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Rules Review
Posted on 03/14/2014 in Full Circle.

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Finally ... spring is here in many parts of the country and just around the corner for the rest. After all the arctic weather blasts, it makes this time of year even better. Trialing season is in full swing and everyone is in a great mood, and there won’t be any scoring debates to be had. Okay, maybe the latter won’t always be true. As long as there are competitions, there will be scoring debates. Most debates can be easily resolved when the players have a good grasp on the rules and their intent. One of the easiest mistakes handlers make is over-thinking rules. Add several new rules to the equation and a few questions and debates are sure to arise. That’s okay. Some of them will take a little time to get used to and apply properly. That’s where we hope you may find this monthly article as another tool to add to your know-how.
Split Track Rule

Reports coming back on a few of the new rules now in place seem to be well received, for the most part. The one getting the most discussion is the new rule and procedures for split tracks. No surprise there because we expected it. I’m sure we’ll be covering several split track scenarios in Full Circle as we cruise along this year.

For now we need to be considerate of the fact that the new rule will not always seem perfect for every situation we’ll be running into. As a judge, there will likely be certain unique scenarios that might come up that you simply might not know how to respond to because it may not be clear or covered in your rulebook. If nothing else, remember that common sense always goes a long way as a last resort. Decisions in the field that are based on personal handler agendas are usually not good.

It was said in the Rules Committee that no matter the changes we decide on regarding split tracks, there is not one that everyone would consider to be perfect. But before we are too quick to decide we hate it – don’t forget the things you disliked about the previous split track rules. Be sure to make plans to attend the Rules Seminar next month at the Hunting Beagle Nationals. I’m sure the topic of split tracks will be one of the highlights.

Return Deadline Concerns

When you consider the 90-minute hunt we have today compared to the 120-minute hunt of previous years, the return deadline could also be reduced 30 minutes, right? It seems logical in theory. Unfortunately, we’ve already had numerous reports that some casts are having a hard time making the return deadline when it is now also being reduced by 30 minutes.

The problem with reducing the return deadline is; even though the hunt time is reduced it will likely take the cast virtually the same amount of time to complete their 90- vs. 120-minute hunt. This is due to the change to Rule 7(g). With this rule, timeout is called each and every time the dogs are ordered to be handled. Under the previous rule, time could not be called unless it took at least 10 minutes to get them all gathered up. So when we consider the amount of hunt time that was typically used up while handling dogs during the course of the 120-minute hunt, it was highly likely that the actual time dogs were being judged is very consistent with today’s 90-minute hunt. Therefore the amount of time it takes to complete a 90-minute hunt today is very similar to what it took to complete a 120-minute hunt last year. It’s something event officials should be sure to consider when setting the return deadline.

30-Minute Rule / Delaying the Cast

Q: How much time does the handler have to catch his dog before the 30-minute clock is started for delaying the cast?

A: Under new the new rule this year, timeout is called immediately whenever dogs are ordered to be handled. The 30-minute clock (Rule 6h) starts immediately after time out is called. There is no grace period allowed before starting the clock after time is called.

Cast Winner Failed to Sign The Scorecard

Q: There are two Hunting Beagle Champion casts. Both of the casts had a plus point cast winner. The owner of the dog that had high score in the winning cast forgot to sign the scorecard, and the dog was scratched. Should the plus point cast winner from other cast get the win in this hunt?

A: Not necessarily. If the cast winner is scratched for any reason, it does not necessarily mean that the rest of the cast is scratched. In this situation, the cast winner must be scratched for not signing the scorecard. That makes the second place dog in the cast the cast winner, assuming that they signed the scorecard. Their score is what should be considered for placement in the event. If that score is higher than the other cast’s, then they would be the winner.

Q: I was on a cast and we heard a dog “baying” at something in the woods. The cast proceeded down to the woods to see what the dog was baying at. When we got there, the dog was baying at a raccoon. The raccoon was just sitting there like it was sick and would not run and would not climb a tree. The judge of the cast scratched the dog for running off game. The owner of the dog questioned the call because he said the dog did not “run” the raccoon, as it just stood still. What should have been done?

A: Scratch the dog. Questioning that call is either being unreasonable or over-thinking the rule. If a dog barks on any animal other than a rabbit, they are scratched. If they are barking on it, they are running it.