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Falling Short of Trailing to the Hole
Posted on 04/15/2013 in Full Circle.

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Q: In a Hunting Beagle cast, a rabbit is jumped right in front of the cast, and a sight chase ensues. The rabbit runs right by the cast members and pops down a hole. All members clearly see the rabbit go down the hole. The dogs lost sight of the rabbit approximately 30 yards short of the hole and go into a check. While working the area, one dog got within 10 yards of the hole, but never closer. The three minutes gets the dogs without a recovery and they are handled. The cast voted to plus the strike points because of the hole and rabbit seen. Is that the correct way to score the situation?

A: Rule 3(e) allows for strike points to be plussed if rabbit is seen by a majority of the cast and it (rabbit) goes to a hole or place of refuge before completion of circle. In other words, before rules allow for a line to be called and scored, as was the case here. The rabbit did in fact hole; however, the intent of the hole or place of refuge rule remains that dogs must “trail” the rabbit to the hole or place of refuge in order for dogs to receive credit for such.

That obviously did not happen here, therefore, plussing strike points is incorrect. You may never consider it a hole if it is obvious that the dogs did not trail it all the way to the hole. The correct way to score the situation is to draw a line through each dog’s strike points and award 50 minus strike points to each dog. We can’t give dogs credit for something they did not do. In this case, they obviously fell short of finishing the track and are discredited.

Cast Win Awarded to Wrong Dog in the Field
Q: A scorecard is turned into the Master of Hounds. All handlers signed the card, and there are no questions on it. In checking over the scores, the Master of Hounds finds that two dogs had a tied score and the judge awarded the cast win to the dog with the most plus strike points. Both dogs involved in the tie also had minus points, but that were not considered when determining the cast winner. Does the Master of Hounds have the authority to change the cast winner after all handlers agreed it was correct and signed off on the scorecard?

A: In the section titled “Master of Hounds/Hunt Director Guidelines” in the official Hunting Beagle Rulebook, refer to Rule B under After the Scorecards are Turned In. That rule suggests it is the Official’s responsibility to check all scores. Although it does not further state what to do in the event a score is incorrect, the intent is that the official correct any mathematical errors, including errors when it comes to tie-breakers.

When it comes to tie-breakers, Rule 4 clearly states that the first tie-breaker is least amount of minus, followed by most plus points. In this case, the official must change the cast winner in the event the tie was broken incorrectly, regardless of the handlers having agreed on the cast winner in the field before they signed the scorecard.

Placing Third or Fourth in Winners Pack
Scenario: Three dogs are eligible and compete in a Registered Winners Pack. During the course of the hunt (Winners Pack), one dog is scratched. What placement is awarded to this dog?

A: There’s no question that a dog scratched in a Winners Pack will receive the lowest placement available; however, there’s been some discrepancy (even on the part of UKC in the past) as to whether this scratched dog is awarded a third or a fourth placement. Determining the lowest placement is based on the number of dogs eligible for the Winners Pack.

With that said; the dog in question receives a third placement. If two dogs scratch, they both place third. If all dogs scratch, they all place third.