Posted on 09/06/2012 in Full Circle.
Q: Using 6 a.m. as the deadline to enter the event, is it considered as “in time” so long as you are entered prior to 6:01?
A: For whatever reason, it seems like we hear more debate over time issues in terms of deadlines to enter or returning scorecards compared to yester years. In those days everyone accepted the old clock on the wall as what we went by without argument. Today, the Master of Hounds might easily be involved in a deadline issue argument with a participant who’s cell phone time doesn’t match up to the split second of the clock on the wall at the club.
Regardless, it’s an easy fix for all parties involved, and any arguments or debates on time issues are easily clarified.
Let’s start with some suggestions for the officials conducting the event. The club should consider the importance of having a timepiece or clock that is placed in plain view of all. Then one of the first things the official should do upon their arrival at the clubhouse is check to see that it is, at the very least, very close to being accurate. If not then make the necessary adjustment right away. Obviously it should be done in plenty of time prior to the deadline to enter the event and never after the casts have been sent off to the woods. Finally, when reading off the checklist prior to sending casts to the woods, the official will once again announce the official time of that moment. This will allow the hunters to check and compare their personal time pieces.
What is considered late? Using 6 a.m. as the deadline example, the point of the official clock striking 6 a.m. indicates the deadline has arrived. The event official should immediately announce that entries are closed. At that point, any participant not in line to enter is too late. Busting through the clubhouse door at the time while the official is making the announcement is not “in line”. As you’ve probably also figured out, 6:01 is too late.
The same philosophy applies for the deadline to return scorecards. It is the responsibility of the official to note the time it was received on each scorecard. That should be their very first agenda when accepting a returned scorecard, then followed by double checking for mathematical errors, or ruling on a question etc., etc.
It’s important that participants understand that the event official has the official time and will go by such. Simply because your personal cell phone varies a minute or so from the official’s clock does not warrant raising an argument over it. The bottom line is the participant should always allow themselves plenty of time to get there and never rely on their personal timepiece to be exactly in sync with the official time at the club.
Any notions to turn the official clock back five, ten or fifteen minutes for the sake of any late-comers should not be considered. Here’s why. Let’s say I’m aware that the Coshocton Club is known to set their official clock back for such reasons. I’ve had a long night and overslept, resulting in running very close on getting to the club in time. There’s a good chance I’ll be five minutes late but, hey, I’m gonna be good cause their official club clock is set back 10 to 15 minutes. Upon arriving in the clubhouse, I learn that Mr. Swafford is the Master of Hounds and made the necessary adjustments to the official timepiece when he got there to reflect a more accurate time because he doesn’t subscribe to the club’s theory of moving the time back. Now I’m a little frustrated because of their closer to accurate club clock. I missed the deadline! I think you get the picture.
We realize some are of the opinion that UKC is too strict when it comes to deadlines. The fact is, deadlines were implemented for good reasons. And, like any other rule, choosing to not enforce rules for any reason may easily result in questioning the integrity of the sport and the titles it awards. I’ve personally had to turn away participants at our own UKC administered events for missing the deadlines. I hate having to do it as much as any official at the local club level. But guess what, late is late, and when the deadline is up, it’s time to move forward!
We Are Not All Judges.
This topic is near and dear to my heart. It’s one of my pet peeves, actually. How many times have you seen a cast gather and someone, usually the person in possession of the scorecard, exclaims, “We are all really Judges for this cast.” It can happen even in cases where a club or association has made an effort to appoint a quality Judge on the cast. In an effort to not come off looking like a jerk, someone accepts the scorecard agreeing to record points while making it very clear that all decisions will be voted on by all cast members. Man, I hate that.
That is not how the scoring system is designed to work. It may sound nice and friendly, but it can quickly lead to choosing up sides and stalemate votes and inconsistent judging.
Every cast must have a Judge assigned to it. It is the club’s responsibility to assign Judges who are honest, knowledgeable and capable of serving as a Judge. If the event official simply follows proper procedures to draw casts ,then it should never be an issue of not being able to come up with good hunting judges.
It’s pretty simple. Start by determining how many judges you will need. Then select that amount of judges from your entry pool in each category and place them on the scorecards first. Next, determine how many guides you’ll need, keeping in mind that one or more of your judges may also be a guide. Have your remaining guides needed in a separate pool. Now draw them to each card that needs a guide. Finally, draw your remaining entries to the scorecards.
This procedure assures the club they are using their best, qualified judges. The other thing it does is it allows the less experienced or knowledgeable to learn from them. One more thing. If you will have casts with less than four dogs, add the amount of blank entries into the pool and stick them on the card as well. That shows that the three dog casts were drawn, and eliminates any theories or perceptions of so and so got a three dog cast because “whatever”.
The Hunting Judge, and the Judge alone, makes all decisions regarding the scoring of a cast, with exception to a few where the rules specifically state “majority of the cast”. So often I hear from people who are hung up on the fact that you shouldn’t be able to hunt a two-dog cast because there is not a majority. The first thing I ask them is, “How is a two-dog cast different from a four-dog cast?” You still don’t have an odd number of handlers. The truth is you don’t need an odd number of handlers to judge a cast of dogs. All you need is one honest and capable Hunting Judge. That being said, the obvious issue at hand comes into play when the Judge’s decision is questioned.
Did you ever stop to think that in a three- or four-dog cast, if even one person agrees with the way the Judge scored a situation, he/she cannot be overturned by the cast? That is really significant in my mind. That tells us that the only time a Judge’s decision can be overturned in the woods is when the remainder of the cast members unanimously agree that the Judge has made a bad decision.
If we, as clubs and event hosting organizations, would put just a little more effort and concern into the selection and appointment of quality Hunting Judges, problems and controversies would be almost non-existent. And if those Hunting Judges appointed by the club would take control of the cast instead of claiming “we are all Judges”, the system we have in place will work very well. It’s the mentality that “we are all Judges” that prompts a lackadaisical attitude about drawing casts, assigning and accepting authority.