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"The Owens River of California runs through a broad colorful valley bounded by high mountains and inhabited by a unique people who subsist on trout and trout fishermen in spring and summer and on game and game hunters during the fall and winter.
It is a picturesque valley, and the tumbling streams, the blue lakes, the lush meadows and parks of the adjoining High Sierra are a vast playground for the fisherman, the camper and the hunter. When the valley folk gather in town on a Saturday night, the talk quite naturally is all about trout-fly patterns and shotgun bores. The only drawback to such a congenial atmosphere is that a person must guard his tongue. Everyone with whom he talks is a potential competitor for the game and fish in the area, so a fellow doesn't brag openly about his discovery of a mountain-meadow pond swarming with trout, or speak too specifically about the hole in the gorge where he turned over a big lunker. Such secrets are taken seriously by the Owens River Valley inhabitants.
Eddie, however, was one valley inhabitant who didn't follow this rule. He knew so many good trout holes that he could afford to be generous. I was one of the fortunates he took to his favorite places, and we had some mighty fine fishing during July and August.
But by the last day of August I was worried. The local dove season opened at noon on September 1. I had a new shotgun and big ideas about how to use it, but as yet I hadn't been able to locate any doves. And Eddie wasn't talking. Maybe he hadn't done as much dove shooting as trout fishing. At any rate, if he knew where they were he was keeping it quiet. That afternoon I ran him down in a local sporting goods store where, as usual, he and Dave, the proprietor, were talking about fishing. Dave, I knew, was as interested in locating some birds as I was, and since we had Eddie cornered I figured there was no time to lose.
"There don't seem to be many doves around here," I commented.
"Doves?" asked Eddie, as though the word were new to him. He was thoughtful a moment, then asked, "have you done much dove shooting?"
"I've shot a few in the South," I admitted, "but I've never tried it out here. I suppose the birds act the same."
"How do you hunt them during the middle of the day back there?"
"You don't," I answered. "Smart dove hunters prefer pass shooting in the morning and evening and knock off during the midday hours. When a dove is pecking around in a field or just sitting in the open sunning himself, he's not of much use. It's no sport to jump him. You have to let him come to you under a full head of steam."
"And supposing you don't have any choice, like tomorrow when the season opens at noon?" Eddie went on.