraged to be a positive influence for the new guys coming into our sport. Some things are out of our control. Our honesty and integrity is not one of those things. Our actions and the choices we make determine our integrity.




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