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Rules Change Proposals
Posted on 07/08/2013 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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Every three years, the UKC Rules Change Committee meets to discuss proposals to change the rules in the UKC Official Coonhound Rulebook. The Rules Change Committee will meet this year at Autumn Oaks in Richmond, Indiana over Labor Day weekend. The committee is made up of representatives from each of the seven chartered breed associations.

In order to submit a rules change proposal, you must send it to your respective breed association by June 15, 2013. Each breed association must then mail their rules change proposals to our office by July 1, 2013. We will then compile the proposals into an official ballot which will be mailed to the breed association representatives no later than July 15. This will allow ample time for each association to look over each proposal and give it careful consideration.

If you decide there is a rule change you would like for us to consider, then you need to write it up and send it to one of the chartered breed associations. Along with your rules change proposals, you also need to indicate what problem the changed rule would address. Also, how does this rule improve the sport of competition coon hunting?
These are two very serious issues we must consider before voting on any rules change. If changing a rule does not address a serious issue, or improve the sport of coon hunting, why is the rule change necessary? Make sure to look at your proposed rule change from all perspectives before a rule change is submitted.

Failing to Attempt to Hunt
Q: In our part of the country when the non-hunting rule is being applied (Rule 6d), some judges are insisting a dog must then be out hunting for five minutes before the 15-minute clock is stopped. Is this correct? Is there a time limit a dog must be out for the 15 to be stopped?

A: When we read Rule 6(d), we see the following: “Failing to make any attempt to hunt within any 15 consecutive scorecard minutes.” Notice the rule says nothing about how long a dog must attempt to hunt for the 15 minutes to stop on that particular dog. That’s because there isn’t any set time.

Saying a dog must attempt to hunt for five seconds or five minutes would be false in this case. Rather, we would like to see judges use common sense and reasonable judgment when it comes to applying and stopping the 15-minute clock.

We, as owners and handlers, know when a dog is not making an attempt to hunt, and should be honest with ourselves and the rest of the cast. However, if the dog does make an attempt to hunt, no matter how long it is, we should give the dog credit and stop the clock.

Returning to Master of Hounds When Separated
Q: The other night during a nite hunt, we lost a member of the cast. We called the president of the club (who was not the Master of Hounds) and he said to go on and hunt. When we got back to the club, we found out that the lost cast member went back to the club and the MOH scratched us and allowed him to hunt by himself. Should this have happened? After all, we did call back to the clubhouse and got permission to go on from the president.

A: This is a scenario that comes up from time to time, with slight variations. To get to the bottom of it, we need to read Rule 6(p) under the heading, “Dogs Will Be Scratched.” It reads: “If handler fails to return to the MOH/HD after cast becomes separated.”

Unfortunately for you, the Master of Hounds made the right call in this situation. The cast became separated, and one handler came back to the MOH, therefore all other handlers must then be scratched for failing to comply with this rule.

What makes it more frustrating from your point of view is the fact that you called the club president and got verbal confirmation to hunt. In this situation, though, no one can give you verbal permission to go on with your hunt, not even the Master of Hounds. In every single instance of becoming separated you must go back to the Master of Hounds and wait for the missing cast member.

Slow Down!
Q: I am an older hunter who has a hard time keeping up with the younger guys. I hate holding them up but I just can’t go any faster. What can be done if they refuse to slow down with me?

A: In Rule 11, we read, “Judge must maintain pace attainable by all members of the cast.” It is the judge’s responsibility to make sure the cast stays together and doesn’t outrun any member. We consistently encourage older hunters like you to be active in the club events and hunts and don’t want your inability to keep up with a 17-year-old in the cast to keep you from supporting UKC and your local club.

Judges need to ensure this rule is being strictly followed. It is their responsibility to make sure everyone in the cast is being accommodated in the best way possible. It is also the judge’s responsibility to ensure the cast stays together at all times. If a cast member refuses to walk at a pace attainable by all members of the cast, the judge has the right to scratch them for leaving the cast.