HEROES BRING IN THE BIG ONES — Vietnam combat purple-heart veterans Noel Pitre (left) and Rich Roma participated in the Castaway Charters’ Fishing With Heroes program and brought in a pair of Lake Erie walleye.
MICHIGAN —Last Monday, my day job took me on a five-hour drive to Michigan, only a few minutes away from a store that is advertised as “a shopping experience for your wild side,” the Cabela’s® Superstore in Dundee, Mich.
The store was located just a few minutes from the hotel, but it took another five minutes to find a parking spot. The store is a giant, stand-alone store, with hundreds of parking slots, but unless you don’t mind walking 200-300 yards from your car to the front door, you might be looking for a spot for quite some time.
In the firearms center, multiple popular makes and models of shotguns, rifles and handguns are displayed behind gigantic, sliding glass wall cases and inside glass countertops, covering about 250 linear feet. Many folks were looking to acquire a self-defense firearm. Others were looking for a new hunting firearm, a rifle or shotgun.
Like a meat deli, customers take a number, to get served at Cabela’s firearms counter.
About a 45-minute wait later, I was able to ask my questions, about 22-caliber ammo. “Any in stock?” I asked. The young salesman was smiling when he said, “Are you kidding? When it comes in, it goes right over there, on that shelf, on your side of the aisle, and it is gone in about 10 – 20 minutes. It comes every week or so, but it goes fast.” Behind the glass cases, just about every firearm was on display and for sale, including AR-15’s in many calibers, hundreds of certified used firearms too.
In the archery center, there were more models of crossbows than compound bows, compared to only three or four models of recurve and long-bows. The store even offered cedar arrows.
The fishing department was the largest section in the store, with approximately 30 aisles of merchandise, including every little thing you might have ever thought of. Rods, reels, lines, depth finders, tackle boxes, thousands of lures, fly fishing, waders and the terminal tackle and color options list is endless. When entering the store, I promised myself to just “go looking.”
So how did I do? Two hours later, the register clerk said, “That comes to $43 and change, sir.” Now, how did that happen? Cabela’s carried all these neat little things that you cannot seem to find anywhere else, when you really need them.
So, with the recent announcement that Cabela’s was coming to a site near Walden and Union, across the street from the Galleria Mall, it is understandable that local sportsmen groups are anxious for open doors. It means none of us 104,000 licensed sportsmen in Erie County will need to drive five hours west to Cabela’s or three hours east to Bass Pro, for outdoor supplies. I found an extraordinary selection at Cabela’s and the greater Buffalo area should expect similar effective store merchandise.
The Cheektowaga store will be a bit smaller than this Dundee superstore, but at 88,000 square feet, it is not a small store, with construction scheduled to begin this fall. This will be the first Cabela’s store in New York state. By comparison, the Bass Pro store in Auburn, N.Y., is about 98,000 square feet, another new Bass Pro store planned for the Utica, N.Y. area in 2014 is estimated to be about 65,000 square feet.
Cabela’s Chief Executive Officer Tommy Millner said, “We have thousands of loyal customers, across the state, that are passionate for the outdoors and who share the Cabela’s lifestyle, plus Cheektowaga’s proximity to Canada, where we also have a loyal following, makes this the perfect location.”
The store is expected to employ up to 200 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees and the new store location will be termed “Cabela’s Crossing.” The site will be owned and managed by Benderson Development.
In addition to thousands of quality outdoor products, the new store is planning a large mountain replica, a gun library, bargain cave, boat shop, indoor archery range, deli and fudge shop. Currently, Cabela’s operates 44 retail stores, across North America. Archer numbers rising
The first nationwide archery survey recently showed that 18.9 million Americans, ages 18 and older, participated in archery and/or bowhunting in 2012. The Archery Trade Association recently released the results of the survey, which was conducted in the same manner as a Gallup poll.
“Often, the number of archers and bowhunters in the U.S. is estimated by the number of bows, arrows and other equipment sold, and hunting licenses issued, within a given year,” said Jay McAninch, ATA’s president. “The results of the survey provide an accurate assessment of where the archery industry is currently and where it has room to grow.”
The ATA has helped to fund, develop and implement programs to grow archery, for more than a decade. Membership in many archery groups, the demand for archery products and media attention for the sport have increased, in recent years. However, a lack of scientific data has made it impossible to determine true nationwide archery participation and interest. McAninch said that some of the most useful survey results pertained to archery participation, regions where the sport is popular and the bows archers use.
The ATA commissioned the national participation survey through Responsive Management, a surveying firm for outdoor activities. With emphasis on obtaining an accurate and precise sample of the population, RM called 8,335 randomly selected cell phone and residential phone numbers.Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby starts Saturday
The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey will start this Saturday and run through Aug. 25. This competition is opened to Niagara, Erie and Orleans counties and encourages family-oriented fishing fun, with a special Junior Division. Species categories for adults include salmon, smallmouth bass, walleye, carp, lake trout and brown/rainbow trout. For the kids, categories will be salmon, trout, bass, walleye, carp and panfish. All panfish catches will earn a drawing ticket, to be drawn at the awards ceremony for special prizes – one per day. The week-long entry fee will stay the same, at $20 for the adults, for the week, $10 for a one-day pass and free for the kids. There are cash prizes for each category and a $2,500 grand prize. Register online at www.fishodyssey.net.
The only Erie County weigh station is located at Tony Scime’s Variety and Tackle Store on Niagara Street.Outdoor calendar
Aug. 15: 3D Archery Shoot, West Falls Conservation Society, 15 targets, 4 p.m. – dusk, unlimited shooting, open to the public. For more information, call Mike at 655-5030.
Aug. 15: NYS Waterfowl ID Course, Hamburg Rod & Gun Club, Hickox Road, 6 p.m. – done. For more information, call 681-5690.
Aug. 17: NYS Archery Certification Course, Bison City Rod & Gun Club, 511 Ohio St., 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 627-9861 or 874-1206.
Aug. 17: NYS Hunter Safety Training, West Falls Conservation, 55 Bridge St., home-study course, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Sept. 8: 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 662-5657.
Aug. 17 – 25: Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby, $10 or $20 entry, visit www.fishodyssey.net, for more information.
Aug. 20: 3D Archery Shoot, Allied Sportsmen Club, 12846 Clinton St., Marilla, 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit alliedsportsmen.com.
Aug. 21: 3D Archery Shoot, Evans Rod & Gun, Cain Road, 4 p.m. till dusk. For more information, call 549-0333.
Aug. 21: 3D Archery Shoot, East Aurora Fish & Game, 1016 Luther Road, East Aurora, 5 p.m. – dusk, unlimited shooting, target bunks, open to the public. For more information, call 982-7069.
Send outdoor information to Forrest Fisher Column 10 days in advance, via email to email@example.com.