The only reason that his chapter is included is that the statute of limitations has run out. As a result, these violations of the hunting laws of Texas will not result in prison time. Shotgun shells were expensive. They cost a nickel apiece. Herb saved up fifteen cents and bought three shells from his brother Jimmy and asked to borrow Jimmy’s shotgun. At this point, Herb was already proficient with a 22-rifle. Jim loaned Herb his 20-gauge, single shot shotgun and gave Herb instructions. “Go to a maize field. The doves will be hanging on to the maize heads and eating them. Line up as many dove as you can, carefully aim, and shoot. If you cannot get at least five dove, you are wasting ammunition.” He also stated that the farmers did not like the dove eating the maize, so Herb would be doing them a favor. Jimmy said nothing about the damage the shot did to the maize.
Herb came home with fourteen dove. When he showed them to Jimmy, the first thing Jimmy said was, “You wasted a shot.” The second thing he said was, “The limit is ten dove, and the game warden will put you in jail if he catches you.” Obviously Herb had failed, since he had wastefully broken the game laws.
Herb learned to take his time in lining up shots so he did not waste an expensive shell.
Herb switched to using a 22-rifle to hunt doves and regularly got two doves for a bullet which cost half a cent.
So he could up shoot more doves, he regularly took his slightly older cousin, Marie, with him and taught her to hunt doves. While they had a great time, she insisted on being allowed to shoot her ten doves. This resulted in them having a great time together, but did not put any more dove on his table.
Now, over 65 years later, Herb can remember only one dove that he shot on the wing, and hundreds that were shot off the heads of maize. He also wonders whether Jimmy was pulling his leg when Jimmy told him to shoot the dove when they were on the maize heads.
For two years Herb cared for a margay. A margay is a house cat sized wild cat which is marked similar to an ocelot. The can was owned by the biology department of a college Herb was associated with. He used his hunting skills to shoot grackles and cowbirds to feed the margay. At the time, they were legal to shoot year round. Hunting cowbirds was much harder than hunting doves since the cowbirds did not hang on the maize heads like the doves did. If you want to know more about the margay, you should read the College Roommates chapter in Herb’s book Animals I Have Hated. You can get your own copy of the book from Amazon by following this link.
Could taking the time to carefully line up multiple dove before shooting be one of the reasons Herb loved geometry?