Sunday, 01 November 2009 00:00

Autumn Sounds

There are many sounds that I dislike in this world, one of them being the noisy dishwasher in my kitchen. My wife raising her voice, especially if my name is involved, is another. A blaring radio or television is not a very nice sound. You can add screeching brakes, a noisy muffler, air traffic, and jackhammers to that list, among other things.

Sounds that I DO enjoy, and this may surprise you, include chainsaws!  Chainsaws are man’s work and he is creating something to be used later in a quieter way. A fire in the fire place for instance, to help contemplate some of life’s most difficult decisions. A chainsaw also gets you outside to enjoy the fresh, clean air and there are few sweeter smells in this life than fresh cut wood – especially if it’s fir, apple, or cedar! Then again, a pretty, young lady (my wife) handling an 18-inch blade, pausing to wipe her brow while sending a lovely smile my way is a pleasant thought... But I digress.

I also like the sounds of guns in autumn. Especially while sitting on a deer stand. Hearing a rifle crack in the valleys and mountains in the distance builds an excitement in the hunter’s heart like no other. I always offer up a “Praise God” when I hear a rifle crack, knowing that somewhere, some place, a lucky deer hunter has just filled his freezer with the finest, tastiest meat on earth. I’d like to sit around that hunter’s fire some evening and listen to the story of how he got his buck.

I’d give an awful lot, and do, to hear the call of the quail again in the cool of the evening air. “Bob-white…Bob-white…” Last fall I stocked fifty quail on my property just to hear their tranquilizing song. It worked for a while, but now I hear none and see the tracks of the fox and coyote. The “BOOM” of my shotgun would be a pleasant sound when I see the makers of those tracks. Will I stock again in the spring? Yes. Two-hundred this time… History proves Yankees don’t give up that easily, especially in love and war.

I wish I could bring back the call of the whip-poor-will that serenaded me to sleep each night in the summers of my youth in Duxbury. Sometimes several would be calling all at once. What a beautiful sound! The Lord God knows I miss them. Where they have gone, I do not know. The housing development on top of the cow pasture and the filling in of the little brook may have something to do with it…

One of the sweetest sounds in this life is my children giggling. They are a happy and contented lot, very smart and talented, if you don’t mind me saying. The sounds of quail and whippoorwill, and rifle shots in the mountains, and geese honking at dawn are all very, very close to my heart. But when I’m old and gray, and close my eyes, the one sound that I will remember and carry with me into Heaven, will be the laughing and giggling of my children.

Capt. David Bitters is a writer/photographer and a striped bass/sea duck hunting guide from Massachusetts. His photos and essays have appeared in over one-hundred magazines. Capt. Bitters is currently finishing his first book, A Sportsman's Fireside Reader - Tales of Hunting, Fishing, and Other Outdoor Pleasures. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (781) 934-2838. You can also write him at P.O. Box 366 Duxbury, MA 0233.

Published in Captain David Bitters
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Sunday, 01 November 2009 00:00

Combat to Clays: A Woman’s Journey

When I left theFBIAcademyafter sixteen weeks of training in 1986, I was covered in the most beautiful shades of purple, green, and yellow from my face to my collarbone, and down my bicep. The shotgun was too long, and my long neck and high cheekbones made it impossible to mount the gun properly to my shoulder while maintaining a proper sight picture (which is critical to defensive shotgun shooting). I lifted my face off the gun while shooting creating a horrible flinch, and all of the bad habits that ensue when shooting an ill-fitted gun followed suit. I was convinced that no one had ever hated a shotgun like I did in my bruised and frustrated condition.

Published in Heide Kaser