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Squalling, Boats, Coon Crossing Road, Place of Refuge and Extending Deadlines
Posted on 04/24/2006 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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Q: In a four-dog cast, Dogs A, B and C are declared struck and treed. Dog D has not struck. The five minutes elapsed and all handlers go to the tree. The dogs are handled, and one handler asks me if squalling is permitted. I replied yes. The handler of Dog D disagrees and says, “No, we can’t because one dog is still out hunting and may come into the tree if we squall.”

Being the Judge, I checked the back of the scorecard and told him it was my understanding the dog must be struck before it can be considered interfered with. If I am wrong, please set me straight because I want to be fair and honest with everyone according to the current rules. The situation resolved itself because, at that moment, Dog D arrived at the tree and the handler withdrew him but continued with the cast. He was a great sportsman about it and stayed with us for the rest of the hunt as an active cast member. BS/OH

A: You handled it perfectly. Whenever your decision is questioned in the woods, you as the Judge should turn the scorecard over and look for the rule that applies to the situation at hand. In your description of events, Rule 17 backs up your call in black and white. (No squalling nor any action deemed to be interfering with dog(s) to be done until all dogs declared struck are at tree and leashed.) Key words -declared struck and leashed. A handler may not squall anytime during the scoring of a tree if a dog(s) who is declared struck on track is not at a tree and handled. If you have split trees; no squalling may be done on the first tree until the dog(s) on the split tree is also handled, and of course, no other dogs declared struck are out on track. On the flip side, whenever a handler gives the okay for other cast members to squall in situations where the rules don’t allow for it, even though they may be trying to be a nice guy, they are guilty of bending the rules. In the situation you described however, Dog D was out but not declared struck. Rule 17 does allow you to squall in those situations.

Hunting Out of a Boat/Coon Crossing Road

Q: Would it be permissible to float down a river, see a coon 100 yards downstream, motor to the shoreline and cast the dogs, then return to the boat and repeat the process for the two hours of hunt time? I have seen in the Advisor where it said you can turn out on a coon crossing the road. I was wondering if you can turn out on only one coon or can you spend the whole night driving around looking for more coon?. Thank you for you time. LM/AR

A: There are a few different reasons why you should not be using a boat to hunt out of in a UKC Licensed hunt. For one, it is too much of a risk to ask the handlers and dogs to get in a boat. Second, cruising up and down the river in a boat looking for a coon to turn the dogs loose on would be not be much different than rigging. Dogs are to be free cast and are scored on their abilities to track and locate raccoon. Some of the older guys may remember back when Rule #1 on the scorecard stated hounds must be free cast in search of wild game. Don’t know when or why it was removed, maybe because that should go without saying? If you want to hunt an area where it requires a boat to get to it, we suggest hunting that spot during the week with your buddies and not during a UKC Licensed hunt. Clubs should not consider using a guide who may need to use a boat anytime during the hunt. There are too many risks involved.

The second question asks about turning in on a coon crossing the road. It has always been permissible to turn loose on a coon crossing the road, so for the time being, we’ll continue to stick with it. However, driving up and down the road looking for a coon crossing to turn in on all night long would: a. be considered rigging; b. raise concerns of having permission to hunt at the location; c. would not be fair to other casts you are competing against for placement in the hunt. Again, the answer is no. Sorry.

Water/Place of Refuge

Q: The dogs in a cast run a good track and start treeing or baying, and eventually they are all declared treed. We walk in and find the dogs are on the edge of a river baying from the bank. No tree or hole there, they’re just looking out across the river baying. The river is a good 100 to 200 yards across. It is deep, wide and roaring with spring rains. Can this be considered a place of refuge since it seems impossible for a dog to even try to swim across under these conditions? JV/TN

A: Anytime dogs tree other than on a tree, and in doing so, are holding the game, it is considered a place of refuge; unless of course, they have the game caught on the ground. Understandably, it seems next to impossible for any dog to swim across the river as you described it, but a body of water, whether it be a lake a mile wide or a river that has a current too strong to cross, will not hold the coon; therefore, may not be considered a place of refuge. UKC maintains any bodies of water are considered part of the terrain regardless of width, current or otherwise. In your situation, the rules allow no other option other than minus the dogs. Sounds like the coon won this one!

Extending the Deadline

Q: Under what circumstances may a Master of Hounds extend the deadline?

A: There are only three and those conditions are as follows.

1. One can be found under Rule 10 where only one cast member remains in a cast and the handler must return to the Master of Hounds for a non-hunting Judge.

2. Whenever there is an unbreakable tie between two dogs on the same cast.

3. Whenever there is an unbreakable tie for placement between two cast winners in a respective category.

The first is obviously the most common. Remember, it says when only one cast member remains. The second one hardly ever happens, but does now and then. You have two different options whenever you have two dogs in the cast with the exact same scores. The rules say you may either: a. flip a coin; or b. hunt in one-hour intervals until the tie is broken. Some handlers don’t like the idea of flipping a coin for the win, so they do have the other option. Sometimes when you have a tie in the cast, there isn’t enough time to hunt another hour and make it back to the clubhouse in time before the posted deadline, so the two handlers involved may go back to the clubhouse with their unbreakable tie and ask the Master of Hounds for the deadline to be extended, which he should oblige. That is also true for the third condition when it involves two cast winners with unbreakable ties.