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Out On A Limb – January
Posted on 01/09/2011 in Out On A Limb.

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Out On A Limb – January 11
Todd Kellam

With the hunt tests for squirrel dogs getting underway, I thought it would be helpful to look at some of the frequently asked questions regarding the program.

How do I become a hunt test inspector?

It is not necessary to be licensed to inspect dogs for a hunt test. The criteria for serving as an inspector can be found at the bottom of the evaluation form where the inspector is required to sign the form. If a person can acknowledge by their signature that they know and understand the following, then they may serve as a hunt test inspector:

    I have not bred, trained or housed the above dog and I am not a regular hunting partner of the owner or handler of said dog.
    I have been an active squirrel hunter for at least five years; I am familiar with and can identify the criteria for evaluating working squirrel dogs.
    I was witness to this evaluation and the information contained above is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge (misrepresentation punishable by UKC sanctions).

Can you call time-out and move during a hunt test?

Absolutely. In the notes section of the evaluation form, an inspector is encouraged to write down the start time of the inspection. If it becomes necessary to find new ground to finish the inspection, note the time used and/or time remaining and move.

Is it necessary to declare your dog treed during an inspection?

It is not necessary to declare your dog treed during an inspection. If due to getting extremely deep there is question as to whether a dog heard is the dog being evaluated, it should be discussed by the handler and the inspector. At such time that it becomes obvious the dog has treed, either the handler or the inspector may suggest that the two minutes be started. If either has reason to believe that the dog is not treed, it should be discussed.

Is there a limit to the number of times a dog can fail a hunt test?

There is no limit to the number of times a dog can fail a hunt test. There is a limit as to the number of times a dog may participate in a hunt test and that is once per day or night. You have to look at the hunt tests as an alternative activity for owners to participate in with their dog. We do not wish to discourage anyone from getting out there and participating in events with their dogs.

How can our club most efficiently utilize inspectors at a hunt test?

This is a legitimate concern because the hunt test rules very specifically state that on a given evening, a person may not later have a dog they own or handle inspected by any person who previously accompanied them to the woods. That means that two people cannot simply head out from the hunt headquarters and evaluate each others’ dogs.

I think there are basically three options that the club may consider when deciding how to best utilize their inspectors. You can send one inspector to the woods with two or three dogs. This is a great option if your club has been blessed with a good working membership as it does eliminate the possibility of the inspector hunting his or her own dog. This results in the most respected and efficient of hunt test evaluations.

Another option is to send all entries out in groups of two to evaluate one dog for an hour. Upon completion of the test, all individuals return to the clubhouse and are paired up with someone else for round two. This is a great option if your club has lots of hunting in fairly close proximity to your club.
A third option would be to send three entries to the woods together. For the first hour, Handler A inspects Dog B, and Handler C stays at the truck. For the next hour, Handler B inspects Dog C, and Handler A stays at the truck. For the next hour, Handler C inspects Dog A, and Handler B stays at the truck. This is one option that is in compliance with the requirements for inspectors.