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Strike Positions Available, Catching Coon on Ground, Didn't See The Situation But Are Asked To Vote
Posted on 12/13/2006 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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The Coonhound Advisor
Allen Gingerich

Strike Positions Available
Q: Recently I was the judge in a cast where a situation arose that in the 27 years of competing in nite hunts I never had this happen before. On the first turnout we split the strike points between all four dogs in the cast. Dogs A, B and C were declared treed. We scored the tree and cut them back to dog D who was still trailing. The question is what strike position(s) are open? I scored all three dogs at 25 strike points was that correct? JD/WI

A: When you split the strike points between four dogs, even though each dog was given 62 ˝ points, all four positions are taken. Forget about the strike points of 62 ˝. Think of it as positions. All four positions were taken so the only position available would have been 25 for each dog that was recast to dog D. Yes, you scored it correctly.

Scoring Dog in Hole That Is Not Declared Treed After Hunt Time Expires
Q: Two dogs are left in a cast. Both dogs are struck in. There is seven minutes of hunt time left when dog A is declared treed. Dog B is also treeing but not declared treed and the five minutes is up. On the way in to the tree the hunt time expires. Upon arrival the cast finds both dogs treed in a hole at the bottom of the tree. The coon is seen in this hole. Should dog B be awarded plus strike points since he was obviously there before time expired?

A: The only time UKC rules allow for dogs to be scored when time is out is; when a dog(s) has been declared treed before time was called or expired in Nite or Grand Nite casts where dogs should be checked for off game. Since dog B was not declared treed and was not handled at that hole before hunt time expired he would not be eligible for plus points. His strike points would be deleted per rule 5©.

Catching Coon on Ground
Q: Dog A is struck and after a few minutes is heard what sounds like he is baying something but then shuts up and the eight is started. About six minutes later the dog comes strolling in to the cast with a coon in his mouth. Can he still be scored plus for a coon caught since he came in before the eight expired? What if he would have come in after the eight had expired?

A: If it was determined the dog actually caught that coon then by all means plus the dogs strike points in accordance with rule 3(b). If the eight was put on the dog and it had expired then the dog would have been minused his strike points and it would have been considered a bad break, even though he comes in to the cast carrying a coon. You can’t go back and un-minus.

Didn’t See It But Are Asked For Vote
Q: Sometimes situations come up where a cast member is required to vote, or if they don’t, they are scratched. What if the cast member did not see or have an opinion of the situation?

A: This does in fact happen sometimes when the judge is the first member at the tree and a cast member or two that may have been following behind did not actually see the infraction. Sometimes it may be where the dog was off the tree or in most situations it involves dogs fighting or attempting to fight. You can’t blame a cast member for not wanting to vote one way or another when they in fact did not see it. However, it is plainly stated in rule 18 (b) that the handlers dog will be scratched if they don’t vote when asked.

As a handler, if you are ever in a situation where you didn’t see anything or don’t have an opinion here is some food for thought or maybe a recommendation on how you might look at it. The non hunting judges are assigned to each cast by the club officers. They are assigned because they have proven that they;
a) know the rules well
b) are honest and fair
c) aren’t afraid to stand up and make the difficult calls when needed

With that in mind, it should not be that difficult for the handler to make a decision on how to vote unless you have a good reason to disagree with the ruling of the judge. That reason should only be because of what you saw differently or know that the proper rule isn’t being applied. Otherwise, you probably don’t have a good reason to vote against the way the judge ruled on the situation regardless of how it may affect a nice guy in the cast, your buddy or even your own dog on the cast. Sound fair? After all, the name of the game is to score the dogs for what they do during the two hours of the hunt. It’s pretty hard to do that when a handler votes in such a way only to favor one’s own dog or their buddy’s dog. Think about it the next time you are asked for your vote. Let the judge do the job he was asked to do, unless of course, it is obviously the wrong ruling.