The purpose of the Hunt is to improve students' research problem solving skills, hone critical thinking skills, and provide an academic setting wherein participating students can have fun. Simply stated, the goal of the Hunt is to find information, and not to prevent other teams from finding information. Teams are expected to be competitive, to use good judgment, and to abide by generally accepted rules of sportsmanship and fair play.


The Hunt begins with the Opening Session, which starts on Friday at 3:45 p.m. at Carlmont High School and lasts about two-and-a-half hours. During this Session, the following will occur:

The Hunt Director (Director) will welcome the participants.

Participants will sing "Happy Birthday" to Millard (in French), led by last year's winner of the Hunt.

The Director and Judge will discuss any administrative issues and any changes to the Rules since the previous year.

The Director will read the Hunt questions aloud, inviting questions from the teams. Any amendments to the questions shall be recorded in writing and distributed to the teams. Once the reading of the Hunt questions has begun, and until the Director declares that the Hunt may begin, all electronic recording or communication devices are to be powered down and stowed. In addition, no persons shall be permitted to leave the room without explicit permission of the Hunt Director, and those leaving may not carry out bags or papers. Each violation may incur a penalty of up to 50 points.

Interspersed with the reading of the Hunt questions, a live trivia competition (the "Bonus Round") will be conducted. The Bonus Round consists of a series of trivia questions to which each team submits a written answer within a short defined period of time. The winner of the Bonus Round will receive a birthday cake in honor of Millard Fillmore.

After all of the questions have been read, a representative from each team will receive the team's copy of the Hunt materials and a seating assignment for the Adjudication Session (described below).

The Director will then officially declare that the Hunt shall begin, allowing the teams to commence their research.

The next important event is the Answer Submission, which is when the teams turn in their answers and their bring-in items. This occurs from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday at the location in the SamTrans office in San Carlos designated at the Opening Session. The Judge and Director will record the time at which each team submits its answers. After all teams have turned in their answers, the Director and the Judge will meet privately to review the submitted answers and award teams credit for their bring-in items.

The Hunt concludes with the Adjudication Session on Monday at Carlmont High School, beginning at a time agreed upon at the Opening Session. The Adjudication lasts approximately 4 to 5 hours. At the end of this session, official final scores and the winning team will be determined. See section 6 for details on this session.


As part of the Hunt registration process, each team will be provided with a copy of the "Code of Ethics", and a form to be signed by both the Team Captain and the Team Advisor, which affirms that they have carefully and thoroughly reviewed the Hunt Rules with all Hunt participants from their school. The signed form must be returned as part of the Hunt registration process. A team will not receive Hunt materials until a signed "Code of Ethics" has been submitted to the Director.

All alleged instances of misconduct must be reported to the Director at the time of the Answer Submission. Instances of misconduct may result in penalties by the Director and the Judge. Penalties include, but are not limited to, loss of points, disqualification on a specific question(s), or disqualification from the Hunt.

A team is prohibited from concealing, moving or damaging library materials to prevent other teams from finding the same information.

A team which makes hard copies from a library book or library periodical must return the original to its correct location in the library promptly.

Hunt participants are prohibited from checking out library materials that would prevent other teams from accessing that information.

Hunt participants are prohibited from discouraging a person who helped them in any way from cooperating with other teams.


Every effort shall be made to ensure that questions are phrased in such a way as to assist Hunt participants in knowing exactly what they are trying to find. If the intent of a question is not clear, ask for an interpretation of the question at the Opening Session. Do not wait until the Adjudication Session. If any modifications or revisions are made to the Hunt during the Opening Session, an official revised copy of the Hunt shall be electronically transmitted to each team prior to 9:00 p.m. on the day of the Opening Session.

The Judge shall have the sole authority to invalidate a question because of misspellings, typographical errors, etc. Invalidation will not be automatic, but will be at the discretion of the Judge after discussing the issue with the Director and the Hunt participants.

If a question contains elements for which partial credit may be awarded, the basis for awarding such credit is indicated on the Hunt.


Each team is required to turn in a complete original and a complete photocopy of answers to the Hunt and bring-in items to the Director at the time and place specified in Rule 2.2 above which describes "Answer Submission".

A team will not receive credit for a question if they do not provide two copies of their answers for that question in their answer packet.

Teams which turn in answers or bring-in items after the deadline shall be penalized five points per minute that their submission is late, based upon the last item turned in.

If a team's answer is the same as that provided by the Director, it will be considered correct if documented by a single acceptable source.

If a team's answer is not the same as that provided by the Director, it shall be considered unacceptable unless it is documented either by the original source or by two acceptable sources prepared by different authors or editors. If this situation occurs, the Judge shall have the authority to determine the validity of a team's documentation. If the Judge determines that a team has either an original source or two acceptable sources for an answer different from the Director's, the team shall be given credit for its answer.

A team that presents an acceptably documented answer as described in Rule 5.5 that differs from that provided by the Director may receive credit for its answer.


Answers calling for a proper name will be considered incorrect if any part of the name is misspelled, not capitalized properly, or if punctuation is omitted. Examples: the name of the 1968 movie is "Oliver!" (not "Oliver"), the name of the soft drink is "7-Up" (not "7up", "Seven Up", or "7-up").

If the question calls for the name of a person, unless otherwise indicated in the question, the answer must provide the first and last name of the person. Initials are not sufficient. (Example: Ulysses Grant (not "U.S. Grant"). When a person is widely known by a shortened version or other name besides his or her full first name, this will generally be acceptable unless the question explicitly calls for the first name. Thus, "Grover Cleveland" would be acceptable even though his first name was actually "Stephen". If, however, a question explicitly calls for specific names, then the answer should provide these. For example, if the question asks for the "Full first and last names", then the answer should be "Stephen Cleveland", and not "Stevie Cleveland" or "Grover Cleveland".

If the question calls for the name of a geographic place, unless otherwise indicated in the question, the answer must provide the name of the place (e.g., such as a town or city), the formal name of the larger political area including the place (e.g., state, province), and the name of the country in which the two preceding locations are found, if outside the United States (e.g., France). Example: "Hornitos, California".

Dates must be in the following format: "January 7, 1800" (not "1/7" or "1/7/00").

Documentation of a team's answer should reflect adequate confirmation of the facts upon which the question is premised

Headlines, ciphers and the like must include all punctuation and must be exact transcriptions, even if the original contains errors.

Typographical errors shall not be considered an acceptable argument for awarding credit for an otherwise correct answer.

Bring-in items may be obtained in any legal and ethical manner unless the question specifically prohibits a manner of obtaining it.

To reduce the chances of bring-in items being misplaced or lost, items are to be placed in envelopes that are clearly labeled to indicate the team name and the item enclosed, unless otherwise instructed.

An autograph by definition is an original signature. No credit will be given for a fax submitted as an "autograph".


One or more sources must be provided for each answer. No credit shall be awarded a team for any answer for which no sources have been indicated, except for questions that explicitly state that no documentation is required.

No source may be used to document an answer unless it is listed on an official answer sheet submitted for scoring.

No team may challenge the answer(s) provided by the Director or Judge unless its answer is supported by two acceptable sources or an original source. A team that violates this rule shall be penalized 10 points.

Book: Acceptable citation from a book must include: (a) title of book, (b) name of author, (c) name of publisher, (d) publication date, (e) publisher's location, and (f) page number of the page used to support the answer. Example: The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate, Robert A. Caro, Alfred A. Knopf, 2002, 311.

Periodical: Acceptable citation from a periodical must include: (a) the name of the author, (b) the title of the article, (c) the name of the periodical, (d) the publication date, and (e) the number of the page used to support the answer. Example: Fergus Bordewich, "Fading Glory", Smithsonian, December 2008, 58.

No printed source shall be considered acceptable unless the answer is accompanied by the actual document cited or a photocopy of the document including the title and copyright pages.

A fax will be considered as acceptable as a photocopy.

Printouts from online sources shall not be considered acceptable documentation.

A commercially prepared video or audio recording shall be treated as a printed source. The original media must accompany the answer. To qualify as a potentially acceptable source, on request of the Judge, the portion of the media supporting a proposed answer must be played within one minute of the Judge's request.

All acceptable documentation must be legible. You may need to check the settings on the copy machine to make certain copies are readable.


Each team shall bring to the Adjudication Session some form of identification sign, marker, placard, etc. to be placed at its assigned seating location. (It is imperative that the Judge, scorers, etc., be able to identify, clearly and easily, each team.) Non-compliance with this rule shall result in a 15 point penalty.

Prior to the beginning of the Adjudication Session, a representative of each team shall draw a number to determine the team's seating location. Teams will not be permitted to change their assigned seating location.

The Director will establish table locations for the Adjudication Session. Tables designated for Lawyers and Readers are not to be moved. There must be an aisle at least three feet wide between your Lawyer and other team members throughout the Adjudication Session. Note: Violation of this rule may result in your team being penalized 5 points per violation.

Lawyer: The Lawyer's job is to convince an opposing team's Reader that the Lawyer's team's answer is correct and properly documented. Each team should make certain that the Lawyers are familiar with the questions, possible problems and supporting documentation, so the Lawyers can be effective advocates for their team.

Reader: The Reader's job is to read the answers and review the supporting documentation of an opposing team. The Reader, in consultation with the Lawyer of the opposing team, determines whether that team should get credit for their answer. Readers report the score to be awarded for each question to the Judge and official scorer(s). (Note: The role of the Reader is extremely important. A careless or non-attentive Reader can have a major impact on the standings of the teams in the Hunt.)

Librarian: The Librarian shall serve as the link between a Lawyer and other members of the Lawyer's team. The Librarian may be utilized to carry messages, reference materials, etc.

Lawyers, Librarians and Readers may be changed, in between, but not during, questions, by requesting permission to do so from the Judge.

During the Opening Session, the Director, in consultation with the Hunt participants, shall set a time for the beginning of the Monday adjudication and scoring session. A team not present and ready to proceed at the agreed upon start time shall be penalized 15 points.

The Judge shall read each question, the answer or answers provided by the Director, and the number of points to be awarded for each answer or part thereof.

Readers shall check the answer and documentation for the question, and shall then inform the Lawyer of the team for which the Reader is reading of the number of points the answering team will be awarded.

If a Lawyer disagrees with the number of points to be awarded, wishes to submit another answer for consideration, challenges the answer submitted by another team, or challenges the answer provided by the Director, the Lawyer shall stand and seek recognition by the Judge.

No Lawyer shall be entitled to speak until invited to do so by the Judge. No Lawyer shall be allowed to speak more than once on a given question unless invited to do so by the Judge.

No Lawyer or Reader shall approach the bench unless invited by the Judge.

Before closing the discussion on a question, the Judge shall read all acceptable answers, indicate the number of points to be awarded for each acceptable answer, and ask for any final challenges.

After hearing any final challenges, the Judge shall repeat all acceptable answers, close the discussion on all subparts of that question, then move on to the next subpart of the question, and proceed as before for all remaining subparts of a question, then direct the Readers to announce the scores on the questions the Readers have just read.

After all subparts to a question have, or a single question has, been scored, Readers shall call out scores, which, after being repeated by the Judge, shall be posted in the front of the room in clear view of all participants. These scores will be unofficial.

Staff members at the scorers' table adjacent to the Judge's table shall keep official scores.

Bring-in items shall be scored intermittently throughout the Hunt.

Precedent established during the adjudication of a question shall be an acceptable basis of argument on subsequent questions in the same competition.

Recesses: The Judge may initiate a recess of any duration at any time the Judge deems necessary. A Lawyer may request a five-minute recess between questions.

Neither the Judge, nor the Director, nor a member of their respective families may provide a member of any team, or any person associated in any way with any team, an answer, a bring-in item, or any form of assistance in obtaining a bring-in item. No person associated with a team, except a team advisor, shall contact the Director between 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, and only for an unavoidable emergency.

In all matters that arise during the adjudication of the Hunt, the decision of the Judge shall be final.