NICE CATCH — Lake Erie walleye near Barcelona Harbor were biting for Vietnam combat purple-heart veterans, Noel Pitre (left) and Rich Roma, who were special all-expense paid guests of Castaway Charters “Fishing With Heroes” program.
Last Monday, my day job took me about five hours west 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.
Of course, you wouldn’t ask someone who just crossed the Sahara desert to not drink any water, right? I simply had to visit this store. I felt magnetically attracted to the location, after the hotel clerk had just talked to me about it.
The store is not in a mall. It is a giant, standalone location with hundreds of parking spots. Unless you don’t mind walking 200 – 300 yards to the front door, you might be looking for a parking spot for quite some time. After I stepped through the giant front doors of this magnanimous 220,000 square foot megaplex, I realized that those vehicles were not for employees. There were plenty of customers.
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 approximately 250 linear feet. Judging from the conversations I heard around me, many individuals were looking to acquire a self-defense firearm and others were looking for a new hunting rifle or shotgun.
We have the opportunity to view various cold cuts at our food delis. Similarly, you have to take a number at Cabela’s firearms counter. It felt a lot like the Broadway Market the day before Easter.
Eventually, I was waited on and could ask all of my questions. I checked on 22-caliber ammunition and the young salesman told me that, as soon as the bullets arrive, they go on the shelf and are gone within 10 – 20 minutes. Just about every firearm I could think of was displayed for sale behind the glass cases, including AR-15s in many caliber and hundreds of certified used firearms.
More models of crossbows than compound bows were located in the archery center. There were only hree 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. Rods, reels, lines, depth finders, tackle boxes, thousands of lures, fly fishing, waders and the terminal tackle and color options list was endless. When I entered the store, I promised that I would just look. Two hours later, I was in line with $40-plus in purchases.
Cabela’s carries all these neat little things that you cannot find anywhere else, including specialty sinkers, hot new spinner blades for making your own lures and split rings for changing the treble hooks on your lures. I even found a bright red hat for my newest little 1-year-old grandson. The cap sported a downward-curved heading above a brightly-colored smiling fish. It read, “I’d rather be fishing with Grandpa!”
With the recent announcement that Cabela’s is coming to a local site located near Walden and Union across the street from the Galleria Mall, it is understandable that local sportsmen groups are anxious for open doors. None of the 104,000 licensed Erie County sportsmen 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 Dundee store and the greater Buffalo area can expect a similarly effective store merchandise.
The Cheektowaga store will be a bit smaller than the Dundee super-store, but at 88,000 square feet it is not small. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall, with opening in the fall of 2014. By comparison, the Bass Pro store in Auburn is reported to be 98,000 square feet and another new Bass Pro store planned for the Utica area in 2014 is estimated to be approximately 65,000 square feet.
The store will employ up to 200 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees and the new store location will be termed “Cabela’s Crossing.”
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.Niagara Fish Odyssey
The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey will begin on Saturday, Aug. 17 and runs through Aug. 25. This competition is opened to three counties (Niagara, Erie and Orleans) 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 (combined). For the kids, categories will be salmon, trout, bass, walleye, carp and panfish. There are cash prizes for each category and a grand prize. Register online at www.fishodyssey.net..Outdoor calendar:
– Aug. 15: 3D archery shoot, West Falls Conservation Society, 15 targets. Begins at 4 p.m. with unlimited shooting. For more information, call Mike at 655-5030.
– Aug. 15: NYS waterfowl ID course, Hamburg Rod and Gun Club, Hickox Road, 6 p.m. For more information, call 681-5690.
– Aug. 17: NYS archery certification course, Bison City Rod and 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 Club, 55 Bridge St., home-study course, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8: 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 662-5657.
– Aug. 20: 3D archery shoot, Allied Sportsmen Club, 12846 Clinton St., Marilla, 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.alliedsportsmen.com.
– Aug. 21: 3D archery shoot, Evans Rod and Gun Club, Cain Road. Will begin at 4 p.m. For more information, call 549-0333.
– Aug. 21: 3D archery shoot, East Aurora Fish and Game, 1016 Luther Road, East Aurora. Will begin at 5 p.m. with unlimited shooting and target bunks. For more information, call 982-7069.Email outdoors news to Forrest Fisher, 10 days in advance, at email@example.com.