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Only One Entry in the Category
Posted on 09/06/2012 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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Only One Entry in the Category
Q: In a situation where only one dog is entered in the hunt or category, may the dog still be hunted and receive Championship Points according to UKC’s policies?

A: This question still comes up every now and again, believe it or not. Or even the theory suggesting the only dog entered is “an automatic shoe-in for the win. No competition to decide who’s the best on this night.”

Fortunately, a quick review of the rulebook will distinguish that theory “if” Rule 1 is understood correctly. It states that all casts must hunt the time indicated in the Upcoming Events Listing. This means the one-hour, two-hour, or 90 minutes noted next to the deadlines and fees. Scroll down a bit further and it states, all dogs, including Champions, to hunt entire hunt unless scratched.

Regardless, if only one dog is entered in any of the three categories, it would be a one-dog cast, and a non-hunting judge must be assigned to judge it. So long as the dog completes the hunt time and has a total score of plus points, then he/she would also receive Championship Points.

Some years ago, a one-dog cast may not have been permissible, but that’s not true today. Weather conditions are sometimes a factor where only one handler is willing to battle the elements, hoping to get a coon treed. Otherwise, when a club only has one dog show up, especially in a Registered or Nite Champion category, then it should raise a red flag for the club that there may be a problem as to why the hunters aren’t supporting their event. Five- and six-dog hunts obviously won’t afford most clubs to keep their doors open, let alone one or two. Clubs averaging single-digit entries will raise a red flag at the UKC office, and they should expect to get a letter of concern or otherwise.

Extending the Deadline
Q: Under what circumstances may a Master of Hounds extend the deadline?

A: There are only three and those conditions are as follows.
1. One can be found under Rule 10 where only one cast member remains in a cast and the handler must return to the Master of Hounds for a non-hunting Judge.

2. Whenever there is an unbreakable tie between two dogs on the same cast.

3. Whenever there is an unbreakable tie for placement between two cast winners in the same category.
The first is obviously the most common. Remember, it says when only one cast member remains. That means no other, not even those cast members who scratched or withdrew their dogs. The second one hardly ever happens, but does now and then. You have two different options whenever you have two dogs in the cast with the exact same scores. The rules say you may either: a. flip a coin; or b. hunt in one-hour intervals until the tie is broken.

Whenever you have a tie in the cast, and there isn’t enough time to hunt another hour, and make it back to the clubhouse in time before the posted deadline, those involved must report to the Official. The scorecard must be turned in before deadline. No exceptions. After that, it merely becomes a matter of settling a placement or tie in the same cast. The Master of Hounds will send them back out if that’s what the handlers opted. The only exception might be where there’s not enough time left before daylight. That is also true for the third condition when it involves two cast winners with unbreakable ties.

The Authority of the Guide
Q: I know that Rule 1 states that the authority of the Judge begins when he/she is designated and receives scorecard. My question is, I don’t remember reading anything about the authority of the guide. Did I miss something? When I say guide - I’m referring to a non-hunting guide.

I was on a Nite Hunt cast recently that went something like this. First, the Hunting Judge allowed the guide to squall at a tree because he was - the guide. Then he let the guide pull vines at all the trees because he was the guide. The guide’s brother came to the last tree and because he was the back-up guide, he was also allowed to shine the tree. When a question would come up under any tree, the guide had more input than any of the hunters and the Judge took it all in.

Situations like this happen more than you would think. Please send everyone a reminder that the guide is not God and enlighten us on the authority of the guide.

A: Thank heaven most guides don’t think they’re God. For it would be a sticky situation to get all the way to your hunting spot, then have to start telling your guide what he can and can’t do. That would go over like a lead balloon and if not handled with extremely good tact, I’m thinking we would frequently find ourselves without a spot to hunt and a long ride back to the club. The guide is just like a spectator, but not quite. Does that make sense?

I can think of two differences between a guide and a normal spectator. First, the guide should have input regarding the best way to hunt his particular spot. Participants should be able to ask questions of their guide regarding the features of the hunting territory and the best way to get around in it. These questions may be asked before or during the hunt and should be answered to the best of the guide’s ability.

Also, the guide is different from other spectators because he or she is technically not the responsibility of a handler in the cast. Any other spectator who gets out of line for one reason or another jeopardizes the entry of the handler who is responsible for him. But nobody is responsible for the guide. If he screws up, like in the scenario above, it would be the responsibility of the Hunting Judge to address the problem and try to resolve it without losing a guide. If a Judge refuses to act on the situation, also like the scenario above, it should be questioned and noted by a cast member so that it can be discussed with the Master of Hounds and club officials. It is my hope that the club will take this information into account before selecting either the Judge or the guide for future events.

Most guides are very good and take seriously their commitment to put the cast into the best hunting possible. Most guides actually prefer to stay “out of the action”, and you almost have to pry information out of them. But when you get a guide who is confused regarding the authority of a guide, handle the situation swiftly and tactfully. At least that’s my advice.