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Next Generation Spotlight Series Rules Change Notice; Other Coonhound News

Coonhound Advisor

July 10, 2018

Source: Allen Gingerich

As published in the June issue of Coonhound Bloodlines.

Next Generation Spotlight Series Rules Change Notice

Effective June 1, 2018, youth competing for points in the Next Generation Spotlight Series Bench Shows will be awarded Spotlight Series Points for no more than two category wins per bench show. June 1st marks the start of the 2018/2019 series, which runs through May 31, 2019. This change will also be noted on the Spotlight Series Forms that is included in all Youth Event Packets.

In the past there was no limit to the number of dogs one youth could show in the same show. And there still wont be. However, there will now be a limit as to the number of category wins a youth may get credit for. That number is two per show, as noted above. Most youth dont have the opportunity to enter more than one or two dogs per show, while it turns out that some are in fact entering and showing up to as many as five or six. Of course, entering a dog in every category increases their odds of earning more Spotlight points.

Its great to see kids having the opportunity to show multiple dogs in each show, but for the sake of all youth being able to potentially have a chance to compete for age division honors, it is in the best interest of all to implement this regulation. Again, a youth may show as many dogs as they want in each show but will get credit (Spotlight Series Points) for no more than two category winners per show. For more information on the UKC Next Generation Spotlight Series, go to https://www.ukcdogs.com /next-gen-spotlight.

Tree is Slick. Next Tree Over is Den Tree.

Q: Recently, we were in a Grand Nite Champion cast that utilized a non-hunting judge. During the hunt, two dogs treed on a tree that was obviously slick. However, the tree the dogs were treed on had some limbs that went into the next tree over, which was an obvious den tree. The non-hunting judge ruled to minus the dogs and gave no consideration that a coon could have crossed over to the den tree. The ruling was questioned and upheld by the Master of Hounds. What is UKCs position on such a situation?

A: UKC would always suggest to not consider circling an obvious slick tree, regardless of the tree having limbs that crossover to a den tree. That said, common sense should always prevail. In other words, if the tree the dogs are treed on is a leaning tree that lays into a den tree, then commons sense suggests that is the route the coon takes to get to his den. Or if the dogs are treed on a sapling that goes up to a legit limb of a den tree then, again, common sense suggests that sapling is a general route the coon takes to get to his den.

Otherwise, lets play devils advocate for a minute. Would you be okay with scratching the dogs if there was off game in the next tree over? I bet that would change the opinion of a good number of handlers, right? How about the guy looking to buy a dog on trial, or that guy out pleasure hunting? How would they score the situation? In their mind, the dog simply missed the coon when it is in the next tree over. The same goes for a den tree next door. Youre probably going to have a hard time convincing them that the dogs dont deserve to be minused on the slick tree they are on.

We always suggest giving the benefit of the doubt to the dog, if youre on the fence, and within reason. That doesnt mean we should be able to come up with any potential benefit of the doubt debate. Otherwise, we would not be doing the sport, or the degrees issued to our champions any justice. Judging dogs in nite hunts is based on the rules in place. Beyond that, an honor system is used for judgment calls. Theres not much honor in play when we are not reasonable with our opinions and judgement calls. Scoring dogs comes with good. Sometimes the bad is absolutely the right call. The bigger issue is often those handlers not willingly accepting the bad with the good.

Three Treed. One Left. Remaining Two Found to be Split.

Q: In a three-dog cast we had Dogs A, B, and C declared treed in that order. Before arriving at the tree, Dog C was heard opening on trail again and was minused her 50 tree points. Upon arriving at the tree, we found Dog A on one tree, and Dog B on a separate tree 20 yards behind Dog A. We moved Dog B up to give him a first tree but there was a question as how to score Dog C, who was originally minused 50 tree points. I felt like she should have been moved up to second tree and minused 75 instead of 50, as originally scored before it became obvious that Dogs A and B were split treed. What is the correct scoring of Dog Cs tree points?

A: First, Rule 11 (c) states; {If a split tree is obvious (Judges decision), split tree will be assigned.} This means that if it is obvious to the judge that you have a split at the time the call is made, the judge would assign split tree points. In your situation, it was not obvious that any dog was split, at the time any of the three were split treed, so the points were recorded on the scorecard as 125, 75, and 50. When it did become obvious (when you arrived at the tree), you correctly moved Dog B up to 125.

After arriving, its obvious that you now have two trees instead of one. Its also quite obvious that you couldnt have had more than two dogs on either one of your split trees. Obviously, you cant say for sure which tree Dog C left without seeing it, but it really doesnt matter. Dog C should have been moved up to second tree and minused 75.

Lastly, its important to know that in UKC it is the judges decision whether or not to assign split tree points at the time dogs are declared treed. Rule 11 (c) confirms this when it states; if it is obvious; followed by clarification that it is the judges decision.

Sometimes a handler suggests that his dog is split treed from another dog; however, that is the decision of the judge, not the handler. It happens sometimes when a judge may be on the fence whether or not dogs are split at the time they are called but the key word obvious makes that initial decision much easier for the judge when it comes to assigning tree points. If it is not obvious at the time the call was taken you dont put them on the card as split. If it becomes obvious later, such as the scenario given above, then the judge would have no choice but to adjust the tree points/positions accordingly.

Recording a Point Value Without Checking the Hole

Q: My question pertains to UKCs position on scoring dogs treed in holes. The other night I was just the guide and didnt have a dog in the cast where they had three dogs treed in a hole in the ground. There was never much of a track, if any, and they just treed. Turns out they were treed in a hole in the ground. All three handlers grabbed their dogs and agreed to circle their points without anyone even looking in the hole. Obviously, they had a hunch the dogs had a possum in the hole. As the guide, I was well aware that it wasnt in my place to say anything, but felt like they should have at least made an attempt to look. Especially after it turned out that one of those same dogs won the Nite Champion division over two other casts that were competing that night.

A: Again, isnt the point of competition scoring dogs for what they do; be it the good, the bad, or the ugly? Thats definitely what the founding fathers had in mind when they implemented a set of honor rules for nite hunts. Not checking a hole is no different than a cast agreeing to circle a tree without even throwing a light in it. UKC maintains that it is mandatory that the cast check a hole to see if anything can be seen. Otherwise, how do you know that youre scoring the dogs correctly?

Receiving negative points or scratching out of a hunt is not what any handler hopes for, but its all part of an honorable scoring system intended to evaluate coonhounds in a nite hunt. UKC maintains that it is the judges responsibility to see that all rules are followed. Judges allowing holes to be circled without making an attempt to look in the hole are failing miserably when it comes to their assigned responsibilities. Worse yet, if this hole in question actually had off game in it that could be seen, a dog took an undeserved win that night and took away a win from a deserving dog. Wheres the honor in that?

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