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Rule Change Clarifications
Posted on 01/13/2014 in Full Circle.

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Awarding Plus Strike Points
RULE 3 (b) POINTS WILL BE PLUS {On strike for all dogs, provided dog was struck in on majority of the track, after any one dog is awarded speed and drive points.}
This new rule now awards plus strike points to all dogs after any one dog has scored a line. The only way a dog cannot be awarded plus strike points after at least one dog scores speed and drive is if the dog is not declared struck and/or it did not run a majority of that track.

Example: Dogs A, B, C are declared struck. They carry the track out and circle it back, where the rabbit is seen and a line is called. After the line was called, Dog D is declared struck and joins in the chase. Dog A comes through the line first, followed by Dog D. Dogs B and C both miss the line. Scoring: Dog A is awarded his strike position points plussed and receives 100 speed and drive points. Dogs B and C receive their strike points plus but no speed and drive points. Dog D is not eligible for speed and drive OR plussed strike points because it had not run a majority of the track.

Dog Not Declared Struck
RULE 4 (f) POINTS WILL BE MINUS {After first three minutes of hunt, judge shall ask for a call on a dog that has opened three times but is not declared struck. Dog must be declared struck on next bark. If not declared struck by handler on or immediately after next bark, judge shall minus and then award next available strike position to dog. For second offense see Rule 6(c).}
This was a good proposal passed by the Rules Committee. The new rule does not take the dog out of the game on the first offense. Instead it requires the judge to ask for call on a dog that has opened three times (judge’s decision), but is not yet declared struck by the handler. After asking for a call, and the dog still has not been claimed after its next bark, the judge will award the available strike position and minus those points, providing the judge can determine which dog it is. The judge will then also award the dog that same available strike position, even without a strike call from the handler. This is the only situation where the judge puts a dog on the scorecard as “struck in” that has not been called.

One Dog Cast = Non-Hunting Judge
I’ll be honest, the idea of handlers judging their own dogs in a one-dog casts seemed so wrong and disturbing to me. For one, it goes against the rules of any other UKC licensed competition event and was never the intent of UKC to allow it in the Hunting Beagle format. While we are totally confident that some handlers will judge their own dog by the book and to the T, it is totally beside the point. We must always remember that perception is huge. Regardless of such casts having been above board there’s always that perception factor and solely judging one’s own dog is not in the best interest of the sport.

Nonetheless, it is now officially included in the rulebook that any one-dog cast must have a non-hunting judge assigned to it. This does not include casts where only one dog remains in the hunt as long as at least one other handler (although dog is withdrawn or scratched) remains with the cast. Should only one cast member remain that handler must go back to the Master of Hounds to have a non-hunting judge assigned to finish the hunt. The return deadline may be extended by the Master of Hounds or Hunt Director for this cast only, if deemed necessary (see Rule 9).

Flipping a Coin
RULE 15 {if still a tie, dogs will hunt in one-hour intervals until tie is broken or flip a coin (club official’s decision).} There’s been a slight change to tie-breaker rules. The previous rule had the handlers involved deciding on the options of a one-hour hunt off or flipping a coin (if all parties agreed) as the final tie-breaker. Unfortunately, hunting it off sometimes created a time issue for the club when it came to proceeding with the hunt, especially in Elimination-style formats and determining which dog would move on to a Winners Pack. The new rule simply has the club official making the decision of a one-hour interval hunt(s) or flipping a coin, based on the situation at hand.

Awards at UKC Licensed Events
In today’s world, even some of the stronger clubs find themselves looking for more avenues to generate entries and income. After much consideration, UKC has eliminated past restrictions on monetary awards for licensed events. Giving clubs more options is an effort by UKC to provide them with more opportunities and allows the club to decide what works best for them and their participants. Clubs will now have the following options when it comes to awards at their events.

Trophies. Trophies or plaques may be the most popular because they give winners a special memento by which to remember that hunt.

Poor Boy. Clubs may continue to choose Poor Boy events where no awards are given. Generally, entry fees are lower for Poor Boy events. If the club chooses to not give awards, they are strongly encouraged to note “Poor Boy” on the Event Confirmation form so it can be advertised as such.

Cash. Monetary prizes may be awarded. The club may choose to pay back entry fees or any other monetary prize of their choice to their event winner(s). Clubs choosing to include an added purse in their award package are encouraged to note “Added Purse” and the amount in the Special Instructions section of their Confirmation form when confirming the event for advertising purposes. The amount awarded and distribution of such is the sole responsibility of the club. The UKC will not enter into any disputes thereof.

Calcuttas/Jackpots. In an effort to provide clubs another avenue to generate more income the UKC has approved for Calcuttas or jackpots to be conducted in conjunction with a licensed event. Any such activity including distribution is the sole responsibility of the club. The UKC will not enter into any disputes thereof.

Laws/Tax Implications. The club must understand and be aware that there may be additional law and tax implications that they will need to adhere should they be interested in awarding monetary prizes or conduct any Calcutta-type activities at their event. UKC cannot provide any legal advice or information regarding any additional laws and/or tax implications that may be associated with such activities, and is not responsible for any complications that may arise. Clubs are responsible for ensuring compliance on their own, and must know that they proceed at their own risk with any such activities.

Summary. Given these options, clubs certainly have the opportunity to be creative when it comes to awards and the opportunity to raise more funds at their events. Most young or newer participants are tickled with any type of trophy for the new display case at home, while the more seasoned hunter’s trophy room may already be overcrowded and they would just as soon have a little cash return to put back in the gas tank.

Clubs may consider having the text on their trophies be universal so where they are not date-specific and can be used for any one of your events throughout the year. That way they could give the winner the option of a trophy, an entry fee refund (or some other amount of cash), gas card, free entry fee to a subsequent hunt at the club, etc. The list could go on and on. If your club thinks they might draw a better entry if they gave out a cash award, you have that option. If you’d rather stick with trophies, so be it. You do what best suits/fits the club and/or your participants. UKC considers clubs hosting their licensed events as the backbone of the sport. Without them there is no sport so they need more available resources to keep their doors open. This policy change is geared towards that effort and allows them to decide what works best for them.

New Tracking Telemetry Rules
There’s been a lot of discussion in the past year on the use of tracking telemetry during a hunt, although mostly on the coonhound side of UKC’s programs. Ideas of a less restrictive policy have been ongoing far longer. During the past year, several test hunts were held at licensed coonhound events as well as numerous discussions by UKC with avid hunters. Reported feedback from test hunts suggest that hunters do, in fact, support a less restrictive telemetry policy and that allowing their use is a great tool, most specifically and importantly, where safety to hounds is concerned.

It’s time to use the resources available to us for the betterment of our hunt and safety to hounds. If you haven’t heard your hound in a good while, wouldn’t you be more at ease knowing where he was? If he’s in a neighboring barn or snooping around a home owner’s buildings wouldn’t you want to know so that you can take necessary action, if needed? The list goes on.

UKC is interested in a uniform telemetry policy that works for all its hunting programs, including the Hunting Beagle format. After all the testing and feedback, we are confident that we’ve accomplished that. The following new telemetry rules are also noted on the back side of the Master of Hounds Checklist. Officials are instructed to post these rules at each Licensed Field Trial for all handlers to read, if needed.

RULE 1. Under no circumstances may telemetry be used to determine the scoring of any dog(s).
RULE 2. If by way of telemetry a handler deems dog to be in danger per an item outlined under Rule 7, they may ask for a cast vote to call time out. If a majority is not reached the handler may withdraw the dog and retrieve it for safety’s sake.
RULE 3. At no time may a handler demand the cast walk in the direction of a hound that has not been heard opening. The judge, or majority of the cast when hunting judge is used, may agree to walk in that direction.
RULE 4. When considering the use of telemetry during the hunt the handler may not interfere with any handler’s ability to listen for their hound. Handlers failing to heed to such a warning by the judge shall have their dog scratched from the cast.
RULE 5. A Master of Hounds/ Panel may not consider any debate that is based on telemetry use.

General Information
• Telemetry or handheld device of “tracking only” systems may be carried and powered on during the hunt.
• A dog must be heard opening before a strike call may be accepted.
• Handheld devices capable of controlling (stimulating or toning) a dog may not be carried or used during the hunt unless the controlling features are disabled and agreed upon as such by all members of the cast. See Rule 13 (Controlling Devices).
• Controlling device rule violations may result in suspension.
There are numerous situations sthat occur in the field where telemetry use might get judges in a pickle if they are not careful; however, using good judgment paired with the handful of specific rules listed above will eliminate them. If judges quickly distinguish any debates of “my system says so and so”, then it will only help themselves considerably. For instance, the following items remain intact regardless of any telemetry use.
• The judge or majority of the cast must be able to hear a dog before a strike call may be accepted.
• Judges determine split tracks via eyes and ears and never as a result of a telemetry system. See Rule 7(h).
• A dog that went back to the trucks may be failing to hunt but will only be subject to the clock when he is “seen” not hunting by the judge.
• A dog leaving track is determined by the judge’s eyes and is never based on the result of a telemetry system.

Handlers must understand that zero information based on telemetry will be considered by a judge or a Master of Hounds when it comes to any scoring debates. Instead, telemetry is only used for other purposes. Number one should always be for safety purposes and ease of mind. Other than that, a cast may find their use beneficial when hunting unfamiliar territory or making their way back to the trucks.

No doubt this new telemetry policy is a significant change for the sport. If you have your doubts give it some time and know that 25 years ago the coon hunters said hunting judges would be the death of the sport. How surprising then that hunting judges have turned out to work quite well! Bottom line - use this new telemetry policy as intended, for the safety of your hound and to the benefit of your hunt.