I've discussed this at length with co-judges and handlers alike.
When setting up a test, be it masters, finished etc., if you are trying to evaluate the dogs marking ability, why or why not set up in-line marks?
There are two camps that I've discussed this at length:
On one side there are those that say if you are testing a dogs marking ability, why would you set up a scenario that is intended to wipe out the memory of one of the marks? Are you testing the dogs marking ability or are you testing the dogs ability to overcome an obvious diversion? Just because it happens in true hunting situations, doesn't make it an effective evaluation technique for natural marking ability.
There is the other side that feels that any dogs marking ability can be evaluated fairly as long as it has the time to clearly see each mark, no matter where it is placed or what obstacles lie between the line and the fall area (whether it be suction, diversion, or physical obstacles).
Honestly, from the people I've talked to, the results were all over the map as far as opinions went and experience level. I see it set up at many hunt tests, more-so at AKC than HRC. At the HRC Judges/Handlers seminar they recommend NOT setting up in-line marks.
Just wondering for the sake of discussion, with which camp you sit?