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The “Big Five” policy change
Posted on 02/09/2010 in Full Circle.

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Jed Nichols

By the time you are reading this, we will already be well into the New Year and hopefully not too far away from spring time. Most of us Beaglers can’t help but get a smile on our faces when we think about our hounds getting after bunnies in the spring time. Some of the best rabbit races all year come in the spring and with them come three of the biggest UKC hunts of the New Year. With the beginning of a new year underway there is a new United Kennel Club policy that we would like to tell you about.

Some of you may be wondering why you were not able to schedule a new hunt date or reschedule a date that your club has had for several years on the same day as one of the five major UKC hunts that are in the months of March, April and October. For those of you who have not encountered this yet, you will if your club has previously had a hunt scheduled on one of the dates of the “Big Five”. The reasoning behind this is that there are numerous hunt dates still available if we exclude the dates of these five major events. These five hunts are prestigious events that every UKC Beagler would like to be able to say he won when he shows up at the event the following year.

To narrow them down for those who may be newcomers or for those who have not had the opportunity to attend all of these events yet, they are the UKC recognized breed association’s NHBA days, UKC Performance Pack Nationals, UKC Hunting Beagle Nationals, UKC Hunting Beagle World Championship, and the UKC Performance Pack World Championship. These five hunts are the only ones of their kind and each one of them is unique in their own way. In the past (and most likely in the future), these hunts have always moved around from year to year or for some every other year, with the exception of the Hunting Beagle Nationals, which stays pretty close to its home in the hills of Ohio. Because these five big hunts change location from year to year, it would be almost impossible to try and only block the hunt dates in the states in which they are being held and it would not give enough notification to clubs holding events on those dates.

For these reasons, we have made a collective decision to block all clubs from scheduling hunts on the same dates as the “Big Five”. We feel that this will do good things for the Performance Pack and Hunting Beagle programs. It will encourage those who have in the past attended the local club hunts to come to the larger events and bring their best to compete for a shot at a big title. It will also discourage dogs from earning “easy titles” because of the lack of competition and low entries they may have at these hunts; due to the majority of the hounds attending one of the larger hunts trying to earn a National, World or overall NHBA high scoring dog title.

For the 2010 NHBA days this new policy will not be in effect as there are already some clubs with dates that conflict. With the event just a little over a month away, it would not be in the best interest to have them reschedule on such late notice. As far as the other four, both Nationals and World Hunts, this new policy will be taking effect over the next couple of months. Regarding the Performance Pack Nationals, we have been working with several clubs in the past few weeks to get their hunts rescheduled to dates that will work for all. For those of you who are reading this and know your club has a conflicting date with one of the “Big Five” hunts, we ask that you would call the Field Operations Department at (269) 343-9020, or e-mail them at hounds@ukcdogs.com, and we will be glad to work with your club on rescheduling your conflicting date(s). Thank you for your understanding in regards to this new policy and we hope to see you in a month at NHBA days in Missouri.