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March Full Circle
Posted on 03/09/2011 in Full Circle.

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Jed Nichols

Q: This question was submitted by a MOH and actually happened at a licensed event at which he was acting as the official. Just when we think we have seen it all, something like this comes up and shows us how wrong we are.
Last weekend at the John Doe Beagle club, I was the MOH for their licensed UKC Hunting Beagle event. One of the Saturday morning Registered casts came back to the clubhouse with a question mark on their scorecard, and I wanted to know if my ruling on the situation was correct due to the unusual circumstances surrounding the question.

The situation was as follows. Four dogs were cast, and all of them took off hunting. Shortly thereafter, one of the dogs opened up three times and started cold-trailing. The handler struck his dog as the rest of the cast members stood intently listening for their hounds to chime in. Soon the remaining three joined in with the first struck dog, and the race was on. The dogs pushed the rabbit around, and the cast members started to move in to the area where the guide thought they might be able to get a line. As the cast was on their way in, they all stopped in their tracks at the report of what was undoubtedly a shotgun blast coming from the direction they were heading. As they were standing there, they heard the dogs coming strong and heading right to the area the shot had come from. At this point, feeling a little uneasy to say the least, the cast members beelined it to where the track had ended and the shot had come from. Upon their arrival they found all four dogs happily prancing around a rabbit hunter (not a cast member) holding a freshly harvested cottontail he had obviously just picked up off the ground in front of the dogs. The guide talked with the hunter briefly and he agreed to move on to a different spot to hunt. The cast members had never encountered a situation like this before and did not know whether they should plus or circle the dogs’ strike points. With a lot of time left in the cast, they voted to circle the strike points on that track and put a question mark on the scorecard.

When the cast returned to the clubhouse, they brought this question to me and the hunting judge explained what had happened in full detail. He relayed to me that they had voted and decided that they would circle the dogs strike points, but that they were really unsure how it should be scored. As the MOH, I disagreed with circling the dogs’ strike points and overturned the cast vote to award all four dogs their deserving strike points. Do you feel that I made the right decision?

A: Let me start out by saying, Yes, we feel that you did make the right decision in the above situation. Here is why. The rabbit did not go to a hole or place of refuge (requirement for circle points). The dogs were not trailing the rabbit when the hunt time ended (requirement for circle points). The judge did not have a chance to call time out because of nearness to livestock, building, highway, etc. (requirement for circle points). After ruling out circle points, we are not left with many options here because the dogs did nothing wrong. Actually, they did everything right! In this case we would refer you to Rule 3(b) and (e), Points will be plus. The dogs struck in on a rabbit and jumped it, and the majority of the cast, along with the hunting judge, then saw the rabbit that they were undoubtedly running when an unforeseen hunter shot the rabbit. At this point, the dogs jumped a rabbit and it was seen by the majority, but instead of scoring speed and drive or the rabbit going to a hole or place of refuge, the hunter created a place of refuge for the rabbit. Therefore the strike points should be plussed. In this extremely rare and peculiar circumstance, dogs would be able to receive strike and check points only in accordance with Rule 3(b) & (e).