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Dog Is Back, but Handler Is Not - Delaying Completion of Cast
Posted on 04/24/2006 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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Dog Is Back, but Handler Is Not - Delaying Completion of Cast
Q: I was a hunting guide at a major event recently where a situation arose that I felt was handled improperly, or at least involved bad sportsmanship in the way it was handled. Here’s what happened. I was leading the cast by two coons when a time-out was called. Three dogs were in the trucks, including my own. A young man who was handling a dog in the cast was the only one who did not have his dog. The dog was quite a ways from the trucks so I did what I thought was my responsibility as a guide: go with the kid to get his dog. The cast agreed to meet where the trucks had been parked at the road.

We went after the dog, and, as luck would have it, we had some nasty swamps to deal with to get to the dog. At one point, I even carried the kid on my back across the swamp. When we finally got on the other side and caught the dog, we realized we would probably not make it back to the trucks before the hour would get us. I called my dad, who was back at the truck, and asked him to drive around to us and drive us back to the cast, or possibly have the cast meet us at the closest road from where we were at. The two cast members said this is where the designated spot was to meet, and if we couldn’t make it back in time, we would suffer the consequences; they wouldn’t allow my dad to drive around to pick us up.
Of course, we didn’t make it back in time, so the kid and I were both scratched from the cast. I felt like the only reason the other guys in the cast would not drive around or let anyone else pick us up was to get me scratched, as that was probably the only way one of them was going to win the cast. The question is, could they – under UKC rules – have driven around to pick us up or meet us on the other side, or were they right in not allowing anyone to come get us with a vehicle? SC/NC

A: A designated meeting place was established, but in good sportsmanship, yes, the cast certainly could have driven around or at least allowed someone to drive around to pick you guys up. However, if any of the handlers would have agreed to drive around to get you and the young man, they would also be in jeopardy of not making it back in time to the established meeting place.

Actually, I was at the event and was told of the situation there. A few different things came to mind when I first heard about it. It’s a prime example of a guide following through with the responsibility and expectations of a guide. A spot was designated for all cast members to meet, which is exactly what should be done whenever you call time and dogs need to be gathered up. Designating a meeting place is certainly necessary, so there is no argument as to where all cast members need to be within an hour so as not to delay the completion of the cast.

Rule 6(j) Dogs will be scratched {For delaying completion of cast for one hour after time out is called in accordance with Rule 8.} It does not matter whether or not the handler’s dog is back in time. Both handler and dog need to be back ready to continue the hunt within the hour or be scratched under rule 6(j) for delaying completion of cast.

Whenever time is called, a spot needs to be designated to meet. However, in the name of sportsmanship, the whole cast could have driven around on the other side after they knew that is where the guide and the young man were to avoid them from possibly being scratched for delaying the cast. Someone could have and should have been allowed to drive around, pick them up and drive them back to the designated meeting place as well.
Unfortunately, there are some handlers who will, without conviction, do anything within the rules to scratch a cast member. Without discussing this situation with all the cast members involved in this particular situation, we certainly can’t point fingers and accuse them of being a poor sportsman. In their defense, it would be fair to say it was one of these two, however – misconception of the rule or poor sportsmanship – hopefully not the latter.
As far as the guide is concerned in this situation, you need be applauded for helping out the young man gather up his dog, and doing so regardless of the consequences. That’s what you call a good quality guide going above and beyond, even though it takes you out of the hunt in the end. Our sport is lucky to have such fine folks and unfortunately don’t get enough recognition for their efforts. Thanks, Stephen.

Seeing Coon Before, but Not During Shining Time

Q: Four dogs have been declared struck and are running a track. The four handlers who are standing together hear a noise on a nearby tree. All four turn their lights on and watch a coon climb the tree and go into a hole. The dogs run their track to that same tree. It is obviously a den tree and no coon is seen on the outside. Can this tree be scored as coon seen since all handlers saw the coon go in the hole of this tree?

A: Unfortunately, the answer is no. The rules do not provide for scoring a tree before the shining time starts. In the same situation, what would happen if all handlers agree to seeing a coon on the way into a tree, but can’t find it once they get there and start the ten minutes shining time? Should they be able to plus the dogs in that situation also?

In order to be consistent and keep this game as simple and fair as possible, UKC’s interpretation remains that the coon must be seen by a non-hunting Judge or majority of the cast when a hunting Judge is used, during the allotted shining time.