Last month I told you about a new project that I was starting...producing a DVD of my favorite "clips" from our "Hank" and "Dash" shows to offer to their fans as a final tribute to "my boys". As I write this newsletter, I am in the final stages of that selection process. My friend and Director Bob Corley and I will be meeting early this month to lay the groundwork for getting back into the studio and recording those scenes that I thought you'd enjoy seeing again. By the way, I have also reviewed all of our "never, ever spoil your birddog" scenes and selected my favorites from those as well.
The dictionary describes catharsis as a "...purging of emotions". I have to confess that this process of selecting scenes to share with their fans, has been extremely emotional for me. My emotions have run the gamut from laughter to tears as I've watched those two great birddogs race across this country finding birds for me and our viewers. From our very first show with Hank in Alaska to our last show with Dash in the Ruby Mountains, looking for Himilayan Snowcock, each episode was an adventure. And whether it was the searing heat of the desert in Mexico, or the bitter cold of a snowy day in Utah, Hank and Dash always performed at a level that made Bob and me proud to be a part of something special. If you are a fan of those two, you may already know this, but let me mention it again, please: Hank and Dash are the only two television birddogs in the National Birddog Hall of Fame in Grand Junction, Tennessee...a tribute that Bob and I are extremely proud of.
I am aiming for an early fall availability of the DVD (just in time for bird season), so make sure you contact me or Bob to get your name on the list for your copy.
In last months newsletter, I told you about the article I had written for the Upland Almanac Magazine entitled "My Boys". It was a short article about my years with my Llewellin Setters Hank and Dash, and all of the upland bird hunting adventures we had while producing their television shows, "Hunting with Hank" and "Dash in the Uplands".
That article, and the wonderful response to it, has inspired me to move forward with an idea I've had brewing in the back of my mind for some time now. With the help of my friend and Director, Bob Corley, I'm going to compile a DVD of my favorite scenes from those shows that Bob and I produced with those two Hall of Fame birddogs. As I write this, I am in the process of reviewing each of those shows, and selecting scenes that I believe encapsulated the essence of our philosophy: There's so much more to bird hunting, than the birds!
Scenes that I'll be selecting, will of course, include each of my boys Hank and Dash doing what they were born to do...hunt birds. But, in addition, there will be scenes that have little or nothing to do with bird hunting, but instead will remind viewers of the overall, lighthearted approach Bob and I took in presenting our shows. You will meet again members of my family and friends that viewers across the country came to know: my wife Karenanne... my son Glenn... my father Frank... my mother Kay...my cousin Gary...my father in law Don...my brother in law, Donnie...Flip Pallot, Ben O. Williams, Steve Smith and others.
Finally, I will also be selecting my favorite "Never, ever spoil your birddog" scenes that became such an integral part of our shows. Those scenes were always done with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, as Bob and I reminded viewers that it was "ok" to love your birddog and treat it as a part of the family. Over the years of attending many, many sportsman shows across the country with both or either of my boys, I must have heard that phrase from fans thousands of times as they approached the booth where they could get a chance to pet either Hank or Dash.
So, "stay tuned" as we say in television...I'll be working on this new DVD between now and when I talk to you again in July, so I'll have an update for you then...in the meantime, have a great early summer...my best, as always...dez
May 2014 Newsletter
First, I want to let you know that in the summer issue (out now) of The Upland Almanac, is an article I wrote called, "My Boys". It's a summary of the years I spent hunting upland birds behind my two Hall of Fame bird dogs, Hank and Dash. With the success of my two books, "Hunting Wiith Hank, side by side in the uplands", and "Dash In the Uplands, legacy of a legend" (my first audio book), it was a natural progression to write about both of them in this article.
The article also includes one of my all time favorite photos. It was taken just before my friend and Director, Bob Corley and I began Dash's series after I had retired Hank from television. It was shot in the studio of professional photographer, Michael Ramos, right here in Portland, Oregon where I reside.
Michael, loved meeting both my "boys", and the photo session went remarkably well. I arrived at the studio with both Hank and Dash on a leash, but once we got settled, I just let them roam around while Michael set up his equipment and camera. When I look at that photo now, I remember how easy the whole thing was. When Michael was ready, I called Hank and Dash over to the spot where we needed to be. With Hank on my left, sitting...and Dash on my right, laying down, dozens of photos were shot within a matter of minutes.
As the veteran, Hank was used to having his picture taken. At all of the personal appearances he and I had done over the years of his series, he was comfortable with flash bulbs going off in his face. This was just another day for him. What surprised me was just how comfortable Dash was. He just laid at my side, and when Michael called his and his dad's names to get their attention, he just looked straight ahead as if he knew exactly what was happening. Although Dash was only 8 months old at the time, I knew the transition to "Dash in the Uplands" was going to be smooth.
Of course, I have all of Hank's and Dash's television shows here in my office, so I can watch them anytime I need a "fix". Additionally, I have hundreds of photos of them in my files. But if I had to pick just one photo to represent the time Bob and I spent with them, that is the photo. If you are not subscribing to The Upland Almanac, you can still order the summer issue, just by giving them a call. If you do, I hope you will enjoy reading about "my boys".
With summer fast approaching, I'm getting my fly fishing gear ready for my usual trips to the coastal streams for Sea Run Cutthroat Trout. Hank and Dash loved those trips. They would explore the stream side cover looking for birds...and when I brought in a trout to release they wanted to smell it and watch it disappear in the stream when I let it go. This summer, I'll be taking those trips alone...it won't be the same!
talk to you again next month...dez
April 2014 Newsletter
Now that spring has sprung here in the Northwest, my winter hunting has come to a close...I had a wonderful time with Bob Berens at his Waterfowl Junkies business in South Dakota...incredible numbers of Snow Geese on their spring migration back up North to their mating grounds...although I've hunted Canada Geese many times, this was the first time I've been able to hunt Snow Geese...among the birds taken was my first "Blue phase" Snow Goose...I understand from Bob Berens that the Blue phase is just that...not a separate sub-species, just a color phase of the Snow Goose...it was a lot of fun, and a lot of work for the guides. They set out hundreds of decoys...move them to different fields if necessary...set up lay out blinds for the hunters...not a job for the weak! My hats off to all of the guides.
I also had a chance for a late season Pheasant hunt at the Double P Ranch, and stayed at the lodge...excellent cover...great chef...nice accommodations.
As I write this newsletter, the television "special" that I narrated (The Road to Tinkhamtown) is in the final editing stages, and I should know in the next couple of months where and when it will air. Once I have the details, I'll get the information to all of you through this newsletter and also to the several hundred fans on my facebook page.
It looks like my wife Karenanne and I will be off to South Africa in May to do some scouting for a possible new venture into outdoor television...I'll keep you posted on that as well.
As we say in the media..."stay tuned"...as always, dez
March 2014 Newsletter
As spring approaches here in the Northwest, this is the time that I usually would begin working Dash two or three times a week, getting him in shape for the fall bird season. When Dash died on July 18th of last year, it marked the end of those great days afield with both of my "boys". Including his dad Hank, I'd been working them that way each year since 1993 when Hank first came into my life. Of course, viewers across the country didn't get acquainted with Hank until January of 1997, when our series "Hunting With Hank" first aired, on what was then The Outdoor Channel. For six seasons Hank and I traveled the country taping upland bird hunting shows, and during that time he became the most recognized and famous birddog in the country.
By the time I retired Hank from television, his son Dash was already being groomed to follow in his dad's "paw"steps. Unlike his dad (we didn't start his shows until he was 3 years old), we started Dash's shows when he was only 9 months old! I still remember my friend and Director Bob Corley and I have many discussions on whether Dash would be ready at that young age. But on our first trip to Eastern, and then Central Washington state Dash proved to me and Hank's fans that he was going to be a "chip of the old block".
It's hard to believe that I don't have Dash to work with this spring. However, I do have a trip in late March that I'm very excited about. It's a Snow Goose hunt with Bob Berens of Waterfowl Junkies. I'll be traveling to South Dakota on the 22nd for a few days of laying in a layout blind watching those birds come into decoys. If you'd like to join me, call Bob at 651-230-4935 and see if there are any spots left. After that I'll be at the Double P Ranch for a day of upland bird hunting...call Cyrus at 651-357-2764 if you can join me there.
Next month I'll have an update for you on the tv project I'm working on: The Road to Tinkham town...so stay tuned...
as always, my best...dez
February 2014 Newsletter
First let me apologize for being late with my newsletter...no excuses, but I do have something to share with you now!
The television "special" (The Road to Tinkham Town) is nearing completion at the editors...we now have a small clip to share with you. Just go to the following web address to view that clip and to look over the information in the side panel on right. It will give you information on how you can contribute to this effort if you wish. Here's the website:
I know it's long, but it will be worth it to get an idea of what I've been working on since last fall. Let me know what you think. Soon we will be looking for a home for this special presentation, and of course, you will be among the first to know.
I'll talk to you again soon...dez
December 2013 Newsletter
In November, I accepted an invitation to hunt Waterfowl in Montana, where I had done shows with both Hank and Dash. I flew into Billings and was met by Matt Disotell of The Rocking W Outfitters. After a short 30 minute drive East, we arrived at the ranch and the guest bunkhouse where I slept each night. Meals were "family style" with other guests who were there for the great deer hunting in that area for both Mule Deer and Whitetail Deer.
My timing for the trip was less than fortunate because the moon was approaching its "full" phase. Clear skies each night meant the ducks and geese were feeing through the night and loafing in open water during the day. Despite that, with Matt's knowledge of the area we were still able to collect some beautiful Mallard drakes as well as a couple of late season Pheasants through his hard work. Thanks, Matt.
Of course, Montana is known for its big game hunting, but it has a remarkably wide variety of feathered game. The upland birds available during the season include: Pheasants, Sharptail Grouse, Sage Grouse, and Hungarian Partridge in the grasslands. For even more variety you can also find Ruffed Grouse and Blue Grouse in the surrounding forests. Ducks and Geese migrate through Montana is large numbers, giving hunters an opportunity for a great mixed bag of wingshooting. Give Matt a call at: 302- 312-5884 to arrange your trip. I'll be joining Matt in January at his Eastern Shore Guide Service in Maryland for another waterfowl hunt...come join me there.
This is the first bird season in a long time that I haven't had Hank or Dash begging me to take them hunting. It is a difficult time for Karenanne and me, but we greatly appreciate all of the kind and thoughtful correspondence we've received over these last few months...it helps a lot, so thank you to all of you who have taken the time to write.
Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year...dez
November 2013 Newsletter
GREAT NEWS! my friend Bob Corley has uncovered a small stash of copies of my first book, "Hunting With Hank, side by side in the Uplands". They were found in a back room of Bonasa Press where they had been placed by the publisher. As I write this newsletter, those lost copies are being sent here to HWH Productions, where I will sign them so they will be ready for the Christmas season. So many of Hank's fans missed out on the initial printing of that sold out book, that Bob and I were really disappointed that we couldn't get it to everyone who wanted it...but, now we have a second chance to make sure more of Hank's fans get a copy. To order your book, just visit Amazon.com and search for "Hunting With Hank, side by side in the Uplands", or contact Bob here at our website, firstname.lastname@example.org, and he'll make sure you get yours in time to give as a Christmas gift to the bird hunter in your circle of family and friends.
While you're ordering your copy of Hank's book, don't forget to order your copy of my follow up audio book, "Dash in the Uplands, legacy of a legend". If you already have that audio book, or if you've given it to a friend, placing an order for Hank's book will complete the two volume set of the story of my "boys".
Update, "The Road to Tinkhamtown": Last month, I traveled to NH to video tape my part in the video production of this great short story by Corey Ford. Although my role was as the "story teller", I also accompanied the entire crew on various locations around NH as we filmed the story. It was a real privilege for me to be selected to read this story to viewers, and an additional honor to be able to read it in Corey Ford's home while sitting in one of his favorite chairs. I don't have any news yet on where and when this "special" will air, but we are targeting the first half of next year. Of course, as things progress, I will keep all of you informed.
Finally, Karenanne and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving holiday. Even though this has been a particularly rough year so far (losing my mom and Dash), we are so thankful for the friends and family around us, and for the privilege of being able to bring you the adventures of Hank and Dash on television. If you miss seeing them, you can order copies of all their shows from Amazon!
I hope you are having a great bird season...and give your bird dog a pet from me...dez
October 2013 Newsletter
The Road to Tinkhamtown:
Although probably best remembered as the monthly columnist of "The lower forty hunting, shooting and inside straight club" which he wrote for Field and Stream during the 1950's and 60's, Corey Ford also wrote one of the most endearing outdoor stories ever put to pen.
"The Road to Tinkhamtown" tells the poignant story of a man (Frank) who is nearing the end of his life and he is drifting in and out of reality as he deals with pain and the loss of his beloved Setter, Cider. This incredible short story has touched the lives of thousands of outdoorsmen and women since the story was written in 1964.
For the first time, this story will be told in video form. This month, I will be in New England (where the story takes place), and will be narrating this story on camera for airing on television in 2014. If you have not read this short story, please take the time read it...you won't be disappointed. Of course, I will keep you informed as to the status of this project as it moves forward.
This is going to be the first bird season since 1993 that I haven't had either Hank or Dash out in front of me as we chased upland birds together in this great land. Most of those upland hunts, (beginning in 1996 and all currently available at Amazon.com.) were videotaped and shown to viewers across America. My friend and Director, Bob Corley and I taped 135 television shows together before I retired Dash after the 2007 season. When Hank died, I had Dash to continue Hank's legacy on camera, so although it crushed me when I lost Hank, at least I had his "boy". Now that Dash is gone, I find that I don't have the passion I once had. I mention this because in the story of "The Road to Tinkhamtown", there's a line that says, about Frank: "After Cider died, he never got another dog".
I have had many generous offers fromLlewellin breeders (with Hank and/or Dash lineage) to give me a new pup. Maybe it's just too soon, but I just can't do it. Since you are reading this, you probably are a bird hunter and dog owner...you know exactly how I feel.
Wish me luck on this video project... I haven't been in front of a camera in a while...hope I can still "smile on cue"...my best, dez
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