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Q & A
Posted on 08/05/2013 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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Q: On a Nite Hunt cast the other night, all dogs were declared struck and treed together. We got to the tree, handled the dogs back and started shining the tree. One of the handlers pulled a vine connected to the tree. When he did, a dead coon fell from the tree at his feet. How do we score this?
A: This is a situation most of us will probably not face in our competition hunting careers. It’s the kind of question that is so rare it really makes even the most seasoned rules expert step back and evaluate the situation.

In this situation, you would not be able to score on the dead coon that fell from the tree. Who knows how long that coon has been deceased and up there. Perhaps that was the coon the dogs ran, and he died from natural causes shortly after he climbed the tree. That could be the case, but there is really no way to tell if it’s true or not. You must now, as a cast, score the tree as-is. The dead coon has no bearing on the scoring whatsoever.

Giving Rides
With a few big hunts coming up, I thought it would be a good idea to touch on the subject of giving other hunters rides.

If you’ve ever been to a big event, you have probably seen us try to ensure everyone has a ride to the satellite club before any maps are handed out. We want everyone who has entered to have a ride. We don’t want anyone left out, if it is avoidable.

While this works well at the larger UKC events, it also applies to your local coon club. We should strive, as sportsmen, to get every participant to the woods that we can. Try to be as accommodating as you can be.

Think back to a time when you may not have had a way to get to and from the woods. Many of us started in competition hunts before we had a driver’s license or a reliable vehicle, at least. We relied on the generosity of others to get us to and from the woods. Still, today, many of us “double up” when we leave for a cast to keep the traffic down or to have someone to visit with on the trip.

There are plenty of good cast members out there who will not have a ride at the next hunt you go to. Perhaps they are too young to drive, have religious objections to driving a vehicle, or rode to the event with another participant. Sure, you could make those guys withdraw for not having transportation, but what kind of message does that send? You’ve effectively told them that if they can’t bring something to drive, they don’t need to come to your club.

In the same way, though, a participant cannot go to a hunt just expecting he or she will be able to find a ride. Many cast members have perfectly good reasons for not giving someone a ride. They may not have the room to haul another person and their dog. They may plan on not coming back to the club if they are hunting closer to their home. It does not mean that person is not being a good sport, but that they just cannot accommodate another rider. If you cannot find a ride to go to the woods, you will have no choice but to withdraw from the cast.

It is a good idea, if you plan on soliciting a ride from another hunter, to offer some gas money to the driver. After all they are driving their vehicle hauling you and paying record-high gas prices in much of the country. A few bucks towards their gas bill will make them more willing to haul you. Who knows, perhaps you will make a lifelong friend in the process.

Slam Placement
During the recent Purina National Championship this past April, there was an open Slam Event on Saturday. Though there was a good turnout, there was a little confusion as to what kind of championship points a dog would receive for the event.

I’ll admit I didn’t know much about Slam Events until a few months ago. Though they have been available for clubs since the mid-90s, most clubs have no interest in holding them.

Slam Events are run similar to an RQE or Zone hunt. All dogs, regardless of category, hunt together under championship rules. All the cast-winning scores are then tabulated to see who will go back out for a Final Four. All plus point cast winners who do not advance to the Final Four get their entry fee money back.

The Final Four then go out for another round, with two non-hunting judges, to determine their placement and winnings. The Final Four may also split the cash award if all handlers agree.
Many participants have the misconception that the cash award is all you receive for placing in a UKC Slam Event. This is not true at all. In addition to the cash award, each dog advancing to the Final Four also gets a first place win and 40 points if they are a Registered dog, a Nite Champion win if they are a Nite Champion, or a Grand Nite Champion win if they are a Grand Nite Champion.

The Slam Events are not just a way to earn a cash award at a UKC Licensed event, but also a way to help you earn titles on your dog. If your club is interested in holding a Slam Event please call our office at 269-343-9020 and ask for the Hunting Programs Department or email us at hounds@ukcdogs.com. Each UKC approved club can hold up to three Slam Events per year.