Monday, August 17, 2009

Hog Dog Field Trails

Arnold, a son of Patch and Ruby, born 12/17/2008.

We are forming an association to set standards in the hog dog field trail industry. There are big names who are in the know as to what needs to be done. Such as Reggie Little, who puts on a fine example of doing it right, at his Fort Bayou Ranch in Van Cleve, Mississippi.

The standard includes using quality, healthy, large boars, with blunted teeth and it is essential that honest judging be provided.

We are able and willing to support the pens that comply and shut down the ones that don't!

Of course we are all in agreement that putting on a baying is a lot of work and costs a lot of money. But... if done right it makes money and there is no excuse for keeping livestock you can't take proper care of, if you are making money from those animals. If you can't do it right, don't do it. Too many times in the past I witnessed hogs in baypens that were weak, and maybe sick, and at least once about 10yrs. ago, a hog was used that was cripple. That is unexcusable, and it makes the industry as a whole look bad.

Furthermore, we cannot avoid dogs getting cut in the woods, that is part of hunting, but in a baypen competition, where we control the hogs, feed them and worm them, we can blunt the teeth. There is no excuse for dogs getting cut in competition.

And regarding honest judging, the baying I attended this past weekend in Hardin County north of Beaumont, Tx is a perfect example of why we need to standardize the industry practices.

Ten years ago, I went to this same baypen because Bruce Hall was the judge. Two weeks later, I would go to Union Hill near Oakdale Louisiana, because Bruce was the judge there too.

But, this past weekend the judging was pitiful in spite of the fact we were assured by the management that there would be honest judging and good hogs with blunted teeth.

Bear in mind we were called by the management of the baying last week and he asked if we could help him boost attendance. Sure, we wanted to help.

But we listed our conditions: quality, healthy, large boars, with blunted teeth and it is essential that honest judging be provided.

He agreed to our conditions and we started calling our contacts. I personally invited everyone I knew in the area and brought in 5 people in two vehicles not including my own truck with 18 dogs in the trailer. I drove three hours one way and consumed about $50 in fuel expenses, one way, to get there. Time and money well spent in my opinion. I also invited several others who had already made other plans and couldn't be there. later they were amazed to hear that we had 39 dogs in the one dog bay.

We were having a great time meeting people we had not seen in a long time, not to mention making some new friends along the way.

But things turned sour for us after my one of my friends dog made a perfect run and got a less than perfect score.

We began to discuss what had happened. I had first congratulated my friend on the impressive show his 15 year old dog put on, and told him I watched the bay and did not see see one mistake. I asked him what was his score, then the word got to us that he scored a 19.8, not a perfect score of 20 that he deserved.

First let me explain something. Every dog enters the pen with a perfect score, and is judged on his mistakes. He must control the hog from running, bark continuously, maintain 100% eye contact(not look out), and back up if charged without turning around(not turn out).

If a dog cannot stop a running hog and set him up against the fence controlled by barking, looks out, turns out, or is distracted in any way he should not get a perfect score.

That being said, the old dog should have gotten a 20.

When we analyzed the situation we realized the only dog on the board with a perfect score was owned by the head judge's grandson. Now I didn't see the dog run who was given the perfect score so I talked to other people who did. They told me there was no way the judge's grandson should have gotten a 20, on account of several mistakes made by the dog and further commented that this goes on all the time and that is why they don't like to go to this baypen.

Later we discussed the same judge, doing the same thing to my friend in Van Cleve Mississippi earlier this year. Then he remembered the same judge being over-rided by Bruce Hall at a Boarbusters event in Ville Platte, La. about 12 years ago. It seems the judge gave my friend a less than perfect score, for a dog that should have been in first place. The best part about that baying run by Bruce Hall was that in spite of the judge's giving him 3rd place, at the end, Bruce stepped up and awarded my friend first place, because he knew he deserved it.

As we further analyzed the events of this past weekend we discussed some changes that need to take place for us to attend this facility again.

It seems the management of the baypen was in the back of the baying loading hogs in the chutes. An important job no doubt. But we believe he needs to be in the baypen when the events are running to monitor dogs, owners and judging. We agreed it was not his fault, if he couldn't see what was going on.

Another thing regarding the judging, is that from the platform the judges are on, there is no way they can see the dog's eyes to determine if he looks out. The judges platform is near the entrance gate to the pen and most hogs move to the far side of the pen away from the judges platform. In that scenario, the judge is looking at the dogs tail most of the time not the face. The solution to this problem is either another platform over the chutes or a judge from the side lines.

Another thing was the dogs kept sniffing the ground where a female dog had urinated. That spot needs to be treated with gasoline and then the ground turned over and sprayed with gasoline again to prevent dogs from being distracted by the scent of urine.

Now bear in mind, we had fun and we want to go again. I have many fond memories at this baypen with my daughter(now 16 yrs old) and she wants to come with daddy again.

Also my friends son was there and he wants to compete again, but unless we can convince the management that we are serious about doing this right we will not support his business. I have talked to several people who advised me that they don't go there because of crooked practices in the past. We tell them it has new management and still they are cautious. I don't blame them after our experiences this past weekend.

1 comment:

Hog hunter said...

Been to 1 baying plan to go to more in the future that does sound shady .