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All Youth Hunts Are Now 90 Minutes!
Posted on 03/01/2012 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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Advisor Article – February '12
Allen Gingerich

All Youth Hunts Are Now 90 Minutes!
For the past several years, UKC has allowed organizers the option of holding one- or two-hour nite hunts at their youth events. It worked well for the most part, although it did result in some confusion at times.

All UKC youth event nite hunts are split into two separate age divisions. The younger division is kids ages 5 to 12. For this group, some feel two hours of hunting time is simply too long for several different reasons. For some kids it can become a bit strenuous physically, or, if weariness sets in, they tend to lose interest. There’s been several stories told where a youngster leading the cast going into the last drop of the night chose to withdraw for the sake of a little shuteye becoming the desired option.

The older division is kids ages 13 to 17. Most of these older kids are capable of more physically and have no problems with hanging for a two-hour hunt. Heck, many of them might hunt from dusk to dawn better than most 40-year- olds!

Then there’s those that subscribe to the theory that one- hour hunts are simply a crap shoot. And that a lot more luck plays a part in winning such a cast. Some have suggested we allow two hours for the older division and one hour for the younger division. Two different time periods, however, doesn’t seem to be a good option as the two age groups are placed as one.

For the organizers, a one-hour hunt might be more attractive in terms of it being easier to solicit guides, judges and hunting grounds. Makes sense so long as we don’t short change the kids and forget they should remain in our best interests when making these decisions.

After consideration and discussions relative to the concerns mentioned, we’ve made the decision that a happy medium hunt time period might be the ticket for all youth events per the following. Effective January 1, 2012, all nite hunts at youth events will be 90 minutes. This includes YEP events, State Youth Championships, Breed Association Youth Events and the UKC Youth Nationals. Organizers will no longer have any other time options.

Giving Credit Where Credit is not Due
Scenario: All dogs are declared struck. Dogs A, B and C are declared treed in that order. In short order, Dogs A and C were minused their tree points for leaving when they were obviously back on trail left handed of Dog B who remained locked down on tree. After the five was up, the cast went to Dog B. While shining the tree, Dog D came into the area and was declared treed on the next tree over. After finding coons in both trees, a question arose from one of the handlers. He suggested that the cast had no way of knowing for sure where Dogs A and C had actually been treed at originally. And that Dog B could/should be moved up to first tree. He called for a vote. Another cast member suggested that regardless of the fact that there were other coons sit- ting around, Dogs A and C never treed right to begin with,and Dog B rightfully should have had its tree alone. The 3 to 1 vote resulted in moving Dog B to first tree. Considering there was a coon in the next tree over and the fact that Dogs A and B were never really treed right to begin with, was the cast correct in moving Dog B up to first tree? Advisor: First, Rule 11 states that if a split tree is obvious, it must be declared. “Obvious” being a very key term. It goes on to say that it is the judge’s decision (meaning whether or not a split tree is obvious and to declare it as such).

Even though Dogs A and C may not having been treed right when called, the judge recorded their positions as called without question. They were not minused until they were heard trailing left handed. Any concerns of a dog(s) not treed when called must be addressed when called. To include any such concerns within a ruling ten minutes later and after scoring two trees is unacceptable in accordance with the last sentence in Rule 11.

A few other factors that play a part are: 1) tree positions never become available to any other dog until after they have been scored; and 2) a dog cannot be awarded any position higher than or one already held by a dog in the cast. Combine these notables and our answer becomes, Dog B cannot be moved up.

Some find it rather hard to accept that we would not move remaining dogs up when a dog holding a higher position has left the tree. I guess the question is, how can we justify awarding a dog points or a position it didn’t earn? You shouldn’t. They may only receive credit for the position they earned. Just because the dog that treed first left the tree doesn’t change the fact that the next dog treed second.

How Was That Last Tree Scored?
Scenario: All dogs are declared treed and the cast shines the tree. No coon is seen. The judge scores it according to his own judgment and calls time out. He doesn’t let the cast know how he scored it until after the dogs have been loaded back in the trucks and one cast member asks him how he had scored the tree. What happens when the cast does not agree on how the judge had scored it? Can they still vote on it at the trucks?
Advisor: If you’ve been reading these columns for any significant period of time you’re likely well versed, and have read it a hundred times, in that there are three situations that automatically go to a cast vote when hunting judges are being utilized. Those three items are: 1) scoring of trees (plus or minus); 2) calling time out; and 3) previously scored trees.

Unlike all other situations where the judge makes the call, the three items mentioned go directly to a cast vote. The judge’s vote holds no more weight than any other cast member’s. When it comes to scoring trees, you must have a majority of the cast see a coon in order to plus points or a majority vote to minus the tree. In the case where there is not a majority one way or the other, you would circle the tree.

So the judge does not make a sole decision on how the tree is scored. That must be decided via a majority of the cast vote while still at the tree. Voting at the trucks on how to score a tree you’re no longer looking at doesn’t seem like an acceptable option. What if two handlers thought the tree should have been minused while the other two think it should be circled? If I’m one of those who felt it was an obvious slick I’d like for the other two to be able to show me a hole, a part of the tree that couldn’t be shined or some place where a coon could be hiding. Wouldn’t you? While I might not be able to do much about changing the outcome of the way the tree was officially scored, I might learn something else about them.

Regardless, there’s not a correct answer to the question as described. Instead, it is important to remind judges that they know, understand and fulfill their required duties. That includes getting the vote of each handler while still at the tree. There should never be any question as to how the tree was scored prior to leaving it. If there is then someone’s not doing their job. And for the other handlers, forget about being Mr. Nice Guy and giving the hunting judge the go- ahead to score your trees. Simply let him know what your vote is as the rules require you to.