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Q & A
Posted on 06/05/2013 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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Q: I was in a hunt the other night where an older gentleman had a back-up handler. At the beginning of the hunt, the gentlemen declared his dog struck and treed, at which time he handed the dog over to his back-up handler. After the dog was handled and the tree scored, timeout was called. We moved to a different area to hunt, and the original handler of the dog took back over. Can he do this?
A: Being able to have a back-up handler is a good thing, especially for handlers who are older or who have health issues that may prevent them from completing a hunt. Allowing a back-up handler to take over makes sure the dog still has the chance to compete even though the handler may not.

Once the handling duties of a dog have been handed over to a back-up handler, though, the original handler’s duties are over. At that point they become just like any other spectator on the cast. They cannot become the handler again for the duration of the hunt.

Q: On a cast the other night the Judge’s (who was also the Guide) phone rings. He checks it and tells us it’s the land owner calling him so he answers with all of us standing right there. Shouldn’t he be scratched for using his phone?

A: The UKC has a very strict cell phone policy which you can read in Rule 6(r). The policy is also outlined in more detail in the Master of Hounds/Hunt Director Checklist. There is a sentence, though, in the checklist that reads, “A phone may be used for situations that are deemed necessary or reasonable by the Judge.” In this situation, it would be deemed necessary for a Guide to use his phone if the land owner was calling to check-in.

We urge Judges to exhibit good sportsmanship and decision-making when determining if a phone call is necessary; especially if it’s call from a sick family member or land owner, common sense should be used.

Q: My son is 12 and would like to start hunting in UKC Licensed Nite Hunts. Are there special youth-only casts? What guidelines are there for young hunters in open events? Are there any special youth-only programs?

A: What great news! We love to see young hunters getting started in the sport of coon hunting. UKC does have programs to help encourage and educate youth hunters coming into our sport.

Our YEP (Youth Education Program) Events have been gaining a lot of ground in the last several years. These events, which are put on by local clubs, generally offer Nite Hunts, Bench Shows, and an educational class geared toward youth. Some YEP events may also include Field Trials, Water Races or Treeing Contests, if the club has the facilities to host them.

Whenever a YEP event is held, the kids have to complete the educational class to participate in the other activities. The classes are generally kept short and entertaining, but are designed for the youth to learn something new. Class times are listed in the event ad for every YEP event. For more information about the YEP events visit http://www.ukcdogs.com/Web.nsf/WebPages/Coonhounds/YEP.
UKC also licenses State and Breed Association Youth Championships. These are Bench Shows and Nite Hunts that not only give kids a place to compete with their friends, but also qualify them for the UKC Youth Nationals held in late July every year. For more a tentative schedule of Youth Championships you can enter please visit http://www.ukcdogs.com/Web.nsf/WebPages/Coonhounds/YouthSchedule.

As far as regular, UKC Licensed Nite Hunts go, there are no Youth Casts drawn. The only “special” casts are those for hunters 55 and older. Also, if your child is under 13 they must be accompanied by someone other than those they drawn on their cast.

Q: On a Nite Champion cast Dogs A, B and C have been declared struck and treed. Dog D has been declared struck, but not treed. While we are shining the tree, Dog D comes in and is handled. An opossum is found in the tree. Dogs A, B and C are scratched, but what about Dog D?

A: Under Rule 5 (b) we find the following, “No dog to receive minus points for coming into tree after Judge arrives unless a coon is seen and the dogs treeing are awarded plus points.”

This rule applies in all situations when a dog arrives after the Judge does. Unless a coon is seen, the dog’s strike points are to be circled. It works the exact same way in this case whether it’s a den, slick, or off-game; the strike is circled and the dog is not scratched.

With the Nite Hunt and Bench Show season getting in full swing, I think now would be a good time to talk about sportsmanship during UKC events.

It’s easy, as judges and handlers in both Nite Hunts and Bench Shows, to let our emotions get the better of us. Perhaps we think the wrong call was made or the wrong dog was picked for whatever class. Regardless of our personal opinion, we must all show good sportsmanship at every turn. There is never an appropriate time to raise your voice or use foul language, whether you are a handler, owner, official or spectator. We must always think before we speak and show each other common courtesy and respect whether we agree about a certain situation or not.

Many times a situation becomes escalated because we forget that we can disagree and still get along. Two perfectly well-meaning individuals can come to different conclusions about the same exact dog or call. Keep a level head and calm tone and work out your differences without personal attacks.

There are always new people coming into our sport. Many times they know little to nothing about competition coon hunting and the rules and procedures that must be followed. How you respond to a given situation can be the determining factor as to whether they will be back next weekend to try again. By putting our best foot forward at all times (even when we disagree), we can show newcomers that they are welcome and will be respected at all times.