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Big catch for the Springs 

Ranger Rich

When I heard the big news about Bass Pro Shops building a mega-store and sportsman's center in our village, well, I reacted the same way most of you did in this time of economic struggle, deep-seated employment and lingering corporate uncertainty in the area of capital resource investment.

That's right, I ran outside and shot a duck.

Calling itself America's most popular outdoor store, Bass Pro Shops currently has 58 centers in the United States and Canada. (Canadian stores enhance the experience with a popular promotion in which shoppers can win valuable prizes by playing Pin the Tail On the Live Wolverine.)

The outdoor giant says it expects 112 million customers this year. However, because most of them wear camouflage clothing, it's possible to spend a day at Bass Pro Shops without actually seeing anyone else. ("Honey, I think that elm tree just farted.")

From our esteemed mayor, Steve Bach: "We look forward to welcoming Bass Pro Shops to our community and thank them for employing our citizens."

The news conference was then interrupted when a Canadian man rushed the podium and pinned a tail on the mayor's wolverine-colored hair.

Bass Pro Shops will be located on the north end of town, not far from our pals at Focus on the Family — ardent outdoors people who enjoy hunting for new reasons to hate gay people and fishing for more dopes to send them money. Groundbreaking is set for April with a scheduled opening in 2013, about the time Mitt Romney is expected to announce his 2016 presidential bid.

The Springs' store will also feature Uncle Buck's Fishbowl and Grill, a 15,000-square-foot eatery and entertainment center. The menu will feature the usual fare, including sandwiches, burgers, salads, squirrel, raccoon, chipmunk-on-a-stick and fresh elk that's field-dressed right at your table.

The fishbowl is — and I'm not kidding — an actual underwater-themed bowling alley, giving customers the feel, according to Bass Pro Shops, of bowling "in the ocean." (Recently, at a Bass Pro Shops store in Georgia, former presidential candidate and avid bowler Herman Cain was asked to leave after asking several startled women if they wanted to see his swordfish.)

Anyway, with the grand opening a long way off, come along online for a look inside Bass Pro Shops and its seemingly endless array of guns and fishing rods and reels, tents and sleeping bags and ammo, too, not to mention binoculars and dog training aids and duck decoys.

And tens of thousands of fishing lures. Including some two dozen different models of artificial frogs used for bass and pike fishing, such as Strike King's "King Rat," which is actually a mouse and, well, has at least one detractor. From online commenter "jlbassison" on the Bass Pro Shops website: "I do not know if it was a difective mouse ... but after one trip the nose of the mouse blew apart, leaving the mouse dangling and in no way of use anymore."

Having an ineffective, dangling or difective mouse is nothing to joke about.

Trust me.

Then, there's the camouflage. Clothes, of course, including pants and jackets covered with artificial leaves that enable you to stalk game or wait for ducks — or surprise the neighborhood kids on Halloween when you scream and burst from a pile of real leaves in your yard, assuring yourself a lot of free candy and, as a bonus, a couple free pillowcases and maybe a small shoe.

Camo, though, is not just for traditional uses anymore. Here are a few other actual Bass Pro Shops items:

• Bass Pro Shops camo diaper cover, for infant boys or girls. From the catalog: "This cool camo cover makes a great baby shower gift!" (Imagine the joy on little Billy's face, sitting there in his camo diaper cover as you bolt his very first gun rack to the back of his tricycle.)

• Two-piece camo lingerie set with tie-in-front chemise and matching panties. Because if there's one thing a woman loves, it's being dressed up as a naughty pasture.

• Camo office chair. "You'll be amazed," the catalog says, "how quickly the time passes when you're sitting in The CEO Camo Office Chair." There is, of course, one other thing that will pass by quickly if you have this chair: your career.

Although that's still better than having a dangling and difective mouse.

rangerrich@csindy.com

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