Hunting with Hank

"HUNTING WITH HANK. Side by Side in the Uplands" This book chronicles the six-season adventures Dez Young shared with his Llewellin setter, Hank, during the taping of 67 television episodes of "Hunting with Hank" for the Outdoor Life Network. A celebration of Hank, it offers readers a behind the scenes look at what went into the show and Dez's life with Hank.

Dashm Dez, Hank
Dash, Dez, Hank

It gives each reader great insight into Dez thoughts and intentions behind the formation of this wonderful adventure. We, as viewers have all been blessed to share wonderful vistas with he and Hank for almost a full decade. Country that is commonplace to me is fascinating to others as well as your countryside is to me. His new adventures with Dash and friends promise us much more to come. Both Hank and Dash have taught Dez a lot over the years. I think it is great the way Dez incorporates safety, sportsmanship and every day bird hunting tips and information in such a down to earth manner. Dez has always impressed me with his friendliness and his ability to never make a person feel inferior. Dez truly exemplifies the meaning of the gentleman. The shows and book also illustrate the totally natural bird finding abilities of Hank. It also illustrates how Hank retained the knowledge gained from each experience in the field such as learning to circle and cut off the birds between himself and Dez. Things like this cannot be taught but is a part of the Llewellins inborn ability. In the book, "HUNTING WITH HANK" Dez states, "I had stated many times on our shows, and in personal appearances, that I was not a professional trainer. Nevertheless, people were attributing qualities in Hank's performance that I knew would be argued by the real "pros" among dog trainers. For instance, I never trained Hank to hold steady to wing and shot. Most professional trainers of pointing dogs want that extra quality in a "finished" bird dog. But in the West, where I grew up hunting, I knew that wounded pheasants, chukars and other upland birds would run the instant they touched ground. I wanted Hank moving as soon as birds flushed just in case he had to run down a wing-tipped bird. I never trained Hank to hold his point regardless of whether a bird moved on him. Instead, I greatly appreciated how he could reposition himself by my command (or on his own), when birds moved away from his point. Although that skill of his had given me many opportunities on birds that would otherwise have escaped, it was frowned upon by most professional trainers. I never trained Hank to finish a retrieve by coming to my side and sitting down to present me with the bird. I felt that was mostly for show. I just wanted the bird brought to hand, which Hank proudly did for his entire hunting life.

Alfred O. King
Alfred O. King, Dez Young, Hank, 2000 Enola, Arkansas "Hank's Homecoming"

I did train Hank well enough to perform well enough to make every trip into the field an enjoyable one. As a consequence, I never once said anything about Hank's performance on camera that would indicate I felt he was as good as or better than any field trial champion that ever pointed a bird. But on show No. 6 of the fifth season, I said, "Hank certainly isn't the best bird dog in the world, but he's the best birddog in my world." When that show aired months later, I began hearing from viewers who felt the same way about their bird dogs. Apparently, those works had struck a chord that reverberated through the heartstrings of proud bird dog owners everywhere. I've heard that phrase parroted back to me many, many times over the last several years, and I always enjoy seeing the pride people have in their own dogs." That last sentence illustrates completely the ability Dez has to make each individual feel as important as his own 'celebrity' status. The point is that Dez IS as nice as he 'appears' to be, he does not have to 'put on his show persona'. He treats the farmer and the banker with the same friendly attitude ... the third generation foot hunting bird hunter & his pickup truck gains the same respect as the southern plantation owner or Texas oil man with both the space and the sophisticated equipment that is commonplace to them. I think the great success of the show has always been that it centers around the dog and his ability and does not rely on a big name celebrity in order to entice viewers to watch. Hanks fans include the entire family; men, women and children. I hear all the time things like, "My kids sing along with the songs" and "My Llewellin comes on the run when he hears the first bars of the opening song and is impatient for the commercials to be over with." How many times have we heard Dez say, "This book works to capture a deeply-held philosophy: Long before the beginning of this century, and right up through the great outdoor authors of our time, hunting the uplands was always written about with great passion. The stories weren't about the number of birds taken. They were about good companions, beautiful scenery and, of course, great bird dogs. "Hunting with Hank" strives to follow that tradition." Lavishly illustrated with photographs and art, the book will be available in both limited and trade editions. Respectfully submitted, Alfred O. King, Sr. HWH Productions - Dez Young -