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Coonhound Advisor:Shining Time Reduced to Eight (8) Minutes, other Coonhound news
Posted on 12/14/2016 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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Coonhound Advisor
By Allen Gingerich
As published in COONHOUND BLOODLINES November issue.

This month’s article features the nite hunt rule changes that will be noted in the Official UKC Coonhound Rulebook. These changes will not go into effect until January 1, 2017.

Off-Game Change – Squirrels and Birds
This change is specifically related to squirrels and birds only, as they relate to off game rules.

In scoring situations where no coon is seen, but there is a squirrel seen in the tree, dogs are minused or scratched per off game rules as it relates to the specific category. In Registered casts, dogs are minused for off game, while Nite and Grand Nite casts are scratched for off game offenses. Now here is the change in that rule. If the tree is an obvious den tree, that has a hole big enough for a coon to enter, or the tree has a nest large enough to hold a coon to hide in, then points shall be circled.

What’s very important to note and understand with this change is that a hole or a nest must be seen. A cast could not decide to circle points simply because they cannot shine or see the whole tree. They MUST see a visible hole or place of refuge, such as a nest, where a coon could also be hidden. Could be, should be, or might be, is not good enough. It’s also important to note that a little squirrel hole in the tree is not going to meet the requirement of an obvious den. The hole MUST be large enough for a coon to enter into. Otherwise, the tree must be scored as off game seen. No other way around.

If there’s any question whether a hole is large enough for a coon to get into or a nest is large enough for a coon to be hiding in that can’t be seen, how should the cast come to a decision? Should this be the judge’s decision or a majority of the cast vote decision? We’ve put a lot of thought into this and after considering all the scenarios that it might involve, we’ve come to the conclusion that such a decision shall be made by the judge. If any cast member does not agree, then they should simply follow the procedures to question a call, starting with a cast vote. Like any other judgement calls, it would take a majority vote to overturn the judge’s decision.

Before you are quick to disagree with this, think about it for a while and consider the various scenarios that might come up. The best option is to allow the judge to make that call, with the option for cast members to ask for a vote in the event they feel the judge’s opinion is off base. The bottom line is: this rule was put into place to give the dogs the benefit of the doubt when it is considered that they treed a coon that ran the squirrel out of its den or out of its nest and the squirrel is all you can see in the tree.

As for birds, the rulebook will now also specifically note that they are not considered off game. That applies to birds in the wild. It does not apply to dogs molesting a farmer’s chickens, peacocks, etc., around his buildings. Free-ranging chickens or any free-ranging domesticated farm birds would fall under “livestock”.
Rule 6(g) and Rule 4(m), as it relates to the category (REG, NITECH, GRNITECH) of the cast, in the 2017 Coonhound Rulebook will note to refer to Rule 5(d) under Circle Points in the event a squirrel is seen on an applicable den tree or place of refuge.

Squalling Rule Change
Handlers will now be able to squall, with dogs out on track, after two minutes of shining time has elapsed. That’s a pretty vast change from having to wait for seven minutes under previous rules. This change will be reflected under Rule 6(u).
The only wording that will change in that rule is “seven” is replaced with “two”. Small change in the rule itself, but a big change in the woods. Everything else relative to the squalling rule remains the same. This might also be a good time to remind handlers that they don’t have the option to start squalling at any time before the two minutes is up even if it might not affect any struck dog out on trail. As in the past, handlers may start squalling, pulling on vines, etc., right away if the dog(s) that is out is not declared struck.

Shining Time Reduced to Eight (8) Minutes
There’s not much to explain or clarify with this change. In the past. the cast was allowed ten minutes to shine a tree. With the new change, the cast will now have eight minutes to shine trees. As in the past, a coon must be seen by a majority of the cast during that allotted shining time in order to plus the points.
So there you have it. These are the three rule changes that were passed by the Rules Committee. They are all pretty straight forward and easy to understand. If you have any questions on any one of them, you can email me at agingerich@ukcdogs.com or contact me at the UKC office at your convenience.