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Incompetent vs Competent Judging; Other Coonhound News

Coonhound Advisor

May 14, 2018

Source: Allen Gingerich

As published in the April issue of Coonhound Bloodlines

Time Period Allotted to Question Scoring, and Dogs that Come in After Judge Arrives

Q: Dogs A, B, C and D are declared struck in that order. Dog A is declared treed. The cast waits the five minutes, and no other dog is declared treed. While the cast is shining the tree, Dog B comes into the tree and is handled. This tree was scored as slick, and Dog A was minused both ways. As the judge, I circled Dog Bs strike points. At the end of the hunt, two of the cast members were adamant that Dog Bs strike points should have been deleted. How should those strike points have been scored?

A: Before we get to the proper scoring of Dog B, its important to note that, if theres any question on scoring, it needs to be addressed at the time of scoring, not at the end of the hunt. The last sentence in Rule 16 (b) clearly states, {Situations not question and notated at the time Judges decision is made, will not be considered.} Questioning a call or questioning the scoring of a dog at the end of the hunt, regardless of how the situation was scored, cannot be considered. Any ruling or scoring situation must be made at the time it happened. The reason for having this strict rule is to eliminate the potential to have a handler, at the end of the hunt, look for ways to change the outcome of the winner had they scored something differently. If we allowed this, we could easily be opening ourselves for a potential mess at the end of hunt time.

Due to the fact that the handler did not question it until the end of the hunt means that the way you scored his dog would have stood, right or wrong. Nevertheless, you should be pleased to know that Dog B was in fact scored correctly.

Rule 5 falls under Circle and Deleted Points Section of the Nite Hunt Honor Rules. Rules 5 (a), (b), (c), and (d) fall under the circle points section, while (e), (f), (g), (h), and (i) fall under deleted points. Dog Bs scenario falls under Rule 5 (b), which applies to any dog that comes into the tree, after the judge has arrived. The points of those dogs coming in are circled in every situation except for one, that is clearly noted in 5 (b). That single exception, where points arent circled, is if theres a coon scored in that tree. Rule 5 (b) states, {No dog to receive minus points for coming into tree after Judge arrives unless a coon is seen and the dogs treeing are awarded plus points.} Dog A was not awarded plus points for coon seen in this tree, therefore, Dog B receives circled strike points.

Finally, some may incorrectly interpret Rule 5 (i) thinking Dog B is considered shut out on this tree and, therefore, would receive deleted strike points. The interpretation of shut out is not the same as treeing on a closed tree. Any dog that is not declared struck before another dog in the cast is declared struck and declared treed, is considered as shut out if the dog trees on the same tree as the dog that shut them out.

Age Requirement for Hunt Judges

Q: Does UKC have an age requirement in order to be considered qualified or eligible to judge a cast?

A: There is one only one event where UKC Nite Hunt rules require the judge to be a certain age in order to judge. That event is any portion of the World Championship, which includes RQEs, the Zones and Finals, where the judge must be a minimum of 18 years of age.

Any other UKC events simply require the club to use good judgment when selecting judges for their events. If an individual younger than 18 years of age is knowledgeable, able and qualified, then they may be used to judge, regardless of their age, providing the one exception for any part of the World Championship as mentioned above.

Incompetent vs Competent Judging

Scenario: (Judge) TREE SPUD! Okay, boys, weve got two dogs treed. One over here to the right a half, and Spud is deep and alone. Charlie, you take Sam (Sams dog is out trailing) to your tree, and Dave (Daves dog also out trailing), you come with me to score Spud.

Dave questions whether or not the whole cast should score each tree separately. Awh, we score em this way all the time and were all out here to have fun, right? Gotta save huntin time ya know. No one has a problem with it do ya? asks the judge.

A brief discussion ensues, and all agree it to be okay.

Charlie and Sam find no coon in their tree and both agree its a minus tree. After leading the dog off tree Sam can hear his dog treeing through the country. Hey, Im calling my dog treed Charlie.

Got it Sam, I hear him. They no longer hear the judges dog treeing and assume they probably already scored it and turned back loose.

They head back in the direction they had left from when the cast was still together. After getting turned around a time or two, they finally all meet. Sam tells the judge he called his dog treed right after they pulled Charlies dog off tree. Cant tree your dog Sam, Ive called time out.

We cant call time out, we have dogs out, says Sam. How did you score your tree, judge?

Circle tree.

Arguments escalate. I told you we cant split the cast up.

Dont we all have to agree to call time out?

Nope, Im the judge!

Things are definitely getting out of hand, so Dave says, Judge, just withdraw my dog. I didnt come to argue.
Finally, in frustration, the judge concludes, Im scratching the whole cast for not staying together. This cast is done!

Everyone is frustrated and fed up with the way things transpired. Nonetheless, its a useless cause to argue anything any further. They all part ways reflecting on a hunt gone bad and how things might have been different. On the way back to the clubhouse, Sam and Charlie talk about hanging up competition hunts. One of the handlers chose to take this messed-up hunt to Facebook and by three in the morning has a thousand supporters hating on the sport, the club, and UKC.

Conclusion: Using the example above, its not difficult to see after the hunt is in motion, if done procedurally incorrect, how a handler may easily be subjected to unfair disadvantages. Its another good example of why club officials must take the time to select competent and honest judges. It alone will alleviate 90 percent of any issues that might transpire otherwise. An incompetent judge combined with cast members agreeing to bend rules is a train wreck waiting to happen, not to mention unfair to all others competing in the event.

Competent judges understand that written rules and procedures are in place for good reason and wont allow agreeing to bend rules. They are well aware that their cast must remain together and for good reason. They are well aware that scoring trees out of order plays a part in the hunt when it comes to the option to recast. They know when calling time out is an option and when its not and that they must have a majority of the cast vote to do so. They have the foresight of how things can go wrong when procedures arent followed without having to find out after its too late. And finally, they are aware that judging a cast in such a manner as shown above may well result in having their nite hunt judging privileges revoked.

Judges need to take the responsibility seriously. If they are unable due to not having the required knowledge of the rules and experience, then they should politely decline. Otherwise, consider it an honor that the club trusts your expertise and knowledge and run your cast per the written rules in place - the way it was intended. We applaud those judges that do just that.

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