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Communications Policy and Minusing Dogs For Quitting A Track
Posted on 11/12/2005 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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November Advisor
Allen Gingerich

Q: In a four dog cast, dogs A and B are declared treed. Dogs C and D go up the creek another 500 feet and are called treed. All dogs are declared treed and we start to them. Dogs A and B leave their tree and go to dogs C and D. They are declared treed again. I minused dogs A and B for leaving the first tree and when we got to dogs C and D, all dogs were on the same tree. I drew a line through dogs A and B tree points and minused their strike points because a coon was seen. Handler’s A and B said that they still had two minutes left on the tree but I say all dogs were declared treed so all trees were closed. Am I right? It would not have made a difference in the outcome as all dogs were scratched for off-game ten minutes later. KB / OH

A: You are correct. Whenever all dogs in the cast are declared treed, the trees are considered closed regardless of how much time might be left on the five. Dogs A and B moved on down to C and D’s tree which was already closed. In the situation described above, strike points would be minused since coon was seen. If dogs A and B would have been minused for leaving their tree before C and D were declared treed; then you would have to wait the whole five minutes, and dogs A and B would have been eligible for tree points. For future reference, since dog C and D’s tree was closed, you should not have accepted a tree call from any other handler on that particular tree. The only way a tree call could have been accepted from the handlers of dogs A and B is if they were determined to be split from dogs C and D at the time when they were declared treed. (Judges decision) By the way, those possums sure can put a halt to a hunt in a hurry, can’t they? Darn things anyway!

Communications Policy
Q:Can a handler be scratched for using a cell phone or other type radio while participating in a Nite Hunt?

A: UKC maintains that you cannot scratch someone for simply using a phone or radio in the field unless you can prove that it was used to falsify the hunt or facilitate any other means of operating outside of UKC policy and procedures. UKC does not have a problem with two casts talking to each other in a way that is strictly above board and for the purpose of providing the cast a better hunt. For instance, it would be acceptable to call your friend to ask him if his cast has already hunted the old Johnson farm. However, it would not be acceptable to call Joe, your partner in crime, to tell him to go ahead and turn the coon loose at Rock Creek because you are only five minutes away.
If UKC has reason to believe that individuals are using such equipment for purposes that could be considered detrimental to the sport, we will investigate such matters on a case by case basis and subsequently hold a misconduct hearing if the situation warrants it. Scores should not be discussed between casts simply to prevent any misunderstandings even when the intent is completely harmless.
If you don’t want people accusing you of being involved in anything crooked, it would be UKC’s advice to stay off your phone or radio.

Minusing Dogs For Quitting A Track
The first portion of Rule 4(e) is the rule that deals with dog’s quitting tracks and the penalty for doing so. In part, this rule reads, “Points will be minus when a dog quits a trail that is being worked and comes in.” The most important thing to remember when determining whether or not Rule 4(e) applies to a given situation is that two different criteria must be met. A declared struck dog must be determined to have quit a track, and, the dog must come in to the cast after doing so. (For the record, quitting and NOT coming in is covered under the second half of 4(e) which is casually referred to as the 8 minute rule) A common problem with interpreting the written rules is when a handler does not read the entire rule.

Some handlers are under the impression that a dog can/should be minused anytime it quits a track. But the rules do not back this logic up. The probable reason that the rules do not back this up is the difficulty in determining what is and what is not the same track. Let’s say for example that the second dog opens a significant distance from the declared struck dog that pulls to it. There is no guarantee on whether it is the same track or a different one. Even if a dog is seen to leave the track it’s working and pull to a dog that opens on what you are fairly certain is a different track, the dog cannot be minused. Only a portion of 4(e) was satisfied. The dog may have quit, but he did not come in.

The judgement call in this situation becomes determining if a dog “came in” or not. Should a dog that runs past the cast be determined to have “come in” to the cast? Each situation is different but it seems reasonable that coming in and going past the cast are two different things. Is the cast standing enroute to where the dog is headed or, did the dog come in to the cast and upon reaching the cast head out in a different direction? It is and always will be a judgement call but we urge judges to take all of this into consideration and be fair and consistent with determining if a dog “came in” to the cast or not.

One last thought on this topic concerns struck dogs that come in to the cast while the cast is shining another dog’s tree. It’s not uncommon to hear handlers claim that dogs are to be minused in that situation no matter what because they did a) quit their track and b) came in to the cast. Rule 5(e) however clearly states that no dogs are to receive minus points for coming into tree after judge arrives unless a coon is seen. So, if the tree in question is scored circle or minus, keep in mind that any dog that comes in after the judge arrives cannot be minused in conjunction with 4(e).