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Refresher Course Topics
Posted on 06/04/2014 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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This month’s column features a couple refresher course topics. Part of the reasoning for them is to also hopefully allow for a better understanding of the answers to one or more of other included topics.

Not Accepting a Call - Refresher Course

Q: Do judges have the authority to not accept a strike or tree call by a handler?

A: Yes they do have the authority to not accept a call. Whenever a handler strikes his dog, be it a strike or a tree call, and the dog is not heard opening or treeing, then the call shall not be accepted. There is no penalty applied. Remember, telemetry may not be used to make any such determination.

When Coon May Be Scored - Refresher Course

Q: What are the two things that must happen before a coon in a tree may be scored?

A: 1) All dogs treeing must be handled; and 2) the shining time must be started. A coon may only be scored if seen by the majority of the cast during the allotted ten minutes of shining time. This prohibits the tree from being searched or shined on the way in, etc. If less than a majority of the cast see the coon before time expires, then points may not be plussed regardless of the majority seeing the coon after shine time expires.

Minus Tree Points - Refresher Course

Q: What specific situations result in a dog’s tree points being minused, that do not involve the scoring of a tree (after shining the tree)?

A: There are several as follows.

• If a dog that is declared treed leaves the tree or whatever it was treed on or in, regardless of any reason. The rules do not support any exceptions. This would also include what is referred to as milling.

• If the two minute clock gets a dog per Rule 4(h) {at least one of the dogs declared treed must bark at least once every two minutes until cast arrives}.

• A dog that leaves tree and goes back on trail.

• Dogs declared treed after the tree is closed result in the call being accepted as a split tree. If that dog is with the other dogs on the closed tree its tree points are minused (for leaving) regardless of whether or not it was ever on a separate tree. If the dog is on the closed tree it now is a dog treeing but not declared treed on this tree. The final scoring of this dog is subject to how this closed tree is scored.

• If a handler trees the wrong dog the available position is awarded and minused. This rule applies to striking or treeing the wrong dog and results in the dog being scratched on second offense.

There is a situation where tree points are frequently minused incorrectly. That is when a handler declares a dog treed that is not or cannot be heard treeing. They incorrectly accept the call and start the two-minute clock on the dog. The two-minute clock only applies to dogs that are declared treed and were considered to have in fact been, at some point, in the act of treeing. The correct procedure is for the judge to not accept a tree call if the dog is not treeing or cannot be heard treeing. The same applies to strike positions. You shouldn’t take the strike call and start the eight-minute clock.

Dogs Declared Treed That End Up Catching Coon

Q: All four dogs in a cast are declared treed. The dogs were all on a hollow tree that had a hole in the bottom of it. While the cast is looking on, but before the dogs could be handled, one of the dogs sticks his head inside the hole and pulls out a coon. How is this tree scored?

A: It has always been UKC’s position that anytime dogs make contact with the coon, whether they pull it out of a hole at the bottom of a tree, a log on the ground, a hole in the ground, or any place of refuge, you score it as coon caught. In accordance with Rule 3(c), you plus the dogs strike points only. Even though you won’t find a rule in the deleted section to cover such unique situations, it’s also UKC’s position that any tree points originally awarded are deleted. Circling the tree points is not an option because it’s not a tree, hole or place of refuge situation anymore. Minusing their tree points is not an option because the dogs technically did not leave their tree.

Cast Sees Coon Bail Out of Tree

Q: All four dogs in a cast are declared treed. When the cast arrives, but before any dogs can be handled, the coon bails out of the small tree the dogs were treed on and takes off down through the woods. The dogs all take off after it but no dog makes contact with it before it climbs up a different tree. The dogs all tree where it was seen climbing. How is this situation handled?

A: We have to recognize that this situation is different from the one previous (Dogs Declared Treed That End Up Catching Coon). Here the dogs all left the tree and went after the coon after it bailed out. You certainly can’t fault the dogs for that. The rules don’t allow for anything other than to minus their tree points for leaving tree. Yes, it is considered a bad break. However, before we decide there needs to be exceptions for certain unique situations, we should consider all the other situations we could open ourselves up to if we had such a rule.

To answer the question on how to handle the situation, you have no alternatives other than to minus each dog’s tree points for leaving tree. All four tree positions are open again. The handlers should call their dogs in the order they tree on the next tree where the coon went up. Then score that tree accordingly. Remember, just because you may have seen the coon climbing that second tree you must still handle dogs, start your shining time and the majority see the coon in that allotted shining time.