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Casting Dogs Where Guide Doesn’t Have Permission
Posted on 08/06/2012 in Full Circle.

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As many of our Beaglers may already know, my job description and focus has, for the most part during the past eight years, surrounded UKC’s Coonhound Programs. One of my duties includes writing an Advisor column each month similar to Full Circle. The only difference is the format. Recently I’ve been asked, along with Todd Kellam, to “sit in” and share some of the programs’ duties.
Beagles have always been a part of my life so I do have equal interest in this format all the same. Some of you could probably even reminisce on days gone by where your hound bested mine in a trial somewhere. Nonetheless, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ll need to do a little brushing up on some of the running rules before getting too crazy with hunt scenario questions and answers. For starters, we’ll take a look at a few other event-related items this month instead. As always we encourage our Beaglers to send in your questions or concerns that you would like to see addressed in Full Circle. Happy trails!

Casting Dogs Where Guide Doesn’t Have Permission
Q: Recently I drew out in a cast where, unbeknownst the cast members at the time, we turned our dogs in where our guide did not have permission to hunt. The dogs were all struck when suddenly a four-wheeler comes speeding across the field towards us. Obviously upset, this guy started yelling at us about how we don’t have permission to be there. He said the law was on the way and demanded we stayed put until they showed up. Our guide then apologized for bringing our cast to this spot and admitted he didn’t have permission. After a few choice words to the guide on our cast, the landowner seemed to calm down some.

In the meantime, we called time out and gathered up the dogs. By the time we got back out to the trucks, the game warden was there waiting on us. Thank goodness, the landowner was gracious enough to let us slide after discussing the situation, and no one was cited for anything. However, this whole ordeal took a long time, and because of it, we could not get our hunt time in before the scheduled deadline to return to the clubhouse. I feel this is an issue that should be addressed and, for the most part, could be avoided if clubs were a little more concerned who they assign as guides.

A: Most of us who have hunted hounds for any length of time have likely found ourselves in a situation where the dogs trail or end up where we don’t have permission to hunt. However, a guide casting dogs where they don’t have permission to hunt is unacceptable. It’s an issue that club officers must consider when assigning guides at their events.

UKC maintains it is the club’s responsibility to assign guides who have permission to hunt where they are taking their casts. Guides who are known to take casts in places where they don’t have permission should not be used or even considered. Club or event officials should be notified of any such situations and need to be concerned of any such complaints.

When an individual agrees to be the designated guide, their responsibilities must include the safety of the handlers, the dogs and a spot where they have permission to be. Anything less is unacceptable. If this is found to be the case then those guides should not be disappointed when their services are no longer needed.

UKC Policy Regarding Hunt Judging Privileges
Every now and again we receive phone calls where a participant contacts the UKC office to discuss a ruling that was made on a cast they participated in. Some of these questions come from inexperienced handlers who accepted the ruling thinking it must have been the right call; however, had reservations about it. In some cases it becomes evident where a hunting judge may have unethically used a participant’s inexperience or lack of knowledge of the rules to gain an advantage for themselves or others in the cast. In other words, they knowingly took advantage of such a situation.

Whenever there’s a debate or difference of opinion in the field regarding a ruling that is made, or not made, then UKC rules require a handler to follow the proper procedures to question the call at the time it happened in order to resolve the issue. Understandably, an inexperienced cast member may not always be aware of those procedures. Nonetheless, it is disheartening to have to tell an individual that they may very well have been taken advantage of, yet there’s nothing UKC can do about it when procedures were not followed to correct the matter.

The Disciplinary Action Committee at United Kennel Club has agreed and authorized for the Hunting Departments to take action against individuals/judges found to have blatantly cheated a cast member or abused their authority. Of course, these matters will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If it is determined that such an incident occurred, then the individual may be placed on probation and will not allowed to judge for a certain period of time. Any such individuals will be notified of such by mail. In addition, their name will be published on a “Judging Privileges Restricted” list published in COONHOUND BLOODLINES. This policy does not apply for the experienced handler who choses to not debate or question a blatant call with the intent of getting the judge in trouble in this manner.

When a participant is asked to judge, the first criteria must be that they are knowledgeable of the rules. Otherwise, they should not accept the position. Experience suggests that an otherwise good hunt can turn ugly in a hurry when the judge is inadequate to serve in that capacity. If the recommended method to assign judges is used, as outlined in the rulebook under Master of Hounds/Hunt Director (Drawing Casts and Judges), then there should never be an issue for any event, large or small, to have solid judges in place.

Along these same lines, we strongly encourage all participants to educate themselves on the rules and procedures. We are confident in our good judges in that they will always try to avoid letting an inexperienced or unknowledgeable cast member fall into an unfortunate situation. It’s never a good idea to resort to bending rules to help out a newcomer. Rules are rules, and are intended to be applied as written for the most experienced participants all the way down to any first timers. Sure, newcomers will learn a lot of things through experience and will learn many things the hard way, as most of us have, but they are never a good excuse for a judge to abuse their authority and take advantage of them. Explain and help the inexperienced understand the rules whenever necessary. It will help to keep them in the sport rather than chase them away before they ever get started.