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A Lesson On Strike Positions
Posted on 05/01/2012 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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Advisor Article – April'12
Allen Gingerich

A Lesson On Strike Positions
This month we’ve gone back to the archives and dug up five different topics. While each topic is different, they all have one similarity in common. Consider it a lesson on “strike positions”.

Declaring a Dog Struck After the Fact
Q: Let’s say Dog A opens once or twice, but is not declared struck. Ten seconds later Dog B opens immediately, followed by the handler of Dog A now striking his dog. He tells the Judge he is not striking Dog B but is striking the dog that had opened earlier. Is that acceptable? CS/OK
A: The first paragraph in the honor rules states a dog must open before it can be declared struck or treed. Rule 9 states handlers are to tell the Judge when their dog opens and when the dog trees. This is interpreted by UKC to mean that a call must be made by the handler when the dog is opening, or immediately after a bark. This prevents a handler from holding off but then jumping in behind someone else for second strike when another dog barks later on, or like in the situation described above, the handler of Dog A was quick enough to strike his dog before Dog B was struck. The handler of Dog A did not have to strike his dog initially if it didn’t open more than twice after the first minute of releasing the dog(s). That’s all fine and dandy but now after Dog B opens some time later the handler tries to steal a strike position. Sorry, that position was lost ten seconds ago unless Dog A opens again before Dog B is declared struck. Bottom line - you should strike your dog immediately when it opens and not wait until later when another dog in the cast opens.

Strike Position Held Until Recast
Q: Dogs A, B and C are all declared struck and treed in that order. Dog D is shut out. The tree is scored and, in the process of leading the dogs away from the tree to be recast, Dog D is declared struck and treed. Since the tree had already been scored does this open all strike positions?
A: It is UKC’s position that strike points are never considered open again under these circumstances until those dogs coming out of a scoring situation have been recast.

Let’s use an example to show how it would be considered unfair if strike points were considered open prior to releasing the dogs, such as the question posted above. Let’s say A, B and C are declared struck in that order. C is declared treed first, followed by B then A. A coon is seen. Dog A’s score would be 150, Dog B 150, and Dog C 175. Now Dog D is declared struck and treed just like in the question/scenario described above. If first or all strike positions would be open, and Dog D has a coon, then his score would be 225+. Most would probably agree it wouldn’t seem right that Dog D ends up with the better score considering it took longer to strike and tree a coon.

Strike Positions with Dogs Returning to Previously Scored Tree
Q: In a three-dog cast, all dogs are led away from a tree that was just scored and recast. Dogs A and B are declared struck and end up going back to the previously scored tree. The handlers go to the tree and handle them. Before A and B can be recast, Dog C is declared struck and treed. Does Dog C get first or third strike position? LM/AR
A: First, let’s consider a slightly different scenario. What if both Dogs A and B went back to the previously scored tree, but before they get there they both take off away from the tree and are not handled at the previously scored tree? They would still hang onto their strike positions, right? That is until/unless the eight minutes on strike rule was to catch them.

It is UKC’s position that after a dog has been scored, it holds its respective strike position until recast, which is consistent with Rule 2(a). {All dogs must be off leash in order for any dog to receive 100 strike points.}

This would also include a situation as described above where Dogs A and B were declared struck by the handler and ended up on a previously scored tree. The fact that the tree had already been previously scored does not matter. In this situation, third position (50) is the available strike position for Dog C.

Strike Positions Available When Points are Split
Q: Recently, I was the judge in a cast where a situation arose that in the 27 years of competing in nite hunts I never had happen before. On the first turnout, we split the strike points between all four dogs in the cast. Dogs A, B and C were declared treed. We scored the tree and cut them back to Dog D, who was still trailing. The question is what strike position(s) are open? I scored all three dogs at 25 strike points was that correct? JD/WI
A: When you split the strike points between four dogs, even though each dog was given 62˝ points, all four positions are taken. Forget about the strike points of 62˝. Think of it as positions. All four positions were taken, so the only position available would have been 25 for each dog that was recast to Dog D. Yes, you scored it correctly.

Next Available?
Q: We have a big debate going on in West Virginia regarding the scoring of “next available position”. Basically, the question is this. In a three-dog cast, Dogs A, B and C are declared struck. Dogs A and B are declared treed and scored. Dog C is trailing, and Dogs A and B are turned in. When Dogs A and B are struck back in with C, will they be assigned 50 strike points or 25? Those arguing in favor of 50 points claim that you can’t have a fourth position in a three-dog cast. They claim that in a two-dog cast, 75 is the lowest point value that can be carried. What do you think? West Virginia
A: I think that, without doubt, someone who is the least bit convincing in their ability to discuss rule interpretations while out on a cast could probably pull this one off on occasion. But the truth is, the point schedule laid out in the Nite Hunt Honor Rules makes no reference to the claim that you only use as many strike positions as you have dogs in the cast. Excluding the one-dog cast, it’s quite possible to use all point values in any other cast. Let’s use the two-dog cast as an example.

Dogs A and B are struck for 100 (for dog that opens first) and 75 (for dog that opens second). Dog A is treed and scored and turned into Dog B. When he opens, Dog A gets the next available strike position, which is 50. Remember, you only have one set of strike points, and this is the third time a dog has been struck on this set of strike points. If Dog B is scored and turned back in, when he strikes it will be the fourth time a dog has been struck in on this set of points and he will go in for 25 because 50 is being held.

Keep in mind that if Dog A is holding 100 strike and Dog B is scored on a second strike/first tree coon, that Dog B will be turned back in for 75 because it is available again. Rule historians will remember way back when the old rules used to say, “Once a position has been minused, it becomes available again.” That was really an interpretation problem.

About ten years ago that rule was changed to read, “Once a position has been scored, it becomes available again.” Just thought I would throw that little tidbit at you in case you ever get asked that in a game of Trivial Pursuit!