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Club Guidelines for Dealing with Problem Individuals; Other Coonhound News

Coonhound Advisor

September 11, 2018

Source: Allen Gingerich

As published in the August issue of Coonhound Bloodlines.

The Authority of The Master of Hounds to Make Changes

We have been very strict over the years regarding which issues, in the form of questions, can be brought back to the Master of Hounds, and which ones cannot. We had to be. The biggest pain of all was the individual who wants to question something at the end of the hunt that occurred on the first drop because he just found out he is beat. We are not going to play that game. Fortunately, all the Rules Committees that I have sat in on felt the same way. Over the years, the procedures for questioning calls has become more and more strict to guard against the situation referenced above.

The question is, what do you do as a Master of Hounds if a scorecard is turned into you after the completion of a cast, and the cast has scored second tree all night as 100 points instead of 75? Or if they didnt move dogs up to 125 on split trees? Do you shrug your shoulders and state that since it wasnt questioned you cant change it? Do you correct the point values and refigure scores and potentially a new cast winner? What do you do in this situation?

Rule 13 states; {Scorecards must be completed in the woods, and no changes can be made later except where a question arises and is noted in the woods.}. Rule 16 (b) states; {Situations not questioned and notated at the time the Judges decision is made, will not be considered.}. Rule 16 also describes the proper procedure for handling situations once they have been formerly questioned.

The judge has many decisions to make during a cast. However, he or she does not have to decide how many points to give a dog that is the third dog declared treed. Deciding how many points to give a dog for doing certain things is not a judges decision. Read that carefully because, yes, a judge has to decide whether or not he feels like a dog is split treed for instance. However, if the judge agrees the dog is split treed, he doesnt have to decide how many points to award that dog. The Rules Committee, in the form of setting up a point structure, has already done that for him.

If the Master of Hounds discovers a cast has incorrectly applied the very basic point structure in judging a cast, it is the MOHs responsibility to make changes. A less than scrupulous cast cannot be afforded the security of retaining incorrect points just because nobody in the cast questioned the situation. In our attempt to prevent the sore losers from bringing up a bunch of questions at the end of cast, we cannot tie the hands of a Master of Hounds who needs to correct an incorrect scoring sequence. I contend that since point values are not a judges decision, they can be changed by the Master of Hounds later.

It protects the integrity of the hunt if the Master of Hounds has the authority to make changes. It also protects the senility of the Master of Hounds to be able to refuse to listen to questions regarding judgement calls that were not questioned. Is it a tightrope to walk? I dont think so. A good MOH shouldnt have any problem knowing which situations he/she should correct and which ones he/she shouldnt.

Shut Out on Strike and the Only Dog Left on Tree

Q: In a four-dog cast, Dogs A and B are struck in and treed before Dogs C and D are struck. Dog C was then struck and treed with Dogs A and B. Dog D was struck and running a track. After the five minutes were up on the tree, Dogs A and B left the tree and began running track with Dog D before handlers got to the tree. We shined the tree and a coon was seen. What should happen to Dog Cs strike and tree points?

A: I would put Dog C on the card for third strike and third tree. However, I would do this knowing that if he is on the same tree as Dogs A and B, his strike points will have a line drawn through them. When Dogs A and B leave the tree, you minus their tree points. Unfortunately, Dog Cs tree position does not move up when a dog ahead of him is minused.

I get the impression your question is whether or not to assume it is the original tree even though the possibility exists that Dogs A and B left the original tree, and Dog C was treed split all along. Even though we give the benefit of the doubt to the dog in most cases, you cant assume Dog C was split-treed unless its obvious. It wasnt obvious when they put him on the card for 50 tree points, so you shouldnt make that assumption later just because the other dogs left. Since he was *shut out on strike, you cant award plus or minus strike points to Dog C unless he trees on a separate tree, 50+ tree points is all dog C gets.

Club Guidelines for Dealing with Problem Individuals

See if this sounds familiar. There is an individual person or dog that frequently hunts out of your club and is continually causing problems. Maybe not to the extent that UKC would be able to permanently bar the individual, but enough of a problem that new hunters give up competition events after drawing him, and seasoned hunters just go pleasure hunting to avoid the potential hassle. Maybe this individual would never actually outright falsify a scorecard, but he is so argumentative and confrontational in nature he cant participate on a cast without causing everyone problems.

Do you know an individual like that in your area? Is your club ready to do something about it? For the benefit of those clubs who are ready and willing to do their part to make this a better sport, we need to discuss the proper way to deal with these individuals.

The Entering Dogs in UKC Events portion of the rulebook gives a club the right to refuse entry to any handler or any dog so long as it is not for reasons of a racial or religious nature. Clubs need to understand they have UKCs full support to refuse entry to individuals who are classic poor sportsmanship examples.

But there is a right and a wrong way to go about it and thats what we need to discuss. The wrong way to go about it is to wait until your next event and refuse this individuals entry at the Master of Hounds table right in front of big assembly of hunters. Obviously, that is a tense, embarrassing situation that is better avoided. It simply is not a constructive way to attempt to redirect a lost soul and guide him or her back to the competition mainstream so that they can have a positive influence on the sport. After all, that is our ultimate goal, isn't it?

Your club needs to decide to enforce your right to refuse entry at a club meeting well in advance of your next hunt. If you decide thats what you want to do, send this individual a written notice that your club will not accept his entry at your events. Cite that portion of the rules which gives you this authority. Make it clear you are doing it for reasons of sportsmanship, etc. You may wish to say that his dogs may be entered by a different handler. Also, I strongly suggest the club set a specified amount of time the refusal will be in effect. Dont do the indefinite thing. Give them a three-hunt break, or one year off, or something. Give them a chance to learn from the experience and that you wont tolerate nonsense and bad behavior. Hopefully, they might be back eventually with no further issues.

Make sure your club sends a copy of the refusal letter to United Kennel Club so we may file a copy in your clubs file. More often than not, the individual you refuse is going to call us to contest the denial. That way, we will have a little insight on the matter and be ready to discuss it accordingly. We will support your club, and hopefully the whole sport of coon hunting will be better off.

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