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Coons that Can't be Scored; Other Coonhound News

Coonhound Advisor

April 12, 2017

Source: Allen Gingerich

As published in Coonhound Bloodlines March 2017

Dog Declared Treed With Bayed Coon on the Ground

Q: Dog A strikes and runs a short track, then is declared treed. The cast arrives to find the dog in a wheat field, baying a coon on the ground. What points are awarded? Some of our hunters are split on how to score this dogs tree points, although my local club Master of Hounds says tree points should be awarded.

A: The answer lies under Section 3 of the current coonhound rulebook; 3 (b) states, {dogs declared struck and treed and a coon is seen, other than in a tree, dog(s) declared treed to receive strike and tree points. Dogs not declared treed to receive strike points only.} A coon on the ground, as in this scenario, might be interpreted as other than in tree, which stands to reason why some of your hunters suggest that the dogs should receive both strike and tree points.

UKCs interpretation of other than in tree, as it relates to Rule 3 (b), might be a hole in the ground or a place of refuge, such as a wood or junk pile. However, 3 (c) is the rule that should apply to the scenario above, which states, {If dog catches coon, strike points only}. Any time a dog catches a coon on the ground, dogs are to receive plus strike points only, and any dogs that were declared treed shall have their tree points deleted. To further clarify, it is UKCs position that a bayed coon on the ground is considered the same as a coon caught.

Coons That Cant Be Scored

A caller recently was describing a high-scoring cast in which he recently participated. He made it a point to assure me that he personally saw every coon, even though he was not the cast winner. Following that, he told me that he wasnt sure if the way they had treed them was exactly right. Upon further questioning, he described one drop where the cast saw a coon cross the road and go up a tree. Allegedly, the cast, which is now down to one dog and two cast members, walked the dog up to the tree, unsnapped him, struck and treed him, and let him tree for five minutes. The reasoning this was thought acceptable was because the scorecard did not prohibit it.

Then, while working an event the next weekend, I was asked when it became permissible to score a coon in a live trap? I was thinking, youve got to be kidding me. Apparently, this was done at a UKC licensed hunt recently. A live trap is not a place of refuge for a coon, and coon cannot be scored in live traps. This has been printed in the Advisor several times over the years. You must delete those points. It would be convenient, though, to be able to place coons in live traps at all my hunting spots. You could rack up a really good score that way, couldnt you?

Scorecard historians will remember when the scorecard said in Rule 1 that hounds must be free cast in search of wild game. I cant remember when it was removed from the scorecard, or why. Maybe because its so darn obvious that cant turn your dog loose at a tree that you know is harboring a raccoon.

At any rate, preceding Rule 1 is a statement that refers to the Coonhound Advisor column as official interpretation of UKC rules and policies, so lets make this official right now. All hounds in UKC licensed events must be free cast in search of wild game. That means no enclosures, that means no turning loose as in the example above, that means you cant score coons in live traps or in a cage behind someones barn; it means you cant score dead coons; it means you cant turn coons loose for the dogs; and so on. Its always been permissible to turn loose on coon crossing the road so, for the time being, well stick with it.

All this should go without saying, but, believe it or not, Ive had to deal with every one of the situations mentioned above in the last couple years because someone said it wasnt prohibited in the rules. Now it is.

Closer Look Changes Initial Response

Cast A: All dogs are declared treed. The cast starts shining and right away they see eyes in the tree. All cast members agreed, Yes, we see it. However, after they had all agreed they saw it, one member throws a bright light up there and sees it is a possum instead of what they thought were coon eyes. Since they all agreed they saw it, is it considered scored and over with, regardless?

Cast B: Three-dog cast. Two dogs are left in the cast toward the end of the hunt. Both dogs fall treed but are split from each other on separate trees. The three members shine Dog As tree. After a little while, the judge says, Here-ee is. The second cast member comes over and says, Yep, I see it.

A: Most of us who have hunted long enough have been in situations like those described where at first glance your initial thought was, Yeah, I see it, and verbally say so. Upon further examination, you realize its not what you initially thought it was after all. The basic question in either situation is, can a handler change his initial scoring vote after having verbally said something to the affect that he or she saw it?

To be fair in scoring situations properly as they should be scored, like the situations described above, UKC maintains that a tree is not considered to be officially scored until majority of the cast members are satisfied with their vote. This doesnt mean you can vote one way at the tree and then vote another way at the clubhouse. You must obviously make your decision at the tree. If we were to allow plus points on off game or knots on tree limbs simply because of initial first reactions or petty technicalities, then something is terribly wrong.

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