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The Two-Hour Maniac
Posted on 01/02/2012 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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Advisor Article – December '11
Allen Gingerich

This month’s article is a bit off the path of your traditional A, B, C, D situations. Instead it addresses the handler, referred to as the Two-Hour Maniac, who many of us have drawn out with at one time or another, especially for those who have a good number of nite hunts under their belts. It’s the handler who is, simply put, not a pleasure to hunt with. The kind who has the mindset of winning at all costs without regard for their reputation, the integrity of their dogs’ wins and of the sport. Hopefully, this read might hit a nerve or two of that “maniac” and they might consider the effect it can have on others they draw out with. That they might have a little more respect for those they draw out with, and conduct themselves in a manner that is appropriate and becoming of reputable sportsmen and women going into a new year.

The Two-Hour Maniac
Whether it’s a pick-up game of basketball on the local schoolyard, a simple game of monopoly, a friendly trap shooting contest with friends or whatever it may be, it seems there’s always that one individual who goes a bit overboard in terms of being competitive. In some cases, it’s like there’s a chemical reaction somewhere within the brain area and the individual goes into some sort of “superman” mode!

If you’ve been involved in any form of organized coonhound events for any period of time you’ll find the same is true with some coon hunters. It can even be that most quiet, well-mannered person at the clubhouse who goes out on a cast, and all of a sudden they turn into someone else. Some of these people have a huge thirst for competition, and some of them have a desire to win that is so strong it fogs their vision and better judgment.

Being competitive is a good thing. It’s the nature of many humans and animals alike. It’s what coon hunts should be - competitive. Without competition, many of our dogs would likely be mediocre at best. Competition drives us to better our breeding programs and our coonhounds; however, a competitive nature that is over-the-top is not a good thing. There is an acceptable medium of being competitive that most people do find and adhere to; however, there are always those few individuals who cross that acceptable line. They are what we call the Two-Hour Maniac.

The Two-Hour Maniac may very well be the guy who is the center of a conversation, talking and joking in the clubhouse before the event. He is also the guy who sits off by himself and talks to no one. He is the guy who shows up early, and he is the guy who shows up late. At the clubhouse, they can come off as being one of the friendliest and most courteous people you’ve ever met. In other words, they may be hard to identify even after talking with them for an hour before the event begins. You might even have known this person for years and not know how competitive they are. These people do not dress in any certain way, drive a certain type of vehicle, nor do they have an accent or tone of voice that would tip you off. The only way you’ll find out if someone is a Two-Hour Maniac is to hit the timber with them and let the competition begin.

The Two-Hour Maniac is the individual who, immediately after the start of a hunt, is no longer friendly to anyone. They are in the woods for one thing, and one thing only - to win. They will try to make any break they can for their dog. They will sometimes, in the right circumstance, cheat for their dog. They take the attitude, “rules are made to be bent”. They will take advantage of anyone who is not quite up on the rules. Their reputation means nothing to them. What’s most important is winning baby; just win. And at all costs.

The Two-Hour Maniac has no reservations when it comes to loudly arguing with the Judge on a cast as soon as things aren’t going their way. They are not picky about who they argue with. That will be most anyone who does not agree with him. When the cast is called to vote, and you do not vote with him, you are his temporary enemy. If you vote with him you are, for the moment, his buddy. This is until the next question arises and you vote against him. Then you are just like the others, his temporary enemy. This individual does not agree with you because they are always right and anyone who disagrees with them is always wrong.

The Two-Hour Maniac is the individual who won’t see the coon when it doesn’t benefit his dog. He is the individual who is quick to argue that any little shadow in the tree he can come up with is a coon. Even when it’s obviously not and it will benefit their dog. His dog has never left a tree and never will no matter what. When other dogs are declared treed, he will be quick to argue that they are moving even when they aren’t. He will tree his dog if he needs to when it’s really not and argue with the judge until it finally gets treed or if there’s a chance it might be by the time they can get to the general area his dog is in, in order to win.

Heaven forbid the Two-Hour Maniac is carrying the scorecard. His inaccurate timekeeping will be such that favors his dog only. He will likely not give any cast members the opportunity to look at the card during the hunt. This is so no one will see what he has recorded. Miraculously, when you do see the card at the end of the hunt, there will be a few mistakes he made that always benefit him. But by this time so much time has gone by that he will resort to saying they should have questioned it when it was scored at the time it happened.

The list of what the Two-Hour Maniac will do on a cast goes on and on. I’m sure most can think of an individual they have met at a coon hunt who fits this description. However, there is still more to the Two-Hour Maniac. He takes on a completely different attitude after the hunt is over.

After the hunt, the Two-Hour Maniac is once again everyone’s buddy. He is once again the same “Chatty Cathy” back at the clubhouse as if they had the best cast ever. He talks about what a great time he had on a cast and how well his dog did. He might perhaps mention that there was one small disagreement on his cast (this is if he won), or he will say something like, “I got cheated” (if he lost). Most of the time, these individuals just sit back in their chair and try once again to be everyone’s friend, and do not mention anything that happened on their cast.

Many of these Two-Hour Maniacs do not have the slightest guilty conscious when it comes to their actions during the hunt. They are, for two hours, so competitive that they don’t even stop to think nor do they care about whom they are making mad, or what they are doing. It’s like a “chemical reaction” that makes them act this way. They need to win so badly that they simply lose their head.

As mentioned, this type of behavior is in no way exclusive to coon hunts and some of its handlers. In any type of competition event, whether it is organized or not, you may find such a maniac. I can’t tell you how to handle all situations with your local maniacs, but know that many of them will eventually wear out their welcome. It’s only a matter of time and the word will get out where they are recognized for what they truly are.

If you have an individual who fits this description at your event, you might address the issue with them. Let them know that your club and your participants do not appreciate this type of behavior. Let them know that you want them to participate at your club provided they leave the “maniac” part at home. Otherwise, their entry will be refused. Give them the opportunity to get their act together, but let them know that you’re serious about it. Most such maniacs won’t consider their actions unless someone addresses it with them personally. If that doesn’t work, then you’ve gone beyond your call of duty and did all you could to resolve the problem. You’re left with advising them with the only remaining option. They are no longer welcome at your club.