"WHAT IS IT THAT CONFERS THE NOBLEST DELIGHT? What is that which swells a man's breast with great pride above which any other experience can bring him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding in the human eye has not been seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere. To give birth to an idea, to a discovery of great thought-an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain-plough had gone over before. To find a new planet, to invent a new hinge, to find a way to make the lightnings carry your messages. To be the first-that is the idea...." There are books so alive that you're always afraid that while you weren't reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river; while you went on living, it went on living too, and like a river moved on and moved away. No one has stepped twice into the same river. But did anyone ever step twice into the same book?

The Innocents Abroad (1869)

About our Name...
The king of upland game birds, the ruffed grouse, wears the scientific name Bonasa umbellus.
     Bonasa means "like a bison," and refers to the bird's drumming mating call sounding like a thundering herd of buffalo. Umbellus describes the umbrella-like Elizabethan ruff of black feathers around the bird's neck....

Side by Side in the Uplands

Dez Young • Chris Smith Illustrations

From the Introduction


How did you come up with the idea for ‘Hunting with Hank’?” has been a question asked repeatedly of  me over the last several years. My answer has been simple, really: I got lucky.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” wrote Roman dramatist and philosopher Seneca. Hank’s and my life together, in front of television cameras, was certainly a great deal of preparation and opportunity—as well as an enormous amount of luck. And this is what I’d like to share with you in the following pages.

My wife, Karenanne Swift is a believer in fate. And perhaps it was fate that brought Hank into my life and onto television screens across America.

From childhood I was in love with the outdoors. As an adult, following a number of career paths, I had never lost my enthusiasm for bird hunting and fly fishing, even though my times afield were limited. My performing career and my educational choices kept me in front of audiences (live and television) for most of my adult life.

I went through many career changes, on a path that didn’t seem connected—then: I began as a singer in the folk music era, first with a trio and then on my own. I sang in USO shows while spending time with Uncle Sam, and performed six nights a week at a tourist spot in Colorado. I entered television in a small market, also in Colorado, where I first learned about directing, editing and being on camera. Later, I produced and hosted a five-day-a-week television program while getting my college degree. I also started my own marketing agency, developing a “presentation skills” program and teaching it to corporate executives.

By the time Hank arrived, I thought I’d put television behind me, to move into the business world. I vowed never to return to television, unless I could do a show the way I wanted to do it, not the way a network affiliate insisted it be done. Then, as if to challenge me to “put up or shut up,” Hank showed up, and suddenly, I came to the realization that my seemingly disjointed career had been preparing me for the journey Hank and I were about to embark on.

I’m aware that even though you are reading this book because you were probably a fan of Hank’s, I’d also guess you probably don’t remember all 67 episodes of his series. So, I’ve selected the following stories to share with you, from each season and each show of the television series. The stories I’ve chosen are from hundreds I could relate. I have many favorite stories of family and friends joining Hank and me to chase birds across this great country, but to make this book an easy read, I’ve chosen those most vivid in my mind’s eye.

Reading our adventures, I hope you come away with a better understanding of how the television series came to be, and how much fun Hank and I had during our six seasons on The Outdoor Life Network.


Dez Young

Portland, Oregon


Table of Contents






Chapter 1

A Dog Changed My Life…


Chapter 2

Our First Season of Shows:

Old Stories, New Beginnings


Chapter 3

Float planes, Spruce Grouse &

“Never, ever spoil your bird dog”


Chapter 4

Swimming With The Salmon,

Hunting With Two Giants


Chapter 5

Dad, Mom And A Sporting Clays Contest


Chapter 6

Hank’s Portrait, A Western Stand-Off



Chapter 7

Season Four: Roy Rogers & Gene Autry,

A Reunion & A Homecoming



Chapter 8

The Diving Falcon, A Swimming

Pheasant & An Artist


Chapter 9

Prairie Chickens, Roosters,

Quail & A Final Fade-out…




Outfitters, Guides & Lodges..