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Recent Rules Changes
Posted on 12/18/2013 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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This article is strictly dedicated to the most recent rules changes. It’s important to understand that these changes will go in effect on January 1, 2014; current rules apply until then.

The following rule changes will be reflected accordingly in the Official Coonhound Rulebook, Revised January 1, 2014, and on the scorecard. Also, in 2014 you’ll see that the Official Nite Hunt Honor Rules have been re-written and re-categorized; therefore, any mention of specific rule numbers here may not be consistent with the 2014 Nite Hunt Honor Rules. Next month’s article will feature any other UKC policy changes that will go in effect on January 1, 2014.

When to Delete Strike and Tree Points on Two-to-Two Votes

The original proposal, in regards to split votes when scoring trees, suggested deleting strike and treeing points whenever half of the vote was to minus the tree. This passed with one minor amendment. The amendment passed will delete strike and tree points provided the split vote does not include half of the votes to plus the tree.

The rules will still require a majority vote in order to plus or minus a tree. Nothing has changed there, but with the rule change, strike and tree points will now be deleted whenever a two-to-two vote has two handlers voting to minus and the other two handler’s vote to circle the tree.

Of course this could be the case in a two-dog cast as well where the two votes are not the same. The intent of this rule change is to not allow for circle points to come into play on tie-breakers when half of the vote was to minus the tree, unless the other two votes were to plus the tree.

Here’s a simple chart on when to delete or circle when there’s not a majority to plus or minus the tree.

• 2 minus / 2 circle = delete

• 2 minus / 2 plus = circle

• 1 minus / 3 circle = circle

Time Out Rule When Walking to Split Trees, if All Dogs are Declared Treed

Rule 8 (i) will be changed to: {If all dogs are declared treed, time out may be called after ten minutes has been used walking from one split tree to another. If dog leaves tree or is minused per Rule 4(f), time in continues.}

This rule change might seem like it is only a time period change from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. Not true. It’s important to understand that this new rule will be applied slightly differently than the previous rule. The previous rule allowed for time out to be called if it took more than 15 minutes to walk from one split to another (provided all dogs are declared treed). The key word was “if”.

So if it took 14 minutes walking from one tree to the other, that 14 minutes counted as part of your hunt time. But “if” it took more than 15 minutes, you could call time out and did not use any of that 15 minutes of time.

The new rule should be fairly easy to understand as written so long as we don’t try to read into something that’s not there. When walking to any split tree, we’ll now need to use up to 10 minutes of walking time before we may call time out. Keep in mind that one affect this change will have is when dogs are treed more than 15 minutes apart. We’ll now be using up at least 10 minutes of hunt time walking to them, on each such occasion.

We also need to remember that after time out is called, and we’re walking to a split tree, if the dog leaves tree, or the two minutes gets the dog, then we must call time back in immediately. Of course, this part should go without saying and remains consistent with the old rule. Finally, let’s not forget that the only time we can even call time out walking to split trees is in the event where all dogs are declared treed.

New Time Out Rule

The Rules Committee passed a proposal that eliminates the previous Rule 8(c), that stated {If new ground must be found to finish cast and more than 15 minutes is required or have to move to new area by vehicle, call time out immediately.}

The new rule that replaces the above will state: {When all dogs are on leash and have been scored, call time out immediately.}

This new rule basically simplifies things. Whenever you have all dogs on leash, regardless of how long it takes to get to where you will recast them, you stop your hunt time. Again, it removes any “if” it takes this long etc. etc.

Scoring Trees in Most Convenient Order

Another new rule that will go in effect is scoring trees in the most convenient order. Previous rules did not allow this, and for good reason where the option to recast is concerned.

With the new rule, trees may now be scored in the most convenient order under one condition only. That condition is, only in the event where all dogs are handled. When all dogs are handled, the option to recast is not available, so it will have no bearing in that regard. However, it’s important to score trees in the order dogs were called treed when not all dogs are treed. Scoring trees in the most convenient order may only be considered “if” and after all dogs are declared treed and handled.

Permission to Handle Dog on Split Tree

The rule where judges give permission for a dog to be handled on a split tree will change just slightly. The previous rule so much as stated that permission would be given for handlers to go to their dogs on split trees, which meant they could go handle them. There were no “unless” exceptions. Most would likely agree that in certain circumstances there should have been some exceptions.

The new rule will remain the same with one noted exception. Handlers will now be given permission to go handle their dog on a split tree, unless the cast is in the process of shining a tree. This may or may not play a part in a handler’s decision when it comes to declaring their dog treed because of the rule that allows for the cast to squall during the last three minutes of shining time.

With this rule change we see an issue where the stationary rule is concerned and a dog treeing (split) but not declared treed. For this reason it will be in the best interest for the judge to not apply the stationary rule to a dog on a split tree while the cast is in process of shining a tree. The same consideration should be given if the cast is on the way in to score a tree. Don’t apply it until after you’re done shining.

Spectators Shining Trees

Most competition hunters are well aware of UKC’s rule with regards to spectators shining trees. It was probably one of the most violated rules in the book. In any event, the Rules Committee passed a Spectator Shining proposal with an amendment.

The new rule will now allow for spectators to shine, “if” all handlers agree. The amendment added is that this decision must be made at the beginning of the hunt. In other words, the cast cannot vote for it at each tree. What they voted on at the beginning of the hunt will apply for the duration of the hunt. Any deviation from that will get the whole cast scratched.

Judges should make this question one of their first orders of business before casting dogs. They should make note of the decision (allowing or not allowing) on the scorecard. In the event spectators are allowed to shine, they should also be well aware or informed of their roles and authorities in this regard.

“If” it is a unanimous decision to allow spectators to shine:

1. They may not start shining until all handlers are allowed to start shining.

2. If they find the coon, they may tell and show the judge or a cast member where it is.

3. They may not participate in any voting procedures or discussions on how a tree should be scored. They shall have no role or participate in any question, involving the scoring of a tree or any other situation that is presented to the Master of Hounds or a panel.

Spectators and handlers should always respect each cast member’s votes without question when it comes to their decision of allowing or not allowing spectators to shine. They shall never result to any negative comments or attempt to persuade others one way or the other.