I now remember why I haven’t run a Hunt Test in the last 5 or 6 years. As a Marshal for a Master Hunt Test yesterday I witnessed the most incredible situation I have ever seen.
The scenario was on the walk up a right hand bird was thrown. The handler would call the dog off this bird and run a blind. Then when the dog returned another two marks were thrown. The dog would then pick up all three marks and run another blind.
The handler and dog in question ran a decent blind and a winger malfunctioned causing him to get a no-bird. After moving back the designated number of dogs the handler was properly instructed that he had to complete the test just as he had done previously but he would not be judged again on the previously completed test. Judging would begin from the point of the no-bird.
On the re-run while running the repeat blind the handler allowed the dog to get off line by 90+ yards on a blind that was only 100 yards to begin with. The handler was really late on whistles and could never gain control of the dog allowing the dog to pick up the poison bird mark.
After running all the dogs I had broke down the test when I was instructed that we needed to re-run this dog again. “WHAT, you have to be kidding?” was my response. After much debate the judges overruled me and re-ran the dog which did a good job.
Unfortunately this decision was made by a highly respected Hunt Test judge who is extremely involved with the Master National Retriever Club. The handler in question happens to be extremely involved with the club holding an upcoming Master National event.
Below there’s a copy of the rules and regulations that applies. I had two arguments presented to me. First, the handler on his re-run did attempt to pick up the blind in the original order but failing to do so should be allowed to try again. The other argument was this highly respected judge is very knowledgeable with the Hunt Test Rules and Regulations and must be correct.
Section 12. If there is an occurrence which makes
for a relatively unfair test of a dog’s abilities, the Judges
shall exercise their discretion in determining how to
score the abilities of the dog in that series. In doing so,
the Judges may decide that it is necessary or unnecessary
to re-run the dog.
The re-run of a mark or blind which was not previously
completed shall be scored by taking into consideration
the abilities exhibited by the dog prior to the
point of unfairness in the initial run, and after the point
of unfairness in the re-run.
If, during the re-run of a mark or blind not previously
completed, a dog commits an infraction that would have
resulted in it’s automatic elimination in the initial run, the
dog cannot receive a qualifying score.
The handler of the working dog must attempt to pick the
birds up in the same order in the re-run as was completed
in the initial running of the tests.