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Thread: FT Judges - Handle vs Hunt

  1. #1
    Senior Member captainjack's Avatar
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    Default FT Judges - Handle vs Hunt

    Trying to come up with a hypothetical situation to start a discussion on the topic...

    Let's start with land test, triple. Twenty-two dogs entered. All dogs did exactly same work on first two birds retrieved, literally looked like same dog, only one set of feet prints, equal in style, speed, beauty, etc...

    On last bird...
    Twenty dogs laser lined the bird. Two dogs, A & B, did not.

    Dog A missed area of fall (as defined and agreed upon by both judges) by 80 yards. Was quickly and obediently handled to bird.

    Dog B missed area of fall (as defined and agreed upon by both judges) by 80 yards. Puts on a lengthy hunt but gets bird without a handle.

    Judges agree that the twenty best dogs are back, and given time constraints, they wish to and have time to test either A or B further but not both.

    1. Which dog gets back A or B? Why?

    2. Even if you say both are out, which should be penalized most, A or B, or no difference.

    3. What do you see from judges in your weekend trials?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by captainjack; 05-27-2016 at 04:09 PM.
    Glen Guider, GA
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  2. #2
    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by captainjack View Post
    Trying to come up with a hypothetical situation to start a discussion on the topic...

    Let's start with land test, triple. Twenty-two dogs entered. All dogs did exactly same work on first two birds retrieved, literally looked like same dog, only one set of feet prints, equal in style, speed, beauty, etc...

    On last bird...
    Twenty dogs laser lined the bird. Two dogs, A & B, did not.

    Dog A missed area of fall (as defined and agreed upon by both judges) by 80 yards. Was quickly and obediently handled to bird.

    Dog B missed area of fall (as defined and agreed upon by both judges) by 80 yards. Puts on a lengthy hunt but gets bird without a handle.

    Judges agree that the twenty best dogs are back, and given time constraints, they wish to and have time to test either A or B further but not both.

    1. Which dog gets back A or B? Why?

    2. Even if you say both are out, which should be penalized most, A or B, or no difference.

    3. What do you see from judges in your weekend trials?

    Thanks.
    First I fall in the "a quick clean handle is better than a big hunt" camp. That said, in this scenario I would drop both dogs, FTs are based on relative work and these two dogs are clearly inferior on a test that had a 90% good work.

    The handled dog was 80 yards offline, when the handler took over and took my ability to judge that dogs marking ability. The dog with the lengthy hunt eventually came up with the bird. If the hunt was a long intelligent hunt near or in the AOF, versus a dog running over all creation before SOB, I say the hunt was better than the handle, otherwise I'd say the handle was better, but I wouldn't call that handle back with 20 out of 22 dogs doing that well.
    Last edited by John Robinson; 05-27-2016 at 06:48 PM.

  3. #3

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    Agree with John. Given the relative work of the other dogs I would drop both dogs that were 80 yrds from the AOF. Time is not the issue. Neither dog is in a position to compete. .....again given the work of the other dogs in your discription. If you are looking for is a quick handle prefered over a large hunt disturbing a great deal of ground outside the AOF, I prefer the quick handle.

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    Senior Member Breck's Avatar
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    The choice is easy. Dog A or B? Carry the land owners dog.
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    Senior Member captainjack's Avatar
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    "Dogs which disturb cover unnecessarily, clearly well out of the area of the “fall,’’ either by not going directly to that area, or by leaving it, even though they eventually find the bird without being handled, should be penalized more severely than those handled quickly and obediently to it.

    Based on this wording from the rule book, I would have to penalize dog B more severely and given all other measures between A & B were equal, I'd have to drop dog B before dog A.

    The reason I bring this up is that it has been my observation running the 6-10 trials a year that I do, that more often than not judges will carry the big hunt and drop all handles. It seems that a handle is an easy bar to set making it an easy decision to drop a dog.

    In my own judging, If I'm going to drop all handles that start their hunts "clearly well outside the area of the fall", then I'm also going to drop every dog that starts its hunt "clearly well outside the area of the fall even though they eventually find the bird without being handled."

    I think it's fair and I think it's supported by the rules.

    Not withstanding taking care of the land owners, marshal, etc. and understanding it takes two judges to drop a dog.

    Appreciate all comments. Thanks.
    Glen Guider, GA
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    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    My general rule of thumb, realizing we are judging "relative merits" and some test end up being harder than we planed, so my standards might ease; two big hunts or a "failure" will get you dropped. Most handles will get you dropped, but a dog that goes to the area of the fall doesn't come up with the bird then starts to leave and is handled cleanly back to the bird might be carried.

    Your hypothetical didn't state how big the hunts were. The handled dog didn't proceed directly to the AOF and was handled from out of the area, so we can't give him any credit for marking that bird.

  7. #7
    Senior Member captainjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Robinson View Post
    My general rule of thumb, realizing we are judging "relative merits" and some test end up being harder than we planed, so my standards might ease; two big hunts or a "failure" will get you dropped. Most handles will get you dropped, but a dog that goes to the area of the fall doesn't come up with the bird then starts to leave and is handled cleanly back to the bird might be carried.

    Your hypothetical didn't state how big the hunts were. The handled dog didn't proceed directly to the AOF and was handled from out of the area, so we can't give him any credit for marking that bird.
    My opinion is that both dogs started their hunt in exactly the same place. Therefore both thought the bird was in the exact same place "clearly well outside the area of the fall." So both dogs had equally poor mark on the bird, neither receiving any credit in my book for the mark. One dog had "lengthy hunt covering 80 yards eventually getting the bird without a handle. The other dog also covered the 80 yards, but by being handled "quickly and obediently to it."

    If I carry the dog that hunted to the bird, in my opinion I am compelled by the rule book to also carry the dog that was handled. The rules state that the dog that hunted and eventually got the bird should be penalized more severely.

    I also am reluctant to drop a dog for one bad bird, even if I believe the dog should get zero credit for marking that bird. Given that we are judging the relative merits and do not have unlimited time to complete our stake, it is conceivable that one failed bird may get the dog dropped.

    I've made the observation that many, if not most, judges will drop a handled dog even if the dog started hunting significantly closer to the bird (but still clearly well outside the AOF) than the dog that eventually hunts up the bird. So one dog starts hunting 60 yards from bird, has a brief, tight hunt there and is handled quickly and obediently to the bird, vs. the dog in my original scenario that starts hunting 80 yards from the bird, has a lengthy hunt in that spot, but eventually gets the bird. I believe the judges that do this are not penalizing the poorer mark with the lengthy hunt more severely than the quick obedient handle as the rules say they should.

    I am trying to sell my point of view a bit. I believe that, if judges penalized the dogs with big, rambling hunts more severely than the quick, obedient handle we'd see less of them and the handlers would be forced to handle in order to score better. This would also have the side effect of speeding up the trial.

    If nothing else, the handlers reading this thread will know what my thoughts are when I hold the book, and know why I dropped (given my co-judge must agree) their dog.

    Thanks again for the feedback.
    Glen Guider, GA
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    Senior Member huntinman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breck View Post
    The choice is easy. Dog A or B? Carry the land owners dog.
    Smart man^^^^^^^^^^^
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    Senior Member EdA's Avatar
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    The reality of all age stakes that I run these days is that unless your dog is at least good in the first series you have almost no chance of recovering to earn a placement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdA View Post
    The reality of all age stakes that I run these days is that unless your dog is at least good in the first series you have almost no chance of recovering to earn a placement.
    Ed, I tend to agree with most of what you say because experience trumps conjecture on this kind of banter.
    A handler & dog that I held the book on many times was Mr. Carona and FC-AFC WILLIE BE GOOD. Looking
    back on my file "records" many times this team started out below the norm, only to stage a great come-back
    in ensuing series ... water blind/water marks. Gene was a great amateur handler & Willie almost always was there
    to validate Gene's prowess!!

    WDC

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