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You would think after all these years of applying the Nite Hunt Honor Rules, that every question would have a solid, though admittedly not always easy, answer.
Posted on 08/22/2005 in The Coonhound Advisor.

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Coonhound Advisor
You would think after all these years of applying the Nite Hunt Honor Rules, that every question would have a solid, though admittedly not always easy, answer. It seems logical that every situation that could come up would have already been addressed, with the addition of a rule to cover it. Not! The problem is some situations do not come up often enough to become an issue and warrant the passing of a rule to cover them. You would think someone would have to get pretty creative with a rules scenario for the question to border the unanswerable. Recently, a question surfaced involving a situation that could very easily happen, and yet the rules do not clearly define what to do in the event that it did happen.

The question involves a cast where Dogs A and B are struck in and running a bad track. Five minutes or so later, 150 yards from the cast in a different direction, Dog C is struck in and the cast can tell he has caught a coon on the ground. The cast arrives and scores Dog C with plus strike points. At that point, Dogs A and B come into the cast. How should their strike points be scored?

Let’s start by ruling out the possibility of plus points. In order for dogs to be credited with plus strike points, they would have to be part of catching the coon. In the simplest version of determining that, they would have had to at least been there when the cast arrived. It’s the same interpretation as circling strike points at a hole. Only one dog has to show the hole, but the others have to be in the immediate vicinity – not trailing off in the distance – in order for their strike points to be saved (or in our example above, plussed).

Let’s also rule out the possibility of minus points. In a tree situation, dogs are basically penalized for getting there late, meaning after the five minutes has expired, if a coon is seen. In a caught coon situation, there is no time limit applied before the cast can go to the dog, which justifies not penalizing them for arriving late in a plus point situation. Nor can we justify penalizing them for “quitting and coming” because they are coming into an after-the-judge-arrives scoring situation. We don’t minus dogs for coming into the cast at a scoring situation unless the coon is seen, and we ruled out the reason for doing that above.

That leaves two options, circle or delete. In reading Rule 5, it seems that 5(f) most closely applies, since it’s openended with an “etc.” at the end. The rule reads, “Delete points when judge orders dogs to be called off because of livestock or nearness to highway, building, etc.”

In this case, the etc. would apply to a caught coon. With dogs on a caught coon (live or dead), a judge would have to order dogs to be called (caught) off. In the example above, the dog who caught the coon is handled and his strike points are plussed. The dogs who came in later would have to be handled, resulting in their strike points being deleted.

Youth and Parents

Youth events around the country are in full swing. It’s great to see the enthusiasm of these youngsters and how much they enjoy the youth events. We always say, “The kids are the future of this great sport.” With that said, let’s keep in mind to steer them in the right direction.

It’s not always about winning. In order to be a great winner, you also need to learn how to be a gracious loser. This is where the parents and adults come in. Keep in mind, if we teach the kids how to be slick handlers or how to be dishonest and cheat when the right opportunity presents itself, then look out! The way the kids will turn out in ten or 20 years from now, good or bad, depends a lot on what and how they are taught today.

Let’s also keep in mind, the youth events are for the kids and not the adults. The parents and adults shouldn’t be there to handle the dogs. Let the youngsters handle their dog. The parents should be there to support the kids, not screaming orders from the sidelines.

If your youngster is handling a dog in the hunt, let them call the dog on their own. More than likely it will create a problem if a parent or adult has to give a signal when the dog strikes or trees. Even though it is a youth hunt, we have one set of ‘Honor Rules’ for young and old alike. If we don’t adhere to these rules at a youth event, then how can we expect the youngsters to follow them in the future?

The same goes for the bench shows. Sure, sometimes the youngster may have a little difficulty with a stubborn dog. If the youngster needs a little help, whether it be gaiting the dog, putting the dog on the bench or getting the dog set up, then most judges would be happy to assist the youngster. If a dog is just too stubborn for a kid to handle, then I would tend to think the dog probably shouldn’t have been entered to begin with. Remember, the Judge will be expecting a little chaos with some of the youngsters and their dogs!

We appreciate the parents and adults who teach the kids to be honest, honor the rules, as well as how to be great winners and losers. If we don’t get the kids involved in the sport, what do we have to look forward to in the future? Nothing. With the strong support and record number of entries at the youth events in the last several years, the sport of competition coonhounds should have a great future!

Eight Minutes

The last hunt I was on, the entire cast was mad at me for starting the eight minutes too soon on dogs out on strike. I would start the time 10 to 15 seconds after the last bark. How long should the Judge wait after a dog’s last bark before starting the time? JB/MO

Any time you wait too long to start the time, you allow the dogs to be quiet longer than what is consistent with Rule 4(e). In your case, the only argument that could possibly be made is, it wasn’t started soon enough. The Judge should inform the cast when the time is started. With that said, it would also get a little annoying when you’re trying to listen for your dog and at the same time have, “eight’s on,” “broke,” “eight’s on,” “broke,” “eight’s on,” etc., etc. ringing in your ear all night long. How long should you wait to start the time? You can wait too long, but you can’t start too soon. Be consistent.