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Q & A
Posted on 07/13/2012 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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Curs in UKC Nite Hunts
Q: Because we have several guys in the area hunting Cur dogs we are entertaining the idea of scheduling a hunt for them at our club; however, this subject has brought on some heated debates. Some are saying they would hunt right along with the coonhounds, and others say they can’t hunt at all. Please cover this topic in your advisor.

A: The UKC does, in fact, license nite hunt competitions for Cur and Feist dogs; however, they are not eligible to enter in a coonhound nite hunt. The club would need to schedule a Cur & Feist Coon Hunt for those breeds. The rules are very similar, although not exactly the same.

The Cur & Feist nite hunt rules are listed on the back of the Cur & Feist scorecard just as they are for the coonhounds. Like the coonhounds, they draw out within their separate categories of Registered, Nite Champion and Grand Nite Champion. Although it’s a separate event, a Cur & Feist hunt may be scheduled and held in conjunction with (same night as) a coonhound nite hunt. The Coonhound Department at UKC will be able to answer any further questions and help your club get started.

Another option for Cur & Feist dogs to earn titles is in UKC’s HTX events. The rules for them in this event are the same with exception that they are not required to open on track/trail. In the Hunt Test (HTX), they could, in fact, be carried along with a coonhound in the event the inspector might be judging more than one dog on that night. Of course, each of them would need to hunt alone in accordance to the HTX rules. That would actually be a neat little deal to go out and inspect a cur and a coonhound on the same night. Save your smaller patches for the dog that typically works closer than a hound.

Q: In a four-dog Nite Champion cast, Dogs A, B and C are declared struck and treed. D has not opened. After the five is up, we go in and find all four dogs at the tree. They had a ‘possum in the tree. Dog D is seen raring up on the tree and smelling, but does not bark and has not been heard opening any other time. How do you score Dog D?
Mike G/NC

A: Rule 6(k) applies to this situation which states (dogs are scratched). In Nite Champion and Grand Nite Champion casts, for running, treeing or molesting off game during hunting time including any time out periods that prior to the expiration of hunt time.

We have to key in on three verbs in this rule when determining how to score Dog D. 1) running, 2) treeing and 3) molesting. For starters, we can eliminate molesting for obvious reasons. The same is true for “running” because we have not heard or seen him involved in such. And finally, we can also eliminate “treeing” because raring up and smelling is not considered “treeing”. Therefore, no harm, no foul. Dog D is the only dog left in this cast and completes the remainder of the hunt by his lonesome. That’s a unique scenario that doesn’t happen very often so it’s a great topic for this column. Thanks for the question, Mike.

The following is a re-run requested by a hunter from Tennessee who is concerned with many of the younger hunters getting out of key when it comes to “treeing satisfactorily”. More specifically, maybe far too quick to lay the pencil to a dog should they take their foot off the tree and/or buy into the age old myth of “the umbrella of the tree”.

Legislating Tree Dog Style
Q: According to the UKC rules, what is considered treed? If a dog, after being declared treed, momentarily puts his nose to the ground and remains silent and then continues barking at the tree, should he be minused for leaving the tree? What gets me sometimes is when my dog meets me off of the tree (maybe 10 feet) and then turns and runs his nose along the ground right back up the tree, and starts back treeing. Some judges are quick to minus and some don’t.

I think there should be some clarification. If treeing is going to be considered to be within the umbrella of the tree, state that in the rules. If they will be minused for trailing or scenting the ground within the umbrella, state that, or maybe put a one-minute rule on a dog seen scenting under a tree if you’d like. Define the radius about the tree that will be considered tree area. On the casts I’ve been on, this is one major source of headaches. I like “coon dogs” and if a coon dog scents beneath a tree and starts treeing again, he is still a coon dog. If a dog backs out from the teeth at the bottom of the tree and is treeing on the scent cone, that is a coon dog.

A: I guess according to the UKC rules, the bare minimum requirement a dog must meet to be considered treed is to bark at least once every two minutes and not leave the tree. Everyone applies the rules differently in regards to dogs leaving the tree. Many do refer to the dog’s nose being on the ground (implying that the dog is trailing). Some refer to being outside the “umbrella” of the tree. The rules are not that specific. Rule 4(c) says that dogs will be minused when they have been declared treed and dog leaves tree. This is a judgment call but a dog that puts his nose to the ground at the base of the tree and then goes back to treeing will not be minused if I am judging the cast.

I think what adds to the confusion is that portion of Rule 4c which states, “If he goes on the trail just his tree points will be minus.” Is this why some hunters make reference to a dog’s nose being on the ground? Whether a dog’s nose is high on the bark, or on the ground has nothing to do with whether or not he has left the tree.

The more clearly you define an exact distance a dog can be from the tree, the more you open the judging of a cast to carrying tape measures and arguing over inches. You have to use common sense. Yes, you are going to run into people who never had it (common sense), but I would be interested in knowing how many other people have been minused when their dog came 10 feet off a tree to meet them, and then went straight back and started treeing. It seems reasonable by very basic definitions that a dog can either be considered to be at the tree treeing, at the tree and not treeing, or to have left the tree altogether.

You can’t put a time and a distance on every aspect of judging a cast. You could make this so impossible to judge that it couldn’t be done. For example, how close (in feet) does a dog have to come to the cast and how many seconds must he stop before he can be minused for quitting a track? How many rods must dogs be away from the cast or how many decibels must their voices be down to before you can call time out for trailing out of hearing in different directions? Just two examples of the many issues that cannot be clarified with measurements.

I’m afraid that with some individuals, the desire to own a 130-bark-per-minute tree dog has caused them to place too much of an emphasis on tree style when judging a cast. The Nite Hunt rules do not legislate tree style.