Martha's Vineyard Rod & Gun Club
Captain David Bitters' Column

Reprinted from "Shots and Casts"


It's nice to be detached from the world now and then, and I think that's what a whole lot of hunting and fishing is all about. It's a chance to jump off the highway of life and take the country way home.

Country ways can lead to a lot of magical places. Sometimes it's just breathing fresh air and lying on the bank watching a trout rise. Other times, it's the last seconds of silence in a duck blind, as the black ducks cup their wings and turn into the blocks. Or maybe it's the rush of seeing the ghost buck appear and disappear in the mist, or nearly jumping out of your skin as a grouse thunders out of the thicket you just walked past...

When the world seems to be flying by, falling down or building up all around you, its time to jump off the highway of life and take the back roads for a while. Take a good look at where all the other people are rushing off. You may wonder that where they are going is not going to bring them the happiness they think they will find. Money, power, and fame, those great robbers of joy, have a way of taking away the simple pleasures from a man. Feel free to disagree with me, everyone else does.

I have a wall framed with some of my pictures of my hunting and fishing trips. Eiders on the bay, grouse and woodcock in Maine, deer in Vermont, turkey in the Berkshires, pheasants, largemouth, stripers, snowshoe… but one photo stands out from them all. It's a photo of me and dad, a beat up old 12 gauge, and a beagle-pheasant dog. We are standing on the front lawn overgrown with weeds, and all five years of me is holding a big cock pheasant. Dad and I are both grinning.

This year, Dad turns ninety and he is the last one left from his graduating class. Dad always took the country way home. And on that day of my very first hunt, he showed me some of the magic and pointed the way.

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