Bass Pro Shops and Cabela merge

Bass Pro Shops
Bass Pro Shops by Ken Lund (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Flickr.

I receive a lot of inquiries about travel destinations concerning hunting and fishing opportunities. Beginning questions wrap around what, when, and of course where.

Then it’s about cost, distance, travel issues and gear.

During the last several months, the questions turned to the deal that simmered for over a year then finally boiled as an off-again-on-again deal between Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops. It looked like it would indeed happen.

The deal, as rumors had it, was that Bass Pro Shops intended to purchase the Cabela’s company, a deal that would bring these two retail giants under one ownership roof.

Cabela’s start

Keep in mind that the Cabela’s name is a family name, and the retail and catalog giant was home-grown from pure nothing, a few feather and thread fishing flies purchased and resold via mail order then delivered by a carrier’s hand to a mailbox.

But that was mid-20th Century, a time well before online shopping, avalanches of glossy catalogs, and the need for the latest, the fastest, and the “ultimate” of everything in outdoor gear.

For many, it may be hard to understand that a family driven business like that can be sold off, but it happens and here’s the proof.

The sounds of this deal had millions of outdoor enthusiasts shivering.


The Cabela’s faithful and the Bass Pro Shops faithful collectively wondered and worried aloud what might happen to their favorite products and shopping destinations if a deal would be struck.

To be sure, these two groups of gear hounds number in the millions.

What seemed like rumors proved to be more than that because a Bass Pro Shops offer to purchase was a real offer to purchase, one that didn’t disappear with a head shake and a dose of sticker shock.

Done deal

Now, it’s a done deal, with a cool $4 billion changing hands.

Quit worrying, says Bass Pro Shops bosses. Neither brand is going to disappear. Whew! In fact, there’s lots of good news for those faithful to their trusted brands starting with a promise that both brands will continue on.

Bass Pro Shops see it as an opportunity to create a “best of the best” shopping experience.

And just as importantly, and maybe more so, comes the promise to continue and even increase the impact these two brands make on conservation efforts and the protection of the outdoor heritage that we all hold so dear.

Gift cards

Another consumer-friendly twist is that Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops gift card holders can swap their cards in either direction with no loss of value.

Exchanging gift cards can be done online, at the appropriate customer service counter in either’s retail outlet, or by phone by calling either company’s customer service line.

Here’s another plus; Cabela’s purchases can be returned to customer service counters at Bass Pro Shops and vice versa or by contacting either’s customer service centers.

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s have strong, well-recognized, and trusted national proprietary brands in several categories. They will all stay in place also, say corporate news releases.

Credit cards

It sounds like credit card issues may require some fine tuning but at this time, Cabela’s Visa holders will earn 1 percent back on all purchases made at Bass Pro Shops and all locations that accept Visa just as Bass Pro Shops Mastercard holders will earn 1 percent back on all purchases made at Cabela’s and all locations that accept Mastercard.

Water levels

In other news, fans of any of the eight most popular Muskingum Watershed lakes will see water levels dropping soon, an annual draw-down that allows room for winter run-off and spring rain to accumulate and thus control downstream flooding.

Water levels in each lake will be dropped between five and eight feet and water levels will begin increasing again in February 2018.

During the winter low-water months, contractors will be busy on shoreline construction projects mainly at Charles Mill, Seneca and Tappan lakes at a cost of more than $750,000.

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District lakes are hemmed by over 300 miles of shoreline and the district covers 8,000 square miles or 20 percent of Ohio.

District officials estimate well over 5 million people use the district lands and waters for recreation such as fishing, hunting, hiking, boating and camping.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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