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Judging Privileges Revoked
Posted on 04/03/2014 in Full Circle.

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Every now and then, UKC deals with matters where Question and Appeal procedures were not followed to correct wrong scorings. An owner or handler will call in to the office in hopes that UKC can “fix” their issue of wrongful scoring that occurred last weekend. The caller is typically an individual new to the sport and not yet aware of the procedures. Sometimes it’s an individual who chose this route to avoid a possible undesired debate at the event. Unfortunately, our hands are tied by the rules regardless of any “justifications”, and we cannot simply correct any wrong scorings or rulings when the procedures for doing so are not followed. This answer is usually frustrating for the individual. When UKC determines that a judge or even other handlers in the cast, via a vote, who know better, might have maliciously taken advantage of a handler due to their lack of knowledge, it becomes very frustrating for UKC as well.

The idea that it is an advantage for a dog when its handler is the judge is questionable. Good judges will generally say just the opposite. At best, the advantages of judging a cast should be nothing more than the rest of the cast members having a great judge provided that individual is well versed and applies the rules with integrity and accordingly. Nevertheless, using the authority given a judge for the purpose of/or taking advantage of others in a cast is just dead wrong. The number one goal for judges must always be to score dogs for what they do. No more and no less. Sometimes honest judges do, in fact, make mistakes. That’s okay and is why we have procedures in place to correct any wrong scoring. Judges knowingly taking advantage of a newcomer or cast member’s lack of knowledge, however, is unacceptable.

UKC considers any such complaints on a case-by-case basis. If necessary, UKC may take action as deemed appropriate, to include revoking an individual’s judging privileges. (See sample sidebar.) Judging privileges that have been revoked become the individual’s sole responsibility to not accept the scorecard as a judge. It is not the club’s responsibility to police those individuals. Be assured they will be well aware of the consequences should they accept the scorecard while serving their term. Revoking judging privileges, when necessary, is an effort to do the right thing and rid nonsense and unfair play.

Incorrectly Calling Time Out for “Split Track”

Word is that some casts are using the split track rule to avoid taking minus for a loss. They are calling time out for split tracks when their situation does not justify time out to be called. Here’s an example. The dogs go into a check. While the clock is running, different dogs open in different spots. In other words, the dogs that opened are not right together, and no dog has carried either track to the extent of the criteria required to award a recovery to any dog. However, the ruling is to call time out suggesting the dogs are on split tracks. That’s wrong.

Think about this. While dogs are in a check, how is it possible to have a split track prior to a recovery having been awarded? It’s not possible. Even after a recovery has been awarded to a dog that has met the criteria, another dog in the cast would need to do more than bark around in a different spot. They would need to carry a separate track out of the general area before the judge may rule it a split track, thus resulting in calling time out. If you find yourself involved where time out is called in such a scenario, speak up and follow the procedures to correct such wrongful scoring.

One Dog Cast a Majority?

Q: Let’s say there is only one dog left in the cast. This would be considered “all” dogs in the cast. When it comes to minus strike points for a loss does a one-dog cast satisfy “majority of dogs”?

A: It does not. Whenever there is more than one dog in the cast then a majority (more than half) of them would need to be declared struck in order to assign 50- for a loss. In a four-dog cast; three is a majority. In a three-dog cast; two is a majority. In a two-dog cast; two is a majority. In a one-dog cast, however, that dog hunting alone will always remain accountable for its strike position (100) when it comes to losses.

Spectators Calling Lines

Q: Is it permissible for spectators to call lines during a hunt?

A: This is a great question because the only reference to spectators in the rulebook is found under Rule 8. [Spectators will be allowed on all casts. Handler’s dog will be scratched for rule violation.] Most casts do include a few spectators. Certain casts, especially high-profile casts, may have a great number of spectators. Anyone that has a good number of hunts under their belt has likely seen where some casts allow spectators to call lines, whereas other casts do not allow it. Without doing some research on what’s been written in the past, it’s a topic that has recently come up again.

The definition of a spectator is, somebody who watches or observes, especially somebody who watches an event. During a hunt, spectators should be nothing more than the definition - observers. Some may suggest that allowing them to call lines is not a big deal and might actually allow for more lines to be marked. Both are good arguments unless one cast might have 20 sets of eyes and a competing cast has four. Therein lies the debate of what is fair and what is not. Allowing spectators to call lines also opens the door for other debates, especially, when not all dogs come through where the line has been marked.

Regardless of what has been written by UKC officials in the past (about which I don’t even know without researching), and for the purpose of the fairest playing field between all casts, spectators shall not, or no longer, be allowed to call or mark lines. Calling and marking lines shall be left to the participants of the cast. This includes the judge and the handlers only as the participants eligible to call and mark lines. Until this policy can be added to the next MOH Checklist Forms, we urge Event Officials to make note of this policy and it be announced when casts are called.