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Rules and Judging Seminars - a New Year’s Resolution for Clubs
Posted on 02/10/2014 in Full Circle.

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If your club is like most, after a while the same old, same old club meetings month after month, although important as they are, tend to get a little boring. And maybe you’re not getting the membership attendance you once did. Maybe you need some new ideas and activities that will help create a stronger membership and better attendance? Are your members not motivated enough? If so, have you tried or even thought of any ideas that might help motivate them? Do you offer activities other than Field Trials that your membership would enjoy? UKC does not claim to have the secret recipe and all the answers for success; however, allow us to toss at least one idea at you that your members might find beneficial. Rules and Judging Seminars.


Very few hunters, regardless of age, knowledge or experience shy away from participating in a rules or judging seminar. Sure, some questions and topics might seem elementary for the more experienced, but they all started at square one at some point too. I know a lot of hunters, both new and experienced, who have found these types of club seminars to be very interesting and helpful. No, you don’t need some expert or UKC Representative to conduct one. Most every club already has someone very capable to chair such a seminar. Of course, they might not have all the answers, but with a little effort it’s not hard at all for them to get the answer to certain specific questions they don’t have on the end of their sleeve. Write it down and contact UKC for further discussion next time. Anyone who is serious about rules and judging will also always be hungry for more knowledge.

With the rules changes that are in effect for this year, it’s important to get hunters off and running on the same page. These kinds of seminars could be a huge aid in that effort. If your club doesn’t already have some new rulebooks, make that your first priority. If you need topics you might start with the items listed in this very article. And if you are reading this article, you probably have plenty of other past issues you could use for scenario type topics and answers. The Full Circle articles in the December and January Issues were dedicated to new rules and policies for 2014, so how about making judging and rules seminars a News Year’s Resolution for your club this year, and we’ll make it ours to provide you with the literature and any other answers you need? Your efforts could be an inspiration to many and be a very positive influence on the sport.

Ineligible Strike Call

Q: Dog A is the first dog to open up but is not declared struck by the handler. Fifteen seconds later Dog B opens up and is declared struck for 100. Immediately after Dog B is declared struck the handler of Dog A declares his dog struck although the dog has not made another bark since that first one 15 seconds earlier. Should a strike call be accepted in this manner?

A: Declaring a dog struck in the manner described should not be an eligible call. The fourth sentence under Rule 8 (HANDLERS) states: {They must tell the judge when the dog opens on strike}. Although the rulebook may not specifically spell it out as such, it is UKC’s position that a strike call should only be accepted if declared struck when or immediately after the dog opened. The key word in that rule is “when” and is the basis for UKC’s position. When Handler A opted to not declare his dog struck immediately after it opened, he was in essence passing on that available strike position. His next option to strike the dog should not have come until the next time when or immediately after the dog opened.

Unless Judge Asked for Call/No Harm No Foul

Q: After the first three minutes of the hunt a dog opened four or five times before the judge asked for a call on the dog. On the next (fifth or sixth) bark, the handler did strike the dog. Should that dog not receive minus points for not being declared struck on or before the third bark?

A: A new rule relative to this exact situation comes into play for any dog that has not been declared struck after its third bark. That new rule is found under Rule 4(f) in your 2014 Hunting Beagle Rulebook. There has been a little confusion already on this new rule in that some think the dog should be minused if not declared struck before the fourth bark. That is not true anymore.

Rule 4(f) now makes it the judge’s responsibility to acknowledge the fact that a dog has opened three times that has not been declared struck. If the judge determines a dog has opened three times (after the first three minutes of the hunt) then he or she must ask for a call on that dog. If the dog is not declared struck on its next bark then, and only then, is the dog awarded the available strike position and minused. Regardless of the dog having barked more than three times, per the scenario described above, it is irrelevant if the judge has not asked for a call on the dog yet. In other words, the dog cannot be minused unless or until the judge does not get a call on the dog’s next bark after having asked for a call. This is a much friendlier rule than the previous where a handler could quickly find themselves out of the hunt. Although friendlier, judges should not be too lenient and allow a dog to bark half a dozen times before stepping up to the plate and asking for a call.

World Qualifiers and Hunt Directors

Q: Can clubs use a Hunt Director for a World Qualifying Event?

A: This is one we cringed a little to approve but will now do so with the understanding that clubs also do their part in assigning a Hunt Director who is both knowledgeable and solely capable of following all event procedures. Hunt Directors are a great option for clubs to use, but they can also create a mess for the club if they are less than adequately suited for the job.

Kicking Brush Piles

Q: I was told by the judge on my cast that you cannot kick brush piles to get a rabbit going. On our cast we could hardly get a rabbit going, so I thought I was helping by kicking the piles. Why is this not allowed?

A: The Hunting Beagle Program is set up to be as fair as it possibly can. Therefore, if you take the handler out as much as you can, and let the dogs do the work, it is more fair to all of the dogs. A dog should be able to find its own game, and at least while at an event, cannot be assisted by the handler. If we all start jumping on brush piles, the dog that is out hunting will almost always be one of the last dogs to strike in. This is because the dogs that are not hunting will be right there when the rabbit is flushed from the pile. Striking and/or jumping a rabbit is a very important part of the total rabbit dog. Without the traits to search and jump a rabbit, your dog cannot be a total rabbit dog. When you are out rabbit hunting, you can jump on all the piles you wish, but when you are at a UKC licensed event, you must let the dogs do all the work.