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It has taken Cabela's a long time to move into Montana, but now that iconic retailer of hunting and fishing goods finally has a stake in the sand down in Billings, it might be wondering if it was the right decision. Cabela's has become accustomed to being revered by hunters and anglers, but in Montana, many sportsmen and women now have the opposite attitude, disdain--and they're sending back their catalogs with promises never to spend another penny there. When opening a new store, Cabela's expects the local hunters and anglers who have lusted for years to have a store nearby to more or less knell on the doorstep, but if Cabela's doesn't stop endorsing the loss of public hunting, the corporate VIPs might see people picketing the Billings store opening with anti-Cabela's placards.

Cabela’s Desecrating its Own Brand

It has taken Cabela’s a long time to move into Montana, but now that iconic retailer of hunting and fishing goods finally has a stake in the sand down in Billings, it might be wondering if it was the right decision.

Cabela’s has become accustomed to being revered by hunters and anglers, but in Montana, many sportsmen and women now have the opposite attitude, disdain–and they’re sending back their catalogs with promises never to spend another penny there. When opening a new store, Cabela’s expects the local hunters and anglers who have lusted for years to have a store nearby to more or less knell on the doorstep, but if Cabela’s doesn’t stop endorsing the loss of public hunting, the corporate VIPs might see people picketing the Billings store opening with anti-Cabela’s placards.

Here’s the rub. Back in June 2004, Cabela’s went public and is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CAB. Such initial public offerings are always accompanied by plans on how to use all the new money for aggressive growth. And sure enough, Cabela’s launched into a major expansion, which primarily involving more and faster store openings.

No problem so far, the more and faster the better as far as I’m concerned, but a small part of that growth plan, a real estate marketing division called Cabela’s Trophy Properties might hurt Cabela’s bottom line and stock performance (already down to about half of its opening price) more than it helps. In Montana, the ruckus over the real estate division has already tarnished the best brand in the business, and it looks like it could get much worse and spread to other states.

I personally don’t want to see this happen because I’m one of those who grew up revering Cabela’s. I’d probably live in a Cabela’s store if they’d let me–at least for a few days until I had to leave to file for bankruptcy. And I bet the company’s brass and shareholders want to prevent damage to their brand even more than I do. If so, they need to act quickly and decisively instead of doing what they’re doing right now, which is seriously underestimating the potential of the problem.

The controversy erupted when Cabela’s Trophy Properties opened an office in Montana and started listing what the Montana Wildlife Federation (MWF), the state’s largest group of hunters and anglers, calls “traditional public hunting properties.” Those listings shot up a warning flare to the MWF’s 7,000 members, and the result was a strongly worded letter from executive director Craig Sharpe going to Dennis Highby, president & CEO of Cabela’s. In the letter, Sharpe warned of a “strong response” to the real estate marketing, such as mailing back or burning catalogs, unless Cabela’s addressed the group’s concerns and agreed to a meeting to discuss the issues.

A flash point in the controversy was the sale, planned subdivision and eventual closure to public hunting of two large ranches in central Montana by Cabela’s Trophy Properties. “Is this in line with Cabela’s mission?” Sharpe asked in his letter.

Following Sharpe’s letter and several others sent to Cabela’s by MWF members, two of Montana’s premier outdoor writers, Mike Babcock at the Great Falls Tribune and Mark Henckel of the Billings Gazette wrote detailed articles on the debate. Neither article painted a rosy picture of Cabela’s real estate deals and ended up turning up the heat another notch.

Then, and typical of large corporations that don’t really understand damage control, Cabela’s managed to make it worse with its responses. First, Cabela’s spokesperson David Draper implied that this was no big deal and told Montana hunters they shouldn’t fret because the properties were selling to sportsmen who are “probably going to make the land better,” a bonehead statement that Sharpe called “insulting.”

Throwing more gas on the fire was the corporate response that, in essence, tried to dodge the bullet by saying we aren’t really in the real estate business, just the real estate marketing business.

Here’s how that works. Cabela’s doesn’t actually buy and sell land. Instead, it licenses its brand to local real estate brokers and allows them to market prime hunting and fishing properties under the banner of Cabela’s Trophy Properties. The brokers pay Cabela’s for the license, probably with a license fee and a slice of the commission on property sales.

Cabela’s third response was the old “can’t we just get along” comeback, which was in the form of an invitation for the MWF board to an exclusive VIP reception at the Billings store opening and agreeing to send out a packet of information to buyers of “trophy properties” suggesting they do good things for wildlife.

Well, we all hope buyers do good things like leave land open to public hunting and file for a conservation easement preventing future subdivision and that the board members has a jolly time at the reception, but that response doesn’t address what concerns Montana hunters i.e. Cabela’s promoting the loss of public hunting. In fact, the tokenism worsened the problem.

Sorry, Cabela’s, these responses get zero traction. Licensing your name to realtors who use it to market property definitely makes you part of the real estate biz–and not just any real estate biz, but the worst kind.

I doubt anybody has a problem with Cabela’s buying 44 acres down on the edge of Billings and then selling off a chuck or two to Burger King or Day’s Inn. But using a nation’s top hunting and fishing brand to promote the sale, subdivision and closure to public access of prime hunting land is quite a different real estate deal. It is, in fact, exactly opposite of everything Cabela’s stands for, and you’d think the company would be trying to distance itself as far and as fast as possible from it.

Earth to Cabela’s. You’re using your brand to promote the loss of public hunting on private land in large sections of Montana and other sates. This could destroy your brand, and you really don’t want to do this.

Getting out of real estate can’t be that tough a decision for a company with $2 billion in sales, very little of it from real estate marketing. I perused the annual report and couldn’t even find the words “Cabela’s Trophy Properties,” let alone anything about the millions Cabela’s makes in license fees and commissions–because, of course, this is probably a microscopic part of the giant’s revenue.

It has potential, though–potential to cost Cabela’s fifty dollars in retail sales for every dollar earned in license fee income.

So, I hope President & CEO Highby sees this column, recognizes the real estate division as a major (but still correctable) mistake, and decides to get out of the real estate business faster than he can say it.

If you’d like to support me in encouraging, Cabela’s to rapidly get back on course, here’s a couple of phone numbers that might work, 308-254-5505 and 1-800-237-4444, or you can go to the customer service email page (click here) and send your comments in writing. In the meantime, until we get a better response, keep sending those catalogs back. Cabela’s definitely understands what that means.

About Bill Schneider

Comments

  1. Craig Moore says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!! Bill, I’ll return and write a detailed response. No time today. In the meantime could New West not feature the CAbelas Trophy Properties ads that appear above?

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Randy says:

    Bill,
    Time to introduce Cabela’s to the conservation easement business – with easements to allow proper public hunting where appropriate and protect residential, stock or environmentally sensitive areas where hunting may not be the best idea – into any and all of their “branded” deals, or get out altogether!!

  3. elfman says:

    Cabela’s is just being whorish. Let the professionals do the real estate deals (especially the conservation real estate deals) and stick to what you know… sell bait, tackle and guns!

  4. Tracy says:

    I grew up in that area in Central Montana, and first heard of this from the passenger next to me during my flight from Minneapolis to Billings back in September. He was heading to the area around Roy to hunt, and showed me the ad in an outdoors magazine. During the trip, I found out my best friend from high school was hired to work as a caretaker on one of those ranches.

    She thinks it’s crazy, and they’re never going to sell anything, especially since every single person who buys a 20 acre plot will have to get permission to hunt on the neighboring plot, and so on. And who’s going to tell the elk they have to stay put?

  5. Craig Moore says:

    I have a friend who used to work at Cabelas back in Nebraska. He left after the company went public and the game was to just make money. The whole company culture changed. I believe Cabelas is betting that if it promotes the landowner hunter/fisherman it will build a sustaining market of those wealthy enough to buy such land to also demand top drawer, top $$$ goods in support of that gentry lifestyle. To some extent good ‘ol boy Jeff Foxworthy is also promoting this game with his ‘pushing’ of the Tecomate brand on the Versus network. This operation also participates in the trophy property business. For all of those inclined to send catalogs back please consider not enriching the likes of Foxworthy and see how funny he finds that.

    Unfortunately, Montana is ‘for sale’ and New West is right in the middle of promoting that with its constant featuring of the Cabelas Trophy Properties advertisement. The monied individuals capable of buying these properties tend not to come from Montana roots or heritage. See: http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/content/community/inthefield/trophy_properties/indexes/use_sale/montana/mt_int_index.jsp?ctpPage=saleMontana

    and

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/content/community/inthefield/trophy_properties/home/ctp_home.jsp;jsessionid=UNQBYSM1OWTVRLAQBBKSCN3MCAEFMIWE?cm_ven=redirect&cm_cat=domain&cm_pla=d&cm_ite=cabelastrophyproperties.com&_requestid=51324

    FWP is trying to work with and educate these new ‘immigrants’ but, in my opinion, is have limited success.

    I think the solution lrests not with focusing too much on who owns these properties but on the laws that govern hunting and fishing. I would like a change in these laws to apply to lease and fee based operations as well. If there is property that is off limits to the public to hunt and fish, or off limits without a fee or required hired guide, I would like to see such activity declared CLOSED by the state for everyone on such property. Now here’s where the exception comes in. Where landowners allow for half the season for the public to hunt and fish, that landowner may limit and regulate such public access within guidelines to be determined and published by the FWP. A half of loaf would be better than nothing for everyone.

  6. elfman says:

    Most of the people who complain of loss of access would be the first to post the “no trespassing” sign on their own ranch should they find themselves with enough money to buy one.

    Also, many of these ranches that are being bought by nonresidents were NOT open to hunting before! Yes, there is an exception here and there but the great majority of them were always closed to public hunting with the exception of the owner’s family and friends.

  7. Jonathan Weber says:

    Bill, while I think the first part of Elfman’s comment is just the kind of fact-free generalization that produces nothing but worthless arguments, the second part raises an important point. There is a myth that says, ‘real Montana ranchers let people hunt,’ and I don’t think that’s exactly true. The column relies heavily on the notion that the lands being sold by Cabela’s is currently open to public hunting and will not be after it’s sold. Do you, or the MWF, know that to be true? Do you have examples?

  8. Craig Moore says:

    Elfman, I have found that a modest, respectful “ask” and a warm handshake go a long way to getting permission. Also, make friends with the owners dogs. That seems to be a gate crossed in the owners mind that a person is not all bad. The other thing I like to do is invite the owner along to watch and monitor the experience. When they see ethical, respectful hunting and fishing while making friends it tends to make the trophy the new found friendship.

  9. elfman says:

    While it may be true that the first paragraph of my comment is not based on any kind of scientific/sociological study resulting in cold, hard “facts” I do believe it to be true given my personal experience as a hunter who has hunted with many people of all different walks. Look at the prevalence of hunting leases these days! Why do people lease? So they can shut the rest of everyone out and I know MANY native Montana folk who lease large blocks of hunting ground out east. One of the incentives to shut down access is to improve the quality of hunting. Why is it that everyone wants to hunt those places that do not offer access? Simple… because of the high quality hunting. Why is the hunting so good? Because the owner severely limited the access and, in many cases, improved the habitat with restoration projects.

    Craig, I have never had much of a problem “asking” which is exactly what I do sometimes with positive results and sometimes without. I honestly believe that if I counted the number of times I have been rejected there would not be that much of a difference between the new owners and the old owners. Much like all the other problems in our world the root of it here is population. There are just too damn many people in the world and landowners are inundated with hunting requests to hunt their land.

  10. Bill Schneider says:

    Elfman and Jonathan,

    There is no way to know what somebody would do if they suddenly had enough money to buy their own ranch, but I suspect strongly that a hunter who had struggled to get access to private land his or her entire life might be inclined to allow some access to the land.

    Concerning Jonathan’s question some of the properties that caused this flare up were under the state’s block management program and were open to public hunting access and now will be subdivided into 20-acre lots with no hunting allowed. This might no be true with all of the properties, of course, but I can ask MWF to give more details next week.

    Bill

  11. elfman says:

    Another thing, I hunted a very large Western Montana ranch a number of years ago owned by an old time Montana family (which severely limited hunting throughout its history). I hunted the ranch immediately after a conservation organization took ownership of the ranch temporarily until it was later sold to a Californian. The conservation organization decided it would be in their best interests to allow public hunting. BIG MISTAKE! I was out there on opening morning only to find an army of fatass hunters too lazy to get out of their trucks while shooting. These were good ole native Montanans. People were driving anywhere and everywhere without respect to the established road system. Needless to say, the conservation organization shut down the public hunting and I applauded them for it.

  12. elfman says:

    I met a man who won the California lottery (many, many millions). Never had much for money before. He was a hunter… presumably one who struggled for access (like most). He bought a ranch near Helena and posted bright brand new “No Trespassing” signs for all the world to see. No apparent inclination to allow access. So, there is a case study for you.

  13. Craig Moore says:

    Bill, Alan Charles should have access to the statistics.

    Elfman, both of your case studies are addressed in my suggestion about how hunting and fishing laws should be changed that I posted above.

    Regarding Block Management, it is my understanding that there are more requests by landowners than there is money to fund it. So, there are many requests that are turned away. BM is largely funded by out of state license sales. Now if in state license fees were doubled, and the extra money was used for BM purposes that might help. Elfman, as you know BM providers can regulate the number of hunters and access days.

  14. Hi_Line_Native says:

    Unfortunately, this kind of thing always happens when a company goes public. I work for a Bay Area based coffee company that went public about 6 years ago. Just like Cabela’s, we were used to people kneeling down at the door when we’d open a location. Now as we grow bigger and bigger each year (you have to satisfy “The Street”) a lot of the culture is being watered down and corporatized. In another 5 years, I predict that 40 years of brand-building will be swept aside for profit.

  15. D.J. says:

    Whoa there boys-what’s the real beef here? Access to privately held land to hunt or subdividing ranch land? Seems to me to be two different issues.

    First, anyone hunting on private land should be asking permission of the owner. We have no trepassing signs up now because we got tired of the bozos who (1) decided our property was their personal ATV playground (2) the guy who decided to shortcut across our land (where there isn’t a road) to the building site he was working on. (3) the guy who took a shot at a deer about 100 feet from our house-toward the house! (That one hadn’t asked permission to hunt either.) The reaction to our No Hunting/trespassing signs? Someone ripped them all down.

    Or how about the 4th generation Montana farm family who finally stopped giving access to their river bottom land for hunting after the season where all they asked was that the hunters close gates, pick up their shell casings and not shoot at the cows. After not just one, but several rude reponses from hunters, they said heck with it and closed their property to hunting.

    Or how about the 5th generation Montanan who stopped allowing hunting after the season when hunters asking permission not only decided to disregard her “foot traffic only” and drove with pickups and ATV’s across her property but also cut fences as they went so they could drive through-letting her horses out at the same time.

    You can call these “slob hunters” (which they are) but there seems to be a new prevailing attitude of “we can do what we want wherever we want” and unless that changes, more and more private land will be closed to hunting.

  16. Helena says:

    “Mike Babcock at the Great Falls Tribune and Mark Henckel of the Billings Gazette wrote detailed articles on the debate.”

    Link? Link to the link? Linkety link link link?

  17. sweed7 says:

    The younger generations have not had much hunting access and are used to truck hunting. Turn them loose on a ranch and they become slob hunters. The point is that there are huge numbers of slob hunters out there and more and more ranchers say NO If bird hunting property lines are usually easily recognized BUT if Elk hunting most guest hunters don’t know ranch boundry lines and inadvertantly become trespassers on the neighbors. There go neighbor relations. It is just safer to say NO and as a side benefit slow down the spread of noxious weed carried by vehicles.

  18. Craig Moore says:

    I’m all in favor of “slob” hunters as defined by remarks here having their hunting and fishinvg privileges revoked for at least one year and further suspended until such time as they complete recertification by the FWP as a safe and respectful hunter.

  19. Marion says:

    First of all I think we have to recognize that farmers and ranchers are under severe financial restraints as taxes rise, sometimes astronomically. Why does anyone object if they get back a few bucks for allowing hunting or even if they least hunting rights?
    I went up North fork of the Shoshone river this morning after hitting the Black Friday sales in Cody. I cannot begin to tell you how many haystacks I saw with deer, lots of deer tearing and eating them. At the price of hay today, that translates into a considerable cost. A number of the big round bales have been torn into enough to be unsalable and probably unmovable to a different location.
    As for the big rich operators that come in and set up, those who are determined to create every possible problem for ranchers need to think if they really want the family rancher selling out to either or corporation or for development.
    It would be nice if there was a one fits all for the situation, but I do not know what it is.

  20. Mark says:

    I’d like to know more about exactly how a company that makes $2 billion a year from hunting and fishing promotes the conservation of open spaces upon which that market depends.

    A small percentage of that money could buy and set aside just about every parcel of land they advertise in Montana.

    Perhaps they are very active and I’m not very observant. I receive about 12 catalogs a year from them and have never heard a whisper about what they are doing to improve hunting and fishing opportunities.

    Their website simply lists several organizations that Cabelas associates with:

    http://www.cabelas.com/community-aboutus-conservation.shtml

    There are plenty of examples of places that do a great job of managing public access by allowing walk-in only limited to a certain number of hunters per day…

  21. Mack P. Bray says:

    Cabela’s is selling Buffalo Bore Ammo, made by Tim Sundles, the scumbag who was found guilty of trying to poison wolves in Idaho. Here’s the U.S. Attorney’s office news release:

    http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/id/public_info/pr06/sundles12052006.html

    In late October I called Cabela’s and asked for Dick or Jim Cabela and spoke with Ken Stephens, their personal assistant. I asked him if they were aware that one of their vendors has attempted to poison wolves and did this fit with their corporate policy. Ken said the folks he’d have to confer with were hunting but he would get back to me. Sure. I haven’t heard from him yet, so I’m writing the Cabela brothers and copying the President. Cabela brother’s assistant (Ken Stephens) number: 1-308-255-7462, just in case you’re unhappy with any of Cabela’s policies.

    Their stock is down; we could buy and become stockholder activists. :)

  22. Craig Moore says:

    Marion, in Montana F’s & R’s can seek to enrole their properties in the Block Management program and receive access payments that way without charging on a per capita basis or thousands of $$$ for a lease. Public field sportsman then do not have to pay a further fee which tends to discourage family hunting for most people. The statistics across the US show that hunter numbers are rapidly declining. Montana is an exception to that trend for now. In my opinion, that is tied into the BM program and access to public lands.

  23. Mark says:

    Block Management is great, but it’s not the only option. I’ve hunted on very large private properties where the ranch manager runs hunting access as if the property were enrolled in Block Management – following the same principles such as sign in sheets, providing maps, and simple use rules – but these property owners choose not to take public funds for allowing public access.

    Getting Sportsmen’s Warehouse, Cabelas and others to follow this lead – rather than the current trend towards either BM or leasing access rights to outfitters – would likely make good business and conservation sense.

  24. sweed7 says:

    It’s OK to hold Cabelas feet to the fire for what they do but totally unfair to expect the to take the lead in trying to solve what may be insolvable problems. One person’s solution is anothers problem. Ranchers want one thing-hunters often want another. Real hunters want one thing-Slob hunters want another. I could go on in finitum.

  25. Mark says:

    There’s no expectation for them to take the lead and certainly no “holding feet to the fire.” Just mentioning a possible business opportunity.

    If the problem is already “access” that will eventually be Cabelas and the whole industries’ problem. In Europe, the “mass” market for hunting gear is in part very small because the opportunities for “common” folks to use that gear are very small. Perhaps there is a comparison to be made with diminished numbers of hunters in parts of the US outside of Montana? Even in Montana, who hasn’t thought there are too many hunters on too little land. Who hasn’t thought, it’s getting too crowded out here. Maybe its time for me to hang it up?

    Seems to make business sense for folks who make their money from hunting and fishing sales to the mass market to start getting agressive about alleviating risks to that market…. and get some good press in the process. When you walk into that new store in Billings, the person behind the counter can hold their head high and say, “Not only will we sell you all of this stuff – we are working hard to make sure you have places to use it. In fact, we have a program where every year we buy land destined for the subdivision slaughterhouse and Cabelas sets it aside for public access.”

    The cost-benefit might not pencil out (someone’s probably already crunched the numbers), but it sure seems smart to be re-investing a significant chunk of profit into protecting the product…

  26. sweed7 says:

    I buy hunting and fishing stuff at Cabelas BUT I buy much more stuff that is not related to hunting and fishing. H & F is a good market for them but I doubt if their main business is H & F.

  27. mike says:

    There are a couple of points above that I would like to see emphasized and reinforced. As the first point, the fight over the loss of hunting rights on private land and the fight to prevent subdivision and the subsequent loss of open space and habitat are two different arguments about two different, albeit often connected, issues. You may not like either the loss of hunting rights or the loss of habitat; but, they are not always the same and neither are the solutions.

    As my earnings allowed, I have collected beaten down ranches or at least pieces of them and I work and often ranch them primarily as a means of preserving their habitat value. I do not, at least have not yet been forced to, subdivide and I work to keep them intact for what is left of their undeveloped wild or rewilded value. In that sense, I am benefitting hunters indirectly by sustaining wildlife population reservoirs; but, I generally do not let very many hunters on my places for many of the very same reasons that are quoted above. In the past, I would let hunters in with the agreement 1) that there be no drinking (firearms safety) or smoking (fire safety); 2) that they would walk in or at least stay on my minimal two-tracks and not come in with OHVs and run over the vegetation and habitat; 3) that they would not litter, cut fences, destroy troughs or other infrastructure, or vandalize the natural elements; and 4) that they would hunt legally and in a sporting manner. It didn’t take long, however, for me to learn that most, yes, most of these erstwhile sportsmen would readily agree to these rules with absolutely no sincere intention of abiding by them. I had to quit letting them on the places because I was always collecting their garbage, repairing fences or shot up troughs, reseeding the driven over places in the pastures, or shoveling dirt on some dead varmint that they had plugged for no reason other than alcohol and meanness.

    As a aside, I grew up in the tradition that, if you decided to hunt, you came prepared with the right caliber, with the ability to use it in a humane and sporting manner, preferably a one shot kill, and that you didn’t shoot at an animal until you had some confidence that you would make a clean kill. Today, one of the things that galls me most and fuels my bad attitude toward the NRA is when punks haul out 223 banana-clipped semi-autos, always with either open sights or the wrong scope, and want me to let them hunt elk. Too many of these guys grew up with no hunting tradition, were never taught hunting ethics, and have no conception of what makes an appropriate elk rifle. Too many of them will spot a group of elk (or cattle that they think might be elk) at the far edge of a 223’s range and just unload on the whole group, lobbing them out there just as fast as their feverish little trigger fingers can work their way through to the end of the banana-clip. Maybe an elk goes down, maybe not; but, at least one or two of them run off to pointlessly bleed to death in the brush and the punks never know how or even want to bother expending the energy to try to track them. Then I get to read about these same guys complaining about how the wolves are wasting all the elk.

    Back to my second point, a lot of the same people who complain the loudest when one of us closes our ranch to hunting or about the loss of elk range when somebody subdivides a ranch seem to be the same people who can’t see their way to support the preservation of our public lands. In one case, when I voiced my support for preserving nearby forest through the passage of the NREPA, one knucklehead retorted that I needed to get past my “tom-tom and warpaint days” (that is a little insulting to us) and forget about preserving wilderness because there are now millions of people who need to develop those lands. Then the very same knucklehead turns around and decries the loss of hunting opportunities when private property is closed or subdivided.

    If you want to save hunting, you have to think deeply enough to understand the problem and be willing to contribute, through taxes and a willingness to set aside public land for preservation if you have no other option. You have to work on a solution and not just whine about the problem and blame others. I try to help and am willing to sacrifice to preserve public lands to share with those who need them, even though it really isn’t my problem. My elk are around at the side of the house standing in the warmth coming off the back wall of the fireplace.

  28. Mayme Trumble says:

    My God! Don’t people out west realize that Republicans and big corporations don’t want ANYTHING public anymore. They are destroying a great nation by “drowning in a bathtub” anything owned by “the people”. They are despicable!

  29. Craig Moore says:

    Mayme Trumble, Wall Street money has been flowing more to Hillary than to Republicans. Your spew of pure propaganda is quite transparent. If the D party actually supported hunters and hunting while firmly commiting to individual 2nd Amendment rights, then you might have an issue relevant to this discussion.

    Now back to Cabelas. Like Foxworthy, they aren’t the only ones in the “tie-in” business. See the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/realestate/07nati.html?_r=2&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

    This article provides some of the background info on the Cabelas strategy while pointing the finger at other companies like Orvis and Mossy Oak.

  30. Marion says:

    I know Wyoming has a Walk in Area program too, I don’t know if farmers are reimbursed for the use or how it works since I don’t hunt. My sons do and most of their bird hunting is done on private land, while big game hunting is done on public land for the most part.
    They take small gifts to some of those who allow them to hunt, including an older person who is no longer able to hunt and misses the game. but decided they seemed to be upstanding kind of fellows. They dress and clean a goose for her every now and then and give it to show their appreciation. So far they are usually allowed to hunt.
    Hunters have a responsibility and need to clean up their own act and police those who call themselves hunters and do no act responsibly. That has not changed over the years, I remember how mad my Dad got in the 40s and 50s when the milk cow would end up with buck shot in her during bird hunting season.
    No, Mayme, we do NOT need more public land because enviros have come to believe that is THEIR private land and work to keep everyone else out. Besides our country was founded on the ability to have privately owned land.

  31. elfman says:

    Marion – do you know what else this country was founded on? In the old country wild game was owned by the landowner. We took a different stance in the creation of this country by saying that wild game belongs to the people! Of course, this tenet doesn’t mean a thing if you live in an area that has virtually no public land. What is it you want to do on public land that you now cannot? Please answer that.

  32. Craig Moore says:

    Elfman, I think you are partially right. In the old country the landowner was some member of royalty, the sovereign. In our country, the sovereign is our collective federal and state governments. The concept of “sovereign immunity” carries over from the old country to ours and is embodied in various federal and state laws. It’s a nice warm fuzzy to think of the people as either jointly or in co-tenancy owning the animals, but an individual has no exerciseable right to manage or harvest wild animals without the sovereign’s permission as per a license to do such.

    Regarding ‘slob hunters’ Idaho has been having success in removing a few: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21941345/

  33. elfman says:

    Craig – another big difference… if the “sovereign” is not managing the game (not to mention other affairs) to our (the public) satisfaction then we have the opportunity to vote them out! This doesn’t happen with royalty.

    Again, I ask Marion what do you wish to do on public lands that you now cannot? please be specific.

  34. Craig Moore says:

    Elfman, in France they used the chopping block rather than the voting box. Either way, the politico has his head handed to him. ;?p

  35. Marion says:

    Elfman, since I am of an age and physical condition that I can not hike for a day or two, or weeks at a time, I am limited in the land I can access as more and more roads are closed off to allow a chosen few with lots of time to be off work to hike and enjoy solitude in the best places. When I was younger I had to work for a living and still did not have unlimited time to be hiking.
    Those of us forced to live with the results of city folks voting are far far outnumbered by those who are voting what they think will make a utopia.
    You might think it would be great to have a wolf in every yard….as long as it is where you are not living, someone else has to deal with the problems. While you may think turning everything but your home over to the government is great, those owning the land are again a minority, and have to pay the extra taxes to make up for the public land.

  36. Mark says:

    Not really sure what wolves and Republicans have to do with hunting opportunties, but I’m open.

    Seems the realities are:

    Montana has a growing population;
    Our culture is changing for better or worse;
    Productive, private bottom-land is being split into smaller parcels every day;
    The number of hunters is growing;
    More hunters are squeezed onto available public lands and/or smaller private parcels;
    Inevitably, more conflicts arise and there are less opportunities for those “Montana” experiences we shared with our parents and grandparents…

    That’s the sad trend and it seems most folks can’t see this or aren’t really willing to do a thing about it except gripe about how it’s somebody else’s fault.

  37. Craig Moore says:

    Mark, hunter numbers are declining: http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/2007-11/hunters/poole-text.html

    It’s possible that this decline is part of the reason for Cabelas and others to try and create a sustaining market with the land sales to the wealthy.

  38. Jack says:

    We will see how ‘great’ this really will be. Be watching for more Cabela’s Trophy Hunting Properties in Montana now. Real estate deals to buy ranches and exclusive hunting for the ‘right people’.One big one in the mill now north of Lewistown and close to the Missouri Breaks. Yes and they want the BLM and state land leases as well. Run a few cows to make it look good and retain the grazing privileges but it’s all abbout keeping us off our public land and privatizing our wildlife resource for the right people on private and public lands. Ask the BLM in Lewistown about it will BLM cave in to Cabela’s Trophy Properties? Ask Cabela’s as well. It’s ordering by mail to PRO BASS SHOP for me.

  39. Chris from Maine says:

    Join the club. Have you seen what’s been happening in Maine? The great North Maine Woods once owned and managed by The Great Northern Paper Co. for almost 100 yrs, provided some of the best whitetail deer, bear, moose and ruffed grouse hunting in the country. The company managed almost 3 million acres of forestland peppered with lakes and rivers galore that were all stacked full of native species of fish, an outdoor wonderland for the average outdoorsman, with no fees or restrictions attached to the use. The Great Northern went belly up in late 2001, in the midst of it they liquidated 75% of their land assets. Now 50% of the land is privately owned and there are signs being posted, roads being blocked, snomobile trails being shut down, atv trails being closed and sporting camps being forced out of business. Private land owners have stopped leasing land to camp owners that have had leases for 70-80 yrs. The word is pack up and get out. The lessee’s hands are tied and the conservationists are just a bunch of city slickers that don’t know the true meaning of outdoors or it’s heritage. All they want to do is close everything off and “preserve” the forest. I’ve heard men threaten to burn sections of old growth timber just out of spite. A hell of a plan if you ask me. Burn the do gooders out and give us back our trails and honor our leases that we’ve had for generations, maybe then you’ll get some respect from the blue collared outdoorsman that just wants to afford his children the same opportunity to embrace the great outdoors. But what would people from the city know about that, their kids are probably stuck to an XBOX for 23 of the 24 hours in a day.

  40. elfman says:

    Chris – let me get this straight: You think “men” who proceed to burn down an old growth forest “out of spite” will finally get the “respect” they deserve?!

    Frankly, I am glad you have lost access to your outdoor wonderland. Anyone who would burn the forest down (as you would condone) in some sort of misdirected and unfounded retaliation does not deserve to enjoy the wonders of the outdoors. Those were not “your” trails. They were owned by a company who gave you permission (via lease or otherwise) to recreate there. You did so for a couple of generations and now circumstances have changed. Get over it.

    By the way, those leases have only been around for 70-80 years. This is not a long time (plus time is not at all relevant, anyway). Why is it that you think those leases need to be “honored”? They were “honored” and then they expired. That is life. How long should the new owners accommodate your expired leasehold interest? Why is it their fault for buying land and/or being from the “city” you so disdain? By the way, you derogatorily make reference to the “conservationists” but this whole issue has nothing to do with “conservationists”. In fact, you will find conservationists responsible for protecting from development many thousands of acres in Maine that you are now free to recreate on.

    Let me give you a hypothetical: You own an apartment building, your primary asset. The building is fully leased but all leases are expiring at the end of the current year. You are going bankrupt and you determine that the only asset you have that is going to get you out of debt is your apartment building so you sell it to a developer who plans to level it to build a much needed retirement facility for the local community. How long should the new owner “honor” the current leases? Would a real “man” burn the new building down? Why didn’t the damn conservationists do anything about this situation?

  41. elfman says:

    Marion – you sound like an angry old man willing to make any assumption that comes to mind about others. Sorry the “city “slickers” are taking over your little world.

    Maybe your physical condition would now be better had you spent more time actually walking through the woods in the old days rather than relying on the road network. i have hunted with 85 year old Montana ranchers who I had a difficult time keeping up with due to their excellent conditioning!

    Remember, your version of “utopia” is not defined the same by everyone nor is it more important than others.

  42. Marion says:

    elfman, I’m not an angry old anything. But I do not believe that the forests and best places should be off limits to the working man, nor those who worked all of their lives. I don’t know how much tiem you spend working, but most of us that would like to take our kids fishing or out into the forests do not like the closed roads.
    I’d like to see “city slickers” as you put it be able to take the kids picnicing or camping on a day off, not find the roads closed to anyone who has only hours, not days to spend.
    I spent my days and nights walking (sometimes running) up and down the halls of hospitials caring for the sick & injured, and later delivering babies. You know that 4 letter word….work. Not a lot of time for the other 4 letter word…..play.

  43. Jack says:

    Hello Mr. elfman don’t know where you are but if it’s Montana a few things you may not realize.If you are talking about state leases you may not know it they are not rights but ‘privileges’. Also grazing on public lands is a privilege not a right.Overgrazing you can lose the privilege to graze our land and written on the grazing lease as well as under multiple- use management and public lands it’s on there check yours.You see when you have a state grazing lease you are paying for the privilege to take some grass off of our public land so stated PUBLIC LAND in the Montana Constitution and MSA statute on “multiple -use management of state lands.But the land is ours 12 months a year Mr. elfman. Then if it’s cropland on state land that’s our public land as well and you crop share but no red paint on our land. Remember you cannot get federal subsidy checks for state land in Montana it’s public land and that would be illegal.Yes, many wealthy landowners kind of think our public land belongs to them but of course under the laws they are wrong.Red paint on state land leases or federal public land violates the law and the grazing privilege can be cancelled as well. We just notify the managing agency to inspect our land for overgrazing.Are you aware of the law suit that opened 5.2 million acres of state land ,our land ,to recreational use and signed into law on 4-25-91 by Gov. Steven’s a republican? Yes lets keep public lands separate from private lands in our discussions Mr.elfman.No matter how wealthy one may be even a zillionaire public land is just that public. Good comments Mr.Marion.

  44. elfman says:

    Jack – you just went on a tirade for nothing. I was referring to people leasing large blocks of PRIVATE land in eastern Montana specifically for hunting.

  45. elfman says:

    Marion – I can think of hundreds, if not thousands, of very, very special places easily accessible by road here in Western Montana and across the country. These roads are public roads legally accessible by city slickers and “the working man” alike… no discrimination. Strange that you seem to think I do not work for some reason. Why is that?

    Would you like to build more roads? At what point, in your mind, would there be too many roads?

  46. Marion says:

    elfman, I have no idea if you work or not, but I do know that anyone working 5 and 6 days per week 50+ weeks per year is not able to hike for two or three days to reach thier destination place. No one is asking for more roads, just that existing roads be left open for use by the everyday people.
    By the way, what folks do with their private land is none of your business.

  47. elfman says:

    Marion:

    I agree regarding Private Land being none of my business (or yours). If you had read the previous posts you would understand the conversation was rooted in a discussion about access being limited under private ownership in Maine. You would also understand that my position is that the new owners of this private land should be able to manage it however they see fit (Montana, Maine and anywhere in between) at least in regard to trespassing.

    I do work and hardly can find time to get out in the woods for an afternoon much less a couple of days. However, I do not feel limited in my opportunities due to road closures. There are so many opportunities in Western Montana it is staggering.

  48. jdj says:

    These postings have gotten way off track and back to the usual suspects ranting about the loss of Montana and the good old days. As usual there is almost nothing new from them. As usual though there are some good points about access, etc.

    We are missing the point of Bill’s article though – Cabelas is not about selling the odd vest or knife to your average MT hunter. Take a look at the catalog – do these XXLs and XXXLs look like they hunt and enjoy the outdoors? The typical client is an urban overweight bubba from Atlanta who watches the hunting version of “snuff” film on the outdoor channel. The hire guides to take them to leased ranches, bait their deer, bear, whatever and get to the kill site by four wheeler. These guys are not hunters – they simply kill trophy animals. They have little to no hunting ethic; they are a wet dream to the NRA. To them, a ranch is simply another trophy. Cabela sells the same lifestyle the Yellowstone Club or any other resort sells – just to the less well off and a few IQ points lower. To expect anything else is to set yourself up for disappointment.

    Hunters are their own worst enemy and until they crawl out from under the covers with the NRA and the right wing of the Rep. party and control themselves we can expect less access, etc. For a large percentage of so-called hunters, it isn’t about hunting, it is about playing hunting. If the tie in with real estate and a retail store disturbs you boycott the store. I thank Bill for drawing so much attention to this, I will certainly rethink my spending, thanks.

  49. sweed7 says:

    Please Guys, Marion D. is a very bright lady, partially retired, small ranch operator who believes in private property and in Government land being left available for public use and not locked up in wilderness available only to the elite few. Am I right Marion?

  50. Craig Moore says:

    jdl writes, “Hunters are their own worst enemy and until they crawl out from under the covers with the NRA and the right wing of the Rep. party and control themselves we can expect less access, etc.”

    If jdl is suggesting that hunters and gun owners will find shelter and solace in the waiting arms of Hillary and D’s like her, well, I guess we see the world a bit differently, and am having trouble controlling the laughter such a suggestion creates.

    Vote against Cabela’s by patronizing businesses like Bass ProShop, Midsouth Shooters Supply, and Graf & Sons. All have websites, great merchandise, and good prices.

  51. Jack says:

    Thanks for clarifying that Mr. elfman. I am quite familiar with eastern Montana but those large blocks you refer to have public land inside them most all,BLM and stae leases. I find it very difficult to find large blocks of private land in eastern Montana that’s 100% private.Remember by having some public land you will get those grazing privileges. Just run a few cows but you are really are not in the livestock business at all. Just another way to control public land and privatize the wildlife on public and private lands. The ‘gentlemen ranchers’ from california call it “a working ranch” that’s what Cabella’s called theirs a “working ranch”. Then they get those landowner preferences from FWP in the drawings and decrease our chances.Do you know that ‘landowner preference’ was for preference for a drawing where animals are causing problems and specific species of animals? What if there are no animals on the private land? FWP never inspects the land to see what animals are there for a preference is given. Also, you can only hunt on the private land in the preference not the whole hunting district. But of course none of this is checked. Lets do away with landowner preference all together what do we need it for anyway?Preference hunting for friends,relatives and clients? Will Cabellas receive land owner preference? Of course. All of these gimmics and it gets worst.

  52. Marion says:

    Sweed7 is partly right, but I only have a couple acres now days, and no livestock. I do know and understand the problems of the ranchers. I most definitely believe in private property rights and public land being open to the public, not limited to a certain few people.
    Certainly Cabelas being involved in trophy real estate should be well known and those who chose not to do business with them because of that have that option. They are not the only ones who say one thing and do another, look at the real estate program put on by the owners of this site, which is touted as being very environmental.
    I can’t imagine anyone thinks that Hillary, et al will be friendly to hunting, private owneership of guns, or private property rights.

  53. Tim from MT says:

    My, my someone got Marion started on her ‘pave the parks’ tirade. But since its out there I have to say, I’m always surprised about the sense of entitlement of the political conservative crowd when they talk about roads. It’s sort of contrary to their other values they like to bully people with. Why do they feel they deserve roads and easy access at the expense of what those natural spaces are there to preserve?

    The truth is, access to parks and protected areas doesn’t necessarily mean a paved road so you can see it out your window as you drive by going 65. Access is more meaningful and personal than that. Why in the world do you feel your comfortable access by an automobile trumps everyone else’s desire to have those areas kept pristine? Your motoring pleasure isn’t the sole reason for our parks and forests Marion. You have to learn how to share.

  54. Craig Moore says:

    Hey Tim, instead of snide remarks and personal insults against another poster here how about just discussing Cabela’s?

  55. Marion says:

    Tim, please read my posts…and for that matter the others and tell us who besides you mentioned paving.
    There is a world of difference between no wheeled access and pavement. I am perfectly comfortable on dirt 2 tracks.
    I am more than willing to share, but I want to share while enjoying the mountains and park, not share by listening to you tell how wonderful it is to be there alone.

  56. sweed7 says:

    Timmy is back with his active imagination! Be patient, he will grow up. There are miles and miles of wilderness and locked up government land that the walk-ins never get into. Let them start at the end of existing roads. Let Marion and others who cannot walk in or do not have time to walk in use part of those forests. There is room for all with existing wilderness. Realize-We can’t stop private owners from selling. Cabelas is in business and if they don’t act as advertisiers or agents then others will. The Dutch Boy tried putting his finger in the dam. Remember him. I too don’t like what is happening BUT I can’t use Cabelas or any one person as a scape goat! Stop the birth rate and the immigration. It’s PEOPLE!!!! Lots of PEOPLE!

  57. Chris says:

    Hey Elfman,

    Take a look around at a couple of websites. One, namely “RESTORE: The North Maine Woods” A non profit conservation group with ties to The Nature Conservancy and The Wilderness Society. RESTORE is based and headquartered in Boston, MA that’s right Boston, Massachusetts. In their great wisdom they have decided that the better part of northern Maine should be transformed into a national park. They claim to have many backers including a list of over 100 celebrities, contributing and supporting the cause of creating a national park for the North Maine Woods. So tell me what possibly could any of these people know about life over the past hundred years in Maine, I come from a town built on the paper industry and logging. A town that used to claim the highest per capita income in the state of Maine, now claims the highest poverty rate in the state. Let me tell you why, the greens have slowly but surely put themselves smack dab in the middle of every environmental issue that arises no matter what the reprocussions may be for the working man involved. They take their big city money and lobbying power and encroach upon the small guys that really are at a complete disadvantage. Google this name: Roxanne Quimby Maine and see what you come up with. Quimby has created quite a stir in Maine over the past couple of years purchasing large tracts of land (25-30,000 acres) and posting it off limits to hunters and fishermen. We’re not talking about a couple hundred acre ranch here. We’re talking about pieces of land the size of Rhode Island, that are located in the middle of other privately owned publicly accessed swaths of land 3 times the size. The leases I’m talking about are leases that are of no value other than monetary to these landowners. You take a lake that has 200 camps built on it in the middle of the woods, these camps were built on leases agreed upon back in the early 30’s. All family camps of people that worked for The Great Northern. The GNP leased these camp lots for as little as $1 per year. People raised their children at these camps in the summer, and eventually passed the camps on down. The leases increased of course but to relatively reasonable levels for 60 years. This is by no means comparable to an apartment building that will be demolished for a parking lot. This is a piece of someones life that they worked hard for and cherished for generations. Quimby is actually forcing lessees to vacate or move their camps. Do you think it’s easy to move a camp that’s buried deep in the woods, when I say deep I mean you’d have to move the camp 20 miles through the woods just to find a road. So you see, people really do have a very good reason for threatening to burn the forest. When the English were cutting mast pines in Maine during the colonization and sending them to Great Britian by the boatloads the people rebelled, and burned every last standing mast pine within the monarchy’s reach. Guess where GB went for their ship mast’s after that?? I can tell you they did no more searching in Maine.

  58. Chris says:

    Elfman……….And another thing about the apartment building scenario. The people that leased these camp lots actually built their camps with their own bare hands and their own money. I highly doubt whoever is leasing an apartment had any financial interest in it before they signed a monthly lease. Just a hunch chum…………..

  59. James says:

    Jack- To answer some questions regarding landowner preference (LP) LP offers 15% of special permits or B licenses to the landowners who own specific amounts of land (160 acres of continous agricultural land for deer and antelope and 640 continuous acres for elk) in a hunting district (HD). A rather small percentage for all that these landowners do for the public’s wildlife. There is no stipulation for the animals having to exist on the land except for elk in which they must only seasonally use the land. And yes, the FWP is aware if those animals use the land. That is their job, to know where the animals seasonally reside and which pieces of land they use during different times of the year. And no Jack, LP does not restrict the landowner to only hunting on their own land. They are restricted to hunting with their preference tags only in the HD on which their land lies. You are confusing this with landowner sponsored tags. LP is not for friends or clients as you stated, but only for landowners, their immediate family designee, or ranch manager. No Cabela’s will not receive LP because they are merely in the land marketing business, they never actually own the land (Did you actually read Bill’s article?). And finally, LP is a small token of appreciation that the state can offer landowners for keeping, maintaining, and managing large tracts of open space used by Montana’s wildlife species. Landowners are never guranteed a license, but just have their odds improved as a thank you for for providing suitable habitat for Montana’s wildlife. For some landowners, LP is a large incentive not to sell off and subdivide their land. Get rid of LP and you get rid of prime wildlife habitat and those who maintain it. By the way, good to see more press on this issue, Thank You Bill.

  60. elfman says:

    Jack – on the coattails of James I would also like to point out that, for a long time, landowner preference tags were ONLY available to resident landowners! I believe they have changed the law only in recent years to allow nonresident landowners to petition to be eligible for landowner preference.

  61. elfman says:

    Chris:

    As for Quimby: it is private land. Always has been. Quimby can hunt it, fish it, lease it, build on it, cut it, AND post no trespassing signs if he wishes. He can also tell the expired leaseholders to get out. Quimby does not owe you or anyone else a right of access.

    As for the leases: It is not for you to decide what value a piece of land holds for its owner. You make the point that they leased the properties for “as little as $1 a year”. Sounds to me like you people should be thankful you had such a good deal all those years. You (or your relatives) CHOSE to invest your finances in a leasehold interest which is, by its very nature, tenuous. Not smart. The apartment building is still a very good analogy. By the way, I never said these were month to month leases. I said they will expire at the end of the year. So, let’s expound further on the hypothetical. Let’s say all the tenants have held their leases for 50 years, invested all kinds of time in decorating and, in some cases, more substantially modified the apartment (with permission from the OWNER of course). Should the new OWNER be required to continue leasing those apartments forever when he really wants to to do something else with the property?! By the way, it is irrelevant but I never said it was going to be a parking lot… in fact, I said it was going to be a retirement community.

    Nice attempt at tugging on the heartstrings by referring to people having raised there kids there but that does not carry any weight with me. They still have their memories. I am betting that the land upon which those leases sit was used to raise generation after generation of American Indians. Who should I feel more sorry for? You have made absolutely no case for it being a legitimate course of action to burn the forest down. Why don’t you start saving, investing wisely (avoid leasehold interests) and maybe someday you can buy a place of your own. Then, you can decide to let everyone come and build their camps on your land!

    If you understood the legal issues here you might be rooting for the National Park you so loathe the thought of. Do you own your home and land? If so, who are you going to let come in there and tell you what you can and cannot do with it?

    P.S. let me get this straight… you parked your truck and hiked 20 miles through the woods each time you want to get to your camp? If there is no road to them then how did you get to them? 20 miles is a long way to hike for a weekend jaunt.

  62. Jack says:

    Yes, non-residents are getting ‘Landowner Preference’ and this landowner preference has been abused many times don’t try to ‘dazzle me’. We need some policy changes in FWP and doing away with landowner preference is a good start. Another good one would be to include some of these alfalfa fields being used for baiting animals illegally same as salt. Yes, we have many ranchers who are not doing this but look at Turners ranches for example alfalfa fields and high fences. But of course since he donates dough to FWP for fish poisoning projects and to radical environmental organizations that will go nowhere. Another one is south of Broadus where landowners in the outfitting business uses alfalfa fields to hold animals on there with very limited hunting. Keep those animals off the adjoining public land that’s the plan sell the trophy deer for $2500. Let’s me see now I think wildlife is a ‘public resource’ on private and public lands.But they probably call the $2500 a trespass fee give me a break. They must have the ‘landowner preference’ as well and Montana rewards them with outfitter licenses.

  63. Craig Moore says:

    I guess the next thing is for Sears to get into the business and feature roe buck hunts in their catalog…with a matching line of gentleman’s clothing.

  64. Craig Moore says:

    There is a recent article in the Billings Gazette that cover some of the ‘bones’ here: http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2007/11/22/news/state/18-hunting.txt

    The connection between guides/outfitters’ preferences and out-of-state landed gentry should be apparent and is the real end-run around the license preference problem. The wealthy landowner merely leases to the guide/outfitter under special arrangements. This is what Cabela’s Trophy Properties brings to Montana.

    This gets me back to the approach that I advocated above near the beginning of this discussion about creating a half a loaf solution for everyone or noone hunts. Getting rid of the guide/outfitter preferences would help too.

  65. Mark says:

    Craig –

    Thanks for trying to keep this on-track.

    My understanding has always been that hunter numbers are in decline nationally and holding steady/increasing here in Montana. However, I’ve never seen the actual numbers.

    Would imagine that just looking at “all licenses sold” is not an accurate reflection of increased pressure on particular areas. Need to compare total number of licenses sold with total number of acres available for use; public access, BM, outfitter leased, etc.

    Overlaying these sets of data would provide a much clearer picture regarding “crowding”.

    For instance, parts of SW Montana saw a big bump in hunter numbers this fall.

    Both articles – NatGeo and Gazetter – were interesting. Thanks.

    This is a bit dated, but sums sheds more light on this subject: http://fwp.mt.gov/tmc/vignettes/access.html

    The “Private Land/Public Wildlife Council” is meeting in Livingston on December 10 and 11.

  66. Craig Moore says:

    Mark,

    You are welcome. The Great Falls Trib had a similar article: http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071125/OPINION01/711250305

    It points to a 15% decline in resident hunters. I suppose that non-resident hunters could more than offset this decrease…and it’s from the pool of non-residents that create the customer base for Cabela’s selling off Montana land to the plush bottom hunters. With most of the revenues for Montana FWP coming from non-resident fees it’s no wonder they (FWP) have turned Judas betrayer to residents.

  67. Marion says:

    I checked into the properties they ahve listed and it looks like they are primarily acting as a real estate agent, not a developer. Is that correct? If so it looks to me like trying to keep the rancher from feeling that selling is his only or best option, would be where folks need to focus. If they feel they must sell, they are going to look for the agent that gives them the maximum net, whether it is Cabelas or someone else.

  68. Wendy in Idaho says:

    I’ve been doing my own personal mini-boycott of Cabela’s ever since I heard last year that they were in the “trophy property” business. Cabela’s built its company and its reputation on the pocketbooks of the blue-collar, working class, hook and bullet crowd. Now they’re in league with high rollers who would lock those same working people (and formerly valued customers) out of traditional hunting and fishing areas. Not good. Not smart. Not right. I’m glad to see the wave of negative reaction is surging.

  69. Bette says:

    Serious Distaste regarding Cabela’s current real estate ventures:

    I am a Montana native, and have never lived anywhere else for more than a month. Additionally, I am a well-educated, coherent, under-30, female, novice hunter extremely interested in honing my skills as a hunter an outdoors sportswoman. Having recently learned of the pathetic behavior the Cabela’s company is exhibiting in regards to its severe disrespect for Montana’s venerated public access for hunting and recreation tradition, I am extremely disinclined to solicit Cabela’s for any equipment, clothing, or other products. Furthermore, I am a conservation/environmental educator with a particular professional (my employing organization is fundamentally invested in the hunting tradition) and personal interest in appropriate behavior and social dynamics in regards to sportsmanship. Until Cabela’s eliminates its real estate venture, and reigns in its audacious disrespect for my state and its traditions of neighborly access and consideration for neighborly opinions, I will not be sourcing any of my needs from this company.

    This entire situation exhibits extremely poor sportsmanship on the part of Cabela’s! At the same time, some of the slap-dash generalization being carried on in this dialog is equally unsporting. I think all of us who are dedicated to a vibrant integrity-based present and future for Montana (whether we grew up here or wish we did), need to try to refrain from alienation-causing generalizations. It is critical that we all start listening to one another (“neighborly conversation”) before we wind up creating a culture where we all have our own opinions and can’t find any overlap.

    P.S. I second the concerns that this website not support companies and behaviors that are contrary to its stated mission or are detrimental to this state’s future.

  70. Jonathan Weber says:

    Regarding this last comment about the advertising on the site: we couldn’t, even if we wanted to, screen advertisers based on “behaviors that are contrary to its stated mission or are detrimental to this state’s future.” In almost all cases those are judgement calls at best, and no publisher can be in the position of passing moral judgement on every advertiser.

    Perhaps more to the point, we have to make a living. This site does not happen for free, but we provide the service for free, supported by advertising. If you’re in an advertising supported business, you sell ads to people who want to buy ads. It’s that simple. If people on this thread want to send us checks for the money we would forgo by kicking off particular advertisers, we can have that conversation. Short of that, I’d just remind everyone that NewWest.Net is FREE, and if you don’t like the ads, well, that’s the trade-off.

  71. Craig Moore says:

    Jonathan, please indicate which of the following legal sources, if any, that you would not take advertising money from:

    –firearm manufactures

    –ammuntion manufacturers such as Federal and Hornady

    –tobacco companies

    –spirits companies

    –oil companies such as Exxon, Shell, and BP

    –Hummer ads

    –snowmobile manafacturers

    –4×4 off-road vehicle manufacturers such as Polaris

  72. mike says:

    Gosh, Mr. Weber, with you providing a yard for them to lay in for so long, I wondered whether they would turn on even you eventually. Looks like my hunch was right…

  73. Jack says:

    The one to be watching is the Dovetail Ranch located about 40 miles north of Winnett on the south side of Crooked Creek.I contacted the BLM for information as well as sent a letter to Cabella’s. I received a reply from a David Nelson,Manager,Cabella’s Trophy Properties.He stated “Cabela’s Trophy Properties is not alone in this field.Others,such as Orvis and Mossy Oak,offer similiar services.Our service is not new to the estate industry in Montana.In addition,independent real estate agents within the Trophy Proterties network work with groups such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation,the American Land Conservancy and Five Valleys Land Trust to share information about conservation easements,habitat development and related matters with potential buyers and landowners”. None of their letter mentioned ranching. A letter to BLM Lewistown provided me with land status maps and information about the new owner.BLM states” The current ranch owners have chosen to no longer paricipate in the BMA program”. BLM indicated 7,131 acres of BLM public lands and maps show solid block public lands. My view whatever it’s worth. the ranches seem to be fronts for excluvive hunting and not really working cattle ranches at all. BLM must make a determination if this is a viable ranch under the federal range code to tranfer grazing privileges to the new owner.A few cows to make it look like a ranch does not qualify in my view. Any fences must meet the BLM fence manual H-1741-1 fencing and fences must be “wildlife friendly” in that area it would mean a fence no higher than 43″ with a bottom to ground smooth wire with a min. of 16″-18″ above ground. That means no high fences to fence wildlife in. Wildlife is guaranteed free access to and from public lands 12 months a year under the Unlawful Inclosures of Public Lands Act 1885,43 U.S.C.1061-1066 a federal law that BLM must enforce. Cabella’s did not answer a single question presented to them on these issues and laws.New fences seem to be proposed according to BLM. These so called ranches want our public lands and the wildlife privatized on private and public lands.It’s a wildlife and public land grab. Another one going on south of Malta with the American Prairie Foundation associated with the World Wildlife Fund.Why is the RMEF involved in these real estate deals as well?Someone should find out. It takes high fences to keep the elk in. Without the public land these so called ranches would be no ranch at all.They must keep us off our public land to make their slick deal work.Watch the Dovetail Ranch and BLM.

  74. Craig Moore says:

    Jack, thanks for the info. It is my opinion that RMEF changed when Jay Dart took over. Many people I know are no longer RMEF supporters because of their suspicions over RMEF’s involvement in similar deals like you indicated. Their suspicisions are built on fears over guide/outfitter relationships with RMEF that works against individual field sportsman access.

  75. Craig Moore says:

    mike, many times you and I disagree and get under each other’s skin. However, this time you have a very valid point. I wish to apologize to Jonathan Weber for the lion’s share of the blame for the unnecessary and hurtful criticism of New West over the Cabela’s ads that appear here. I should not have publicly raised that issue near the beginning of my comments on this column. Simply because I had the right and opportunity to state my criticism doesn’t mean that I should have done so publicly as I did.

    Jonathan, I am truly sorry if I have offended you or anyone at New West with my unnecessary criticism. You have a business and I salute you and your New West people for your efforts especially your courage in featuring this column that is in a bit of counter interest conflict with your business interest to survive and prosper. That is true journalistic integrity and I salute you for it.

    New West provides an unusual opportunity for mere citizens such as my self to interact with the columnists and other commentators that write here. Thank you New West.

  76. Jack says:

    THX Craig if feel the same. The RMEF has lost their way and mission. It’s operated like a bank to make money. Too bad a fine animal like the elk is used for these money making schemes.The RMEF will not get involved any issue that impacts elk and elk habitat as well but involved in real estate with Cabella’s it’s sickening. Iam no longer a member or contributor.

  77. Mark says:

    The February 2008 Fly Fisherman discusses these issues. See the article “Wading Troubled Waters.” It begins with a quick review of Donny Beaver’s operation in Pennsylvania and then ends with a discussion about access out west, including comments regarding the Cabelas trophy properties.

  78. Dave Skinner says:

    Cheeze, I go away to the People’s Republic of Coastal Washington for a week and what happens?
    Getting back to the point of all this, I wonder why the discussion is not about the landowner and why he or she is selling. Swedester and Marion tried to keep it up, but noooooo.
    Hunters need to understand that the old days are dead. I wistfully remember hunting for the asking, and asking was easy, a function of cultivating relationships and following the rules. These days it is more difficult to scrape up the TIME to cultivate the crop, so to speak, for everyone.
    Add to that the economic and POLITICAL insecurity on the landscape, this brucellosis garbage being one thing, and no wonder the whirlwind is reaped. The pressure to sell and quit finally burns down the desire to hang in there, then the question becomes, how to make the departure least painful? By selling for top dollar, of course.
    The properties in question could be saved, if sportsmen like Craig truly had the grit and determination to make sacrifices in the form of M O N E Y, and B U Y the property….or C O L L E C T the funds B E F O R E H A N D and come in with C A S H at the right time.
    Instead, MWF seems bent on stiffing who should be their best allies with all sorts of things like stream access and complaints about B tag set asides blah blah. An otherwise pro-hunting rancher is going to look at this “hunter and angler” stuff and say, hey, these are not my friends.
    Finally, as to Cabela’s, I think they are killing themselves overall. I remember when the Pilgrimage to Sidney was a big deal, after years of ogling catalogs. It was not a disappointment. But this last spring, on a transcontinental road race, a buddy and I stopped in Mitchell. It was neat, but sort of a letdown from Store Numero Uno. Like the first time is always the most memorable, right? With new stores in Post Falls, Bellevue and Billings, never mind that the local Sportsman cribbed huge from the Cabela’s decor model (and pricing strategy), well, I’m not nearly as drawn to making a buy at or from Cabela’s that I used to be. For the arcana, yes, but for the dailies, no.
    So there.

  79. Craig Moore says:

    Dave, welcome back from the land of the “Wobblies.” As to your points I’m going to pass for now debating them and refer you to my second comment here with the proposed 50% solution. The wild animals belong to the sovereign, not the landowners. Seriously, it should not matter who owns the land for the sovereign to make the rules which balance the respective interests. I deplore parasites like Cabela’s Trophy Properties which leach value from the process without adding anything.

  80. Dave Skinner says:

    Craig,
    Your second post won’t work either, not unless the solution is seen as honest and fair by the people who own the dirt.
    We’ve all seen the migration at first shot to closed lands, and soon after, calls for depredation permits from the same people. So there’s a problem. Yet the solution to the problem needs to have the right incentives, and sadly, those will be monetary. How much money?
    Do you want money from “nonconsumptives” who might support Mack Bray’s regime? Are you willing to risk a buy-in from non-hunters who hate hunting?
    So what part of the season is “public” and which is “owned” by the landowners?
    We’re going to all need some answers soon.

  81. Arkansas Angler says:

    Wow, I stumbled across this page, read all of the comments, and I’m stunned.

    The number of people trying to rail over the sale of private land is bad enough. If the land is that important to the PUBLIC, then get your representatives to do something about it and purchase the land.

    On the other hand, if the land is for sale, be glad that companies like Cabela’s or Orvis are marketing these lands to hunters and anglers! At least there is (good) chance that the tracts will stay undeveloped and at the minimum remain a sanctuary for game. Would you rather that the owners tried to sell these lands to some developer who’s only intent is to subdivide the land and sell it to the dreaded ‘city folk’ (aka boogie-men).

    How many years has there been public access on this privately owned land? Count each and every one of them as a blessing! There was absolutely no requirement for that, and you were lucky.

    Derail me and call me names if you want (hey, it makes some people feel worthwhile). I don’t hunt, but I do fish in a number of states, Montana included. Access to PUBLIC land for fishing and hunting is tremendously important to me, but complaining about the potential loss of access to private land makes some of you sound like spoiled whiners. Look around the rest of the country – you don’t know how well you’ve got it.

  82. Jerry says:

    Having been a longtime Montana hunter and a even longer Cabelas shopper, this makes me sick. It makes me glad that I just started at Sportsmans Warehouse as a second job. ALL of the hunters and sportsman I have encountered, to a person, are disgusted with what the likes of Foxworthy and his ilk are doing.

    For all I have read, tecomate is simply spot for genetic engineering. Let’ see…a place to make the big bucks bigger and the does more fertile…nope, not for a far chase hunter. Is it me or do people who strictly hunt for the biggest rack overcompensating for something? Shouldn’t FWP be trying to investigate this crap? I was huning a new area several years ago when I came across a HUGE feed plot in the middle of the woods on a hillside park, obviously not natural. Will these Cabelas properties be jsut like those? God I hope not.

  83. Jack says:

    Thanks Bill for featuring this Cabella’s issue on News West. Hunters must get concerned about corporations taking our public land and privatizing our public wildlife resource. Most all of these so called ranches have acres of BLM and state land leases all public land. They want to control the public land on the so called ranch. We will see more of this and the public should be outraged. “Lands might be developed” has nothing to do with anything. Part of the slick deal is to acquire conservation easements for tax breaks and to use as an excuse to keep the public off of private and public lands. Conservation easements is another public ripoff.Then up goes the high fences and alfalfa fields with wildlife trapped in. FWP apparently has been told not to say anything but should be saying alot. Now we have BLM taking about a land exchange in the Miles City area to ‘rid us’ of 24,533 acres of wildlife habitat and hunting areas.Follow the money trail on the Pumpkin Creek Land Exchange and see where it leads. Thanks again Bill for your effort on this Cabella’s capper.

  84. Craig Moore says:

    Dave S., I don’t think the fix would be that hard to implement. Take a look at FWP’s Hunting Access Guide that covers Block Management access. No reason that this framework could not apply to my suggested 50% solution. Here would be a new wrinkle. Those that would opt for 50% exclusivity would forego Block Management payments. The incentive would be their 50% exclusive use or nothing. Augment it with maybe 3 bull/buck permits for the landowner. The permit numbers could be tailored to acreage size. Half a loaf scenario being better than nothing.

  85. Connie Snyder says:

    Bill, what are you nuts! Talk about slandering Cabela’s maybe they should take legal action. If Cabela’s is selling land it is probably already privately owned. There are a lot of large ranches in states like Montana, Wyoming, Colorado that have been in family’s for generations that have decided to sell. Are you trying to say the new owner can’t develop the land as they see fit? How would you like it if someone told you what you could or couldn’t do with your land? I think you’re barking up the wrong tree!

  86. Mike Lashley says:

    I have been selling farm & ranch real estate for over 30 years. In Nebraska, we have enjoyed good hunting & fishing for a long time. I have noticed in the past 10 years that the numbers of upland game, pheasant & quail, have slowly diminished. The reason for this is clearly lack of habitat. The margins in farming & ranching have narrowed so greatly that every sq. ft. of soil has to be farmed or grazed. Without habitat, you do not have wildlife. Without wildlife, there is nothing to hunt. States such as South Dakota and Kansas have figured out that there is more productivity in tourism than there is in farming and ranching. These 2 states are prime examples of what habitat development and farming for wildlife can do. What has happened is there is a tremendous increase in the amount of numbers of game to hunt. However, no longer can a person, particularly an out of state person, or even an in-state person walk up to a farmer’s door and ask permission to hunt. A farmer or rancher will give permission only if there is a fee paid for the service. Over the past 5 years, recreational real estate has boomed in Nebraska. I have been fortunate enough to be a broker that has sold these lands to the hunter. In every case, it is the individual’s desire to improve the habitat on the property. Because of the increase in value of this type of real estate, the farmer next door is becoming more aware of habitat development himself. Our government has provided excellent programs to take farmland out of production and improve the habitat through such programs as the CRP Program (Conservation Reserve Program) and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (C.R.E.P.). What eventually will happen is there will be much more game to hunt in all of the areas of Nebraska. The farmers and ranchers are becoming very aware of the value of wildlife. This is all because of the marketing efforts of brokers like myself. Our association with Cabelas allows us to tell our story much more effectively. I cannot see what selling farm and ranch real estate to people for the purpose of developing wildlife habitat has to do with taking away public lands. None of the lands that I have sold were previously public. I believe you will see a change in the attitude of ranchers and farmers giving permission to just anybody to hunt. Because of the above mentioned lower, narrower margins in farming and ranching, the land owners will be looking at leasing their land out exclusively for hunting. There will be a day when all hunters will have to pay for the privilege to hunt private property in our state. There are currently thousands of acres of public land that is excellent hunting throughout our state. I cannot see that the sale of private property will affect any of the public hunting lands. If anything, the additional habitat development that will occur will increase the success of the public hunting lands. As a result of the recreational property sales in Nebraska, it has stabilized the farmer and rancher in many instances. An example of this would be the farmer that sells his riverbottom ground that is no good for grazing or farming to a hunter freeing up equity to buy more productive land or reduce the farmer’s or rancher’s debt. I feel that the association through Cabelas is a positive, good thing for our state. Respectively submitted. Michael G. Lashley, President, Lashley Land and Recreational Brokers, Inc.

  87. Connie Snyder says:

    Michael Lashley, I like your response and I feel you are more of an expert on the subject than the person who wrote the article and the negative responses shown here.

  88. Mark says:

    Michael Lashley, your comments send a chill up my spine.

    Sometimes it’s about more than the just money.

    No one’s talking about public lands. Everyone’s talking about public wildlife on private lands.

    In Montana, everyone’s tax dollars pay for programs like CRP. It’s hunting license fees that pay for most wildlife management. And I’m damn glad to pay it.

    But it’s a tricky thing when folks who benefit from tax funded programs and national wildlife conservation intiatives start exclusive Texas and European styled pay to hunt and lease programs.

    http://www.huntingnebraska.com/

    “There will be a day when all hunters will have to pay for the privilege to hunt private property in our state.”

    Brrrrr.

  89. Vicki Hawkins says:

    I am a native to Arizona and have seen a big change in our state. They are not all positive but people have to work & live somewhere. My opinion of our state’s vision is to establish a coalition of dedicated conservationists and sportsmen who address the issues that affect hunting, wildlife and wild habitat. My father was born & raised on a cattle ranch in southeast Arizona over 83 years ago. I would be an idiot to think that the old ranch hasn’t changed. I’ve been there and it has changed. Where do you want our children and grandchildren live. As a real estate broker for Cabela’s Trophy Properties I am not understanding your complaint. This is a free country and people buy and sale land, farms, and ranches everyday. I personally think it can be heartbreaking for farms and ranches to be sold because the newer generation doesn’t want anything to do with that lifestyle. I have never sold public land to individuals. We are the middle man bringing buyers and sellers to the table. You must think we have a lot more power and influence than we do. Proud to be a broker selling recreational properties and representing the buyers and sellers. There is not a person in my office that does not love and respect our wonderful White Mountains. None of us would associate with anyone that would and that is why we live, work, hunt, fish, hike, and enjoy our mountain. I have the upmost respect for Cabela’s and everything they have accomplished. Look on their website of their conservation partners like Angelers Legacy, National Bowhunters Education Foundation, Conservation Force, and Quality Deer Management Association the list goes on and on. Why do people look for the bad and not the good and believe without investigating the facts.

  90. Craig Moore says:

    Vicki Hawkins, as to bow hunters see what they are saying here: http://forums.bowsite.com/tf/regional/thread.cfm?threadid=140725&MESSAGES=17&state=MT

    Most are fairly upset with the Cabela’s involvement.

  91. Jack says:

    Yes Mr. Ashley you can try to defend Cabella’s but we are a little smarter here in Montana. Cabella’s want’s the public lands and the wildlife on private and public lands a public resource they want to ‘privatize’ our public wildlife.The Dovetail ranch, so-called ranch, includes nearly 1/2 public lands 12,000 acres BLM and State leases. According to the Federal Range Code BLM can deny transfering the grazing privileges to the new owner since it is not a viable ranch in the livestock business.Did you get that “grazing privileges not “rights”.But we have a right to be on and use public land. Wildlife has a right to be there. Grazing on ‘our land’ including state leases is a privilege. Run a few cows to make it look good is fraud. It’s all about a land and wildlife grab you know that. Let’s take all the public lands out of the so called ranch then it’s a 13,000 acre ranch not 25,000 as Cabella’s advertizes which is ‘false advertizing’. They also advertized “dinosaur digs”. That would violate a number of federal protection laws. I see they pulled it from their site now.Waterfowl hunting on the reservoirs? 1/2 are on public land we paid for.The new owners, Cabella’s, decided not to stay with FWP block management but you already know that. WHY?? Stop by the homeplace and ask permission to hunt? What is it a phone number with no one there? It’s hunting for the right people the “chosen few” you know that. Excluding the public land from these so called Cabella’s ranches is a good way to start let’s put the heat on the agencies to do that. High fences violate the Unlawful Inclosures Act of 1883 as amended. Is the RMEF going to hold elk inside high fences for the rich? There goes their donations in Montana. Ever hear of the Red Rim case in Wyoming?The federal judge ruled the landowner had to remove and /or modify 27 miles of fence within 90 days to comply with the Unlawful Inclosures Act of 1885. This applies to Montana as well a federal law. Federal law is supreme over state law.Antelope could not migrate to sagebrush winter range on BLM public land in the Lander area, many starved 1000’s. That’s federal law that applies to every state and Montana and Cabella’s “dream properties” check it out. Wildlife;deer,elk,antelope,wild sheep,moose,bear you name it is allowed free access to and from public lands 12 months a year and fences must be “wildlife friendly” thats a 43″ high fence with a 16-18″ bottomwire on the Dovetail ranch area and public lands. We are still working on the legality of using alfalfa fields to “bait” wild animals in and then close the gates. Under the UIA of 1885 gates do not make a illegal ‘barrier’ fence legal. This may all pop Cabella’s big Montana dream balloon so don’t dazzle us with real estate baloney. Bottomline is the average sporstmen made Cabella’s rich and now they turned their backs on us. Throw away their catalogs,cut up the old Cabella’s credit card shop elsewhere.Besides Pro Bass Shop and L.L. Bean has better merchandize by mail as well. Shop locally don’t by anything from Cabella’s not ever a ball cap. Why help a company who want’s to steal our public land and public wildlife? Wonder what they pay a real estate advisor for these real estate ‘cappers’. Cabella’s is following in the footsteps of Ted Turner in Montana. Buy nothing from Cabella’s if you charish public hunting for the average guy,wildlife and public land access,,,,,,,,,nothing! Wake up other states as well buy nothing from Cabella’s ever.

  92. Jack says:

    Yes, CRP is publically funded as ell. Started out with good intentions but now a ‘gravy train’. Landowner paid to be in CRP, our money again. Can graze anytime if drought…every year drought. Look at pheasant hunting now CRP. We paid for the habitat but exclusive hunting for the ‘chosen few’. Yes the wealthy love CRP.

  93. Greg says:

    I own recreational land in Colorado. It has a trophy mule deer, turkey, and herds of elk on it. It is my understanding that Cabela’s Trophy Properties is ONLY promoting private land owners across the world by having a listing service for private property owners. This enables people like myself to help sell and buy property. The audience that Cabelas has are the people that I want to sell to. Recreational minded people value my property differently than “Suburbian Joe” down the block. And, if I want to buy, they have the VERY BEST SELECTION of properties avialable. There is no other source of that has the diverse inventory than Cabela’s Trophy Properties! Cabela’s Trophy Properties is a WIN for everyone! Cabela’s are not buying the properties, the private homeowners like myself are using this service to gain and sell properties! The average real estate company has NO CLUE how to sell my property and for what price it should be valued at. Big or small, Cabela’s Trophy properties has so much to offer the private investor. So, as far as a listing service, which Cabela’ Trophy Properties is, it is the VERY BEST in the business!

    Oh, by the way. Many recreational land purchasers dedicate portions of their properties to Conservation programs. Recreational land owners care very much about the habitat they purchase. Cabela’s is helping our recreational lives and the lives of others in this free country!

    Oh, by the way Cabela’s is spelled with only one “l”.

    Best Regards, Greg

  94. Dean says:

    DON’T BUY ANYTHING FROM CABELA’s, WITH one”L”

  95. Marion says:

    Too late, my stuff from Cabela’s was delivered tonight! My son’s would be upset if they got nothing from Cabela’s for Christmas.

  96. Elizabeth Fry says:

    It seems to me that this issue really has nothing to do with Cabela’s . The issue is Individual Private Property Rights. Cabela’s is a retailer of fine sporting goods. Cabela’s Trophy Properties, LLC is a lifestyle listing service that provides Hand Selected Ranch Brokers an audience of sports minded customers. I’m very appalled that Cabela’s great name and reputation has been brought into this argument and slandered in an attempt to get attention.
    One of my biggest concerns about this country is that it is becoming a nation of “entitlement”. Why should we feel entitled to something that we didn’t earn or pay for? Property owners have a constitutional right to sell, lease, or convey their property however they wish. We pay to play golf and to snow ski because somebody bought the property, developed it and made it available to people for a price. Why should it be different for hunting or fishing? Yes, the animals are free to roam from property to property, but someone has to pay for the land that they live on. If you didn’t pay for the property, maintain the property, pay the taxes and insurance on the property, why do you think you should have the right to use the property or hunt for the wildlife that lives on the property?
    My brokerage, Showcase Properties International, Inc., is the exclusive Broker affiliated with Cabela’s Trophy Properties here in California. I can tell you first hand that our customers care about the lands and the wildlife that is supports. Often times they have their own Wildlife Management Program to ensure that there is sufficient habitat for their survival. They also care about, and often fund, restoration projects and place their property “willingly” into conservation programs.
    The agents and brokers that work with me are here because of Cabela’s. They love land, they love to hunt and fish, they love nature, they love Cabela’s and all that it stands for. Many of my Agents and Brokers have been involved in Nature Conservancy, Water Conservation, Farm Management, Environmental Management, Duck’s unlimited, Mule Deer Foundation, and the list goes on. We have represented no properties being taken out of Public ownership and placed into private ownership; in fact, we have facilitated Conservation easements and sales to Land Trusts for Public use and environmental mitigation banks.
    You can say that your issues are only in the state of Montana, but when you attack Cabela’s and Cabela’s Trophy Properties, you are attacking the character of the people in the entire nation. We are a nation that believes in Private Property Rights.

  97. Mark MT says:

    Elizabeth –

    Thanks for taking the time to join in the conversation. It’s really good to hear both sides of things. It’s great to hear that your clients are conservation oriented. And, frankly, it’s not surprising.

    My guess is that it’s likely not a sense of “entitlement”. It’s more a sense of loss. In Montana, those properties are more than likely going to someone who lives a long ways from here. Likely going to someone who is not a member of our community. And likely going to someone who doesn’t share our cultural values. We know that soon we’re going to be standing at our fence line looking at a big track of land owned by somebody we don’t know.

    We see our state and our way of life eroding and because so many have supported Cabelas for so long and have so much respect for the brand… well it probably feels a bit like a betrayal to see what appears like Cabelas endorsing this loss.

    It’s much more emotional than logical. I doubt it’s personal.

    I’m sure that most of the folks who’ve been ranting on this page – including me – share many values with your agents and brokers. I bet your folks feel the same sense of loss. This “new” sportsman/woman buying trend is a big deal. It’s an escalating resource race and it’s going to change Montana’s cultural and natural landscape in positive and negative ways from here to eternity.

    And, let’s face it. A lot of the increased value of those properties is represented by: (1) farming and ranching families who have been good stewards of the land; and (2) public wildlife protected nationally and regionally through publicly funded programs that have operated a long, long time. Here in Montana, we feel rightly proud that hunters and anglers are by and large responsible for the great wildlife we all enjoy.

    So, people are respectful of private property rights. That’s not the point. They are just a little bit ruffled and nervous by the winds blowing in a change of owners.

    Personally, I’d just be pleased to see companies like Cabelas working to make it as positive a transition as possible.

    And you’re absolutely correct. Any realtor could sell those properties at any time for any reason. Of course.

    But, these properties are “hot” because they have wildlife value. A Cabelas endorsement certifies this value.

    Presumably, you and other brokers think it’s worth the time and money to secure a Cabelas exclusive for your region. Their endorsement is worth something in the market. Being a “Cabelas Trophy Property” most probably represents an increased price. At the very least, your brokerage and the property benefits from the Cabelas name.

    So, here’s the rub.

    Has Cabelas considered leveraging this value by making it a condition of their “endorsement” that all properties advertised and sold in Montana will somehow reflect the core values of their customer base here in Montana and most other places, i.e., conservation easements, no sub-divisions, public access rights to public land, improved wildlife management, etc., or are these ideas just plain crazy?

    Sure, asking that sales be conditioned upon public access to private property is a bit of a head-scratcher, but it’s not far-fetched to see a small contribution from each sale allocated to hunter access programs. As one person suggested on the Orvis comment page, follow Patagonia’s lead and donate 1% of the sale price. That would be huge in a low-income place like Montana.

    It’s also not ridiculous to consider using a portion of sales proceeds to off set perceived access losses with the purchase of other prime habitat designated as “Cabelas Wildlife Ranches” or some such thing. Boone and Crockett’s TR ranch provides a decent example here in Montana, approximately ten sections of prime ground that the public can hunt with a reservation.

    Doing something like this would be a damn impressive and brave move for a company to make. I’d imagine your brokers and agents would feel like it’s the right thing to do. As you state, your clients are conservation oriented and the products seem “hot”, so it shouldn’t bother the market one bit. It would mean Cabelas is getting some transparent marketing out of its investment and would bring a lot of Cabelas fans back to the fold.

    I’m not a realtor and will likely never be able to afford one of these trophy properties now that they are priced beyond the means of most Montanans. So, I’m asking sincerely. Are ideas like this being discussed?

  98. Dave Skinner says:

    Elizabeth is right about the “entitlement” mentality.

    As for the Weaver sale, it’s too bad there wasn’t some creativity here in how the thing will be sold. What about joint-tenancy-in-common for the bulk of the parcel (acres divided by 20 or whatever size is now being sold) with the homesites on the least productive dirt? At sell-out, then the neighborhood association or whatever could vote on BMA or not. The end product would be better for the wildlife, no matter who hunts them.

  99. Jeff Donaldson says:

    I, like Elizabeth, am a Cabela’s Trophy Properties Broker in North Carolina and support her comments. From what I have read in the articles and comments I am not sure I understand how anyone could feel Cabela’s is responsible for this loss of public hunting land. This issue is really about private property rights and yet it would appear that the Cabela’s company is somehow being made the scapegoat. I am not sure how anyone could feel that the broker involved with this transaction or Cabela’s could have affected the condtions of this sale. Under state law the broker has a fiduciary duty to his client, the seller, who will ultimately make the decision if he will place restrictive covanents on the property that will protect the property or the surrounding property owners from certain uses? This decision is ultimately one that lies solely with the seller should he decide to sell.
    To look at all the pro-hunting, pro-fishing and conservation efforts that Cabela’s has supported over the years it just does not make sense to me why folks would attempt to tarnish the Cabela’s name in this situation where Cabela’s has no way of controling what a new buyer will do with a newly purchased tract of land.
    In most cases, I have seen just the opposite. Our association with Cabela’s Trophy Properties has helped us put more conservation minded sportsman in touch with recreational properties than ever before. Where large tracts of land may have gone to developers in the past we now have a resource through Cabela’s Trophy Properties to reach potential buyers who believe in the outdoor lifestyle, who love hunting, fishing and outdoor sports.
    These are the type of folks that we like to see purchasing these large tracts that are being liquided in the south right now by many large timber and paper companies. It would be nice if these timber and paper companies could continue to hang on to these tracts and continue to make them available for us to hunt, but it is their right to sell when ever they feel it is in the companies best interest.
    Yes, our world is changing and it is difficult to think that in years to come hunting land will become increasingly difficult to find, especailly those lands for public access. We would love to see these large tracts stay together and not be developed, but unless we can purchase these ourselves or locate folks that have the same love for hunting, fishing and conservation that we do to purchase these tracts then these properties may continue to be sold to folks with the ulitmate goal of “growing” houses.
    Our assocation with Cabela’s Trophy Properties and the network of brokers all over the world that share this same love for hunting, fishing, and conservation has created a resource for potential buyers that share this love. If anything, this resource has helped to protect and continue this lifestyle. Bottom line, as long as United States of America believes in and adheres to the private property rights of its citizens those of us that do not own the property may not be able to affect the end use. However, such wonderful companies as Cabela’s who have continued to foster and promote hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation are a continued resource for past, present and future support of this outdoor lifestyle. It would appear to me that an attempt to slander folks like Cabela’s would ultimately be counter-productive.

  100. Craig Moore says:

    For Jeff and Elizabeth, I understand how you would defend your livelihood. Now, how much less would these Trophy lands be worth if the states closed down all hunting and fishing? 1/2 maybe? Therefore, that ‘amenity’ premium is built on something the landowners don’t own, the wild animals. These animals are not anything like a lake or view that stays with the property. Private property rights extend to the minerals, water rights, dirt, betterments, and improvements, NOT the wild animals. I wish you and every broker success in selling property for what the property is truly worth and without the amenity premium for the exclusive harvesting of the sovereign’s animals.

  101. gmpdwh says:

    As a real-estate sales person whom is participaiting with Cabelas! I fail to see where Cabelas is at fault here! If the local ABC real-estate company Brokered the transaction, would you then come down on them and bury there company for doing business the American way!! If you understand the laws of real-estate then you would know that a buyer can do what they feel is best for them as far as restrictions go. I am a avid hunter and understand the pain the locals are going thru, but by no means does Cabelas(or anyone else, for that matter) have any control over what a Individual property owner does when he or she takes control of the property after closing. There is nothing you or I can do to stop the trading of land across America!! All we can do is approach the owners now and hope they put the land in conservation, donate it to the state or if they decide to sell, hopefully it is to like minded Buyers, or they have the forsight to protect the open hunting grounds to the public in the DEED! I hope you all understand that it is not up to Cabelas what people do with there land!! It is up to the people whom are involved in the Real estate Transaction!! (buyers and Sellers)

  102. elfman says:

    Craig – again… what they own is a strategically located piece of property on which resides wild game animals owned by the people. Your viewshed example is a good one. What about a ranch that is located near a forest service boundary with an exclusive view of one of the most beautiful mountain peaks on earth (that happens to be located on forest service land) that nobody else gets to see because of the fact that the property is situated in a manner that prevents this? Do you want to somehow regulate the right of that owner to achieve maximum proceeds by disallowing him to sell the ranch by touting the exclusive view as an amenity. He does not own the mountain any more than he owns the game traversing his ranch but he, nonetheless, has exclusive enjoyment of the same.

  103. Thor says:

    Everyone keeps saying here in Montana. There are land use issues everywhere.

    I was born and raised in Mt. (fourth generation) Live for my next hunting or fishing trip. I also see all the changes that are taking place, like it or not. I feel it is an honor for my company to be affiliated with Cabela’s Trophy Properties. We are not the enemy, we are just trying to help the recreationalist (In state or out of state) find the right piece of property to fit there needs or dreams.

    We work with five different conservation groups trying to help not only the potential new owners of property, but existing farm/ranch families who want to do whats best for THEIR property. There are thousands of other real estate agents out there selling/developing everything under the sun in Montana, why aren’t you attacking them?. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who works as hard as we do to keep Montana the same beautiful state it presently is. I am presently working with an (out of state) buyer that wishes to donate the entire ranch back to a conservation group because he feels he owes it to the animals……..you never hear the good things, just the bad.

  104. Connie Snyder says:

    I’m really starting to wonder about the mentality of the Montana people. You are really starting to sound like you live in a cave. I have looked at the properties on Cabela’s web site and they only promote recreational properties, they are not trying to promote big development at all. Property owners are just not wanting to let any hunter come on their property and hunt. I think there is real value with Cabela’s. Craig wake up and stop being such a JERK!

  105. Craig Moore says:

    Connie, before you call other people names make sure you understand both the issues and the facts. Nowhere have I chastised Cabela’s over promoting big development as you claim. They promote buying exclusivity to the sovereign’s animals. All of the Cabela’s ads that I have read sell the elk, deer, fish, and game birds as the prime ornament to potential buyers. See: http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2006-11-06-trophy-ranches_x.htm

    >>>>>>
    Michael Lashley, a Cabela’s affiliate in Sutherland, Neb., says 90% of his sales in 2000 were for agricultural use. Today, 90% of his ranch sales are for hunting, fishing and recreational use.

    Although websites bring in more business, he says nothing closes a trophy-ranch deal like an on-the-ground visit. Last week, he took an out-of-state buyer to a 600-acre ranch on the Republican River in southwestern Nebraska.

    “I drive my red Suburban through the brush, scare up the deer and wild turkey,” Lashley says, “and the guy gets googly-eyed and says, ‘Well, I’ll be back with the check.’ ”
    <<<<<<<<<<<

  106. Rich Fletcher says:

    As a life-long hunter and career real estate broker, I see Cabela’s Trophy Properties as a great opportunity to expand our collective hunting territories. Too often hunters become self serving in their view of hunting territories. Property ownership takes on different forms in different neighborhoods. The North American model for wildlife management has opened up vast areas to public hunting. It is unfortunate that property ownership and hunting opportunities sometimes create conflicts.

    Hunters have often plotted ways to monopolize on hunting opportunity, ways that are unethical or illegal. However, property ownership is neither of those. It’s a genuine method of controlling the management of property. It’s straightforward and honest in it’s approach.

    If one wants to be cynical or underhanded, there are many ways to influence public opinion for one’s own advantage. Look at the advertising on the blogs that are feeding this controversy. Writers write to earn a living. The more people get involved in this issue, the more money the blog writer makes.

    Is that unethical? These types of issues are double edged swords – they cut both ways. One real estate listing may move public hunters off land they have hunted for years. However, instead of complaining about their loss, maybe they should be thankful that generous property owners have shared their hunting opporuntities for generations.

    In the long run, Cabela’s Trophy Properties will do more to benefit sportsmen than harm them. It’s better to have hunters involved than Land Developers with no consideration for or understanding of hunting and conservation. That’s the worst case.

  107. graydon says:

    I am a Cabela’s Trophy Properties affiliate. Cabela’s Trophy Properties provides it’s affiliates marketing of their properties. Cabela’s has nothing to do with any of our transactions. Suggesting that Cabela’s has hurt the hunting industry is absurd! New West advertises real estate companies as well. Does this mean that if one of those companies sells a piece of land that was publicly hunted then Far West has hurt the hunting industry? That is absolutly crazy! I have met many of the Cabela’s Corporate people and I promise you, they are not only die hard outdoorsmen and women, they are actually down to earth , good folk. All of the affiliate brokers are top notch and good people. I do not understand why you have targeted one of the finest companies in America for something that it has no controll over. The land is privately owned and is leased by the state for the public to use. It is a concept that is used by many states in the union. The problem is that the states don’t pay enough to make it worth it to the land owners anymore. The lands are often being abused by the public at the land owner’s expense for pennies on the dollar. At todays land prices the land owners can sell and not put up with the hassle. If the state paid you $500 per year to lease your house for homeless people to use and your house cost you $3,000 a year in taxes then you would be insane not to sell it if you were offered $400,000. This is the problem. Bottom line is that it is private property and in this country you have the right to do as you please with it. If an afilliate Cabela’s Trophy Properties had not sold the property then somebody else would have because the owner wanted to sell. If you think a boycott of Cabela’s is the solution then you are wrong. The state needs to up the lease amount and make it worth while for the private land owner and purchase the land itself for public use. That way the american property owner does not get cheated out their constitutional rights. Targeting Cabela’s over this issue is not right and offers absolutly zero solution to a very real problem in the state’s hunting industry.

  108. craig r. johnson says:

    My name is Craig R. Johnson and I am a Cabela’s Trophy Properties participant in west central Wisconsin. I am an avid outdoorsman and a land owner.

    This discussion about access to lands reminds me of a situation found here in Wisconsin. Along with thousands of individual property owners, several large corporations (many of them in the paper industry) own hundreds of thousands of acres of wild lands. Some have chosen to enroll some of this acreage in forestry programs that provide a tax break to the owner in exchange for approved resource management and in some cases, limited public access for certain recreational uses. The choice to participate in such a program would be an example of an owner’s PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS. Many Wisconsinites have enjoyed the PRIVILEGE of access to these lands for years, decades even in some cases. This has been a good thing for a lot of people, including me because we’ve been able to enjoy recreational opportunities on someone elses land. In recent years some of these owners (individuals and corporations alike) have elected to allow their program enrollement contracts to expire or they have paid the removal costs, eliminating both their tax benefits as well as the obligatory public access privilege. If you or I were one of the people who had enjoyed the PRIVILEGE of recreation on these lands then we might well be disappointed. However, it would be a real stretch to say we’d been mistreated by the owner’s exercise of his RIGHT.

    What I see happening in Montana seems a reasonable comparison in terms of an owner deciding to avail themselves of an opportunity to exercise their PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS. And just as here in Wisconsin, there are people who are disappointed in the impact of these owners’ exercise of their RIGHTS.

    What troubles me is the perception that somehow the owner is a “bad guy” because they’ve made a choice to exercise a PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHT. Even more confusing is the effort to cast the broker or marketer as a bad guy for facilitating this situation.

    In all honestly it just seems a bit disingenuous to play the victim while assuming an entitlement you are not owed. I’d be right there with you if access to publicly held lands was being infringed but these are not public lands. They are PRIVATE. This just smacks of a thinly veiled attempt to elicit sympathetic “underdog” mentality through vilification of an honorable company to serve the self-serving agenda of specific segment of society.

    I will continue to enjoy the PRIVILEGE of hunting on public lands, hunting with permission on private lands enrolled in “public access programs”, hunting with permission on private lands not enrolled in “public access programs” as well as the PRIVILEGE (yes, hunting itself is a PRIVILEGE) of hunting on my own privately owned property. I will continue to enjoy the RIGHT of determining whether and with whom I share access to my privately owned acreage.

    We’re coming up on an election year. As you consider your constitutional right and responsibility to elect a new leader for our country, I invite you to recall the founding principles of our country, including PERSONAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. It’s worth another look since so many “boundary stones have been moved” that some people have forgotten or never knew where we started.

    “A man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.” — James Madison on Property, (1792).

  109. Larry says:

    I just spent 30 minutes compiling a response to these “Cabela’s Trophy Properties” brokers and New West erased it. I guess they won’t retrieve it for me, so I’ll be more brief. None of you brokers know what you’re talking about in Montana. You scream “private property Rights” in places where BLM, Forest Service, and State Lands are in the mix. You haven’t addressed we Montanan’s loss of hunting/fishing these parcels that were available to us when the Dovetail Ranch was in Block Management. You pretend like its simply a case of private property, it isn’t. This isn’t Wisconsin, this isn’t Nebraska, this isn’t Colorado, thank god, it’s Montana. I would be willing to bet that there isn’t one acre of land being offered by CTP that hasn’t been enhanced by some kind of public subsidy financed by our taxes. Grazing leases on BLM are 1/10 neighboring private grass leases – subsidized by my taxes – CRP funding comes from my taxes. .. now with those enhancements comes burgeoning publicly-owned wildlife, and lo and behold, the land is more attractive for purchase by the neo-rich who love to hunt. Would any of you brokers be investing your time and money knocking on doors if a nationwide market wasn’t at your disposal? I didn’t think so, your return on investment wouldn’t make it worth your time. I started out buying flytying materials from Herters, 1st because they actually provided it, & 2nd because it was cheap. Cabelas came on their heels, so I bought my supplies there at a reasonable price, I was grateful. Now the same company that advanced because everyday sportsmen could afford their products in facilitating the conversion of our “public Property rights” into exclusive private use at a price we everyday sportsmen can’t afford. I take exception to this and will not be quiet about it. In Montana, we are seeing public roads gated because the enclosed land is more valuable to the broker because it gives private exclusive use of our “public lands” for a premium price. To think Cabela’s is participating in this kind of deterioration of “my” lifestyle, is anathema to me. So to all of you defenders of the Caberla’s marketplace, I say, “don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins”!! None of you have addressed the loss of our public lands when you sell the bordering private land. Give it back, it’s mine!

  110. indiana says:

    hey is there a law in Montana that entitles hunters to hunt on another personsproperty?

  111. elfman says:

    Larry – they were never “your” properties. Yes, they are yours in the sense that they are under public ownership but they never had legal easements attached to them for public access. That is a very important point. The only reason you were able to access them before is because the previous owner of the privately owned ranch decided to allow access (not to mention be paid for it) via BM. This, in turn, gave you TEMPORARY access to those publicly owned parcels. Now the new owner has decided not to enroll his property in BM. As a result, you do not have legal access to those publicly owned parcels anymore. It is very simple. It is just the law. Just because a given parcel of land is owned by the government or a private individual does not guarantee a right of legal access. Study up on easements.

  112. elfman says:

    By the way, many publicly owned parcels DO have legal access to them and you will never have that taken away from you no matter who owns the surrounding ranch.

  113. Dave Skinner says:

    Dang, Bill,
    You really know how to stir up the fertilizer. It’s been aerosolized in this case. This has been a real education in the fundamental philosophic divide between the camps on who owns what and who has what rights. I really am driven to conclude this is all hard-wired in our brains…as is the desire to conduct opportunistic predation.

  114. indiana says:

    Woah…. Larry…really. “give it back, it’s mine? the private land was never yours…hellow. I think I agree with Connie, I’m starting to worry about the cave man mentality in Montana. The truth is that a crafty columnist wrongly implicated the fine Company of Cabela’s purly for the media spin and profits. I’m really suprised that Montana hunters didn’t purchase the property before evil outsiders had the oppertunity. You all have enjoyed a opportunity to hunt on another persons property, at least be honest and be greatful.

  115. Marion says:

    I wish each of us could put ourselves in the position of the seller. Would we want a realtor who would play down the assets on our property and would not get the best price possible for us? Would we want anyone to insist we had to take a poorer realtor because someone wanted to continue to use our property for what they wanted like a cut across to a city park etc, and they didn’t want it to sell? Probably most of these ranchers need to sell, and they need the maximum out of their land. More and more ranchers are being forced off the land every day, they do deseerve the best representative to sell their land that they can find.
    True the landowner does not own the wildlife, but that does not mean he must chase it off his ranch even if he could.

  116. Larry says:

    Hey Indiana, I said give me back my PUBLIC land, what this noise about private land was never mine… So, are you saying that the BLM and State lands belongs to the private landowner?????? Over my dead body!!! or maybe you just don’t practice “active” listening, because if you actually heard what I said, or Bill S. you might actually get where our problems lie. Instead, I read these attacks on the everyday guys who are the losers in this game of who has more money. Cave man mentality indeed, you certainly demonstrate that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  117. elfman says:

    AGAIN, IT DOES NOT MATTER WHO OWNS THE LAND IF THERE IS NO EASEMENT TO IT, PERIOD! DOES ANYONE HERE UNDERSTAND THAT?

  118. Larry says:

    Why not elfman… this is a problem. The State/BLM has the right to condemn land for access to their minerals, grass or timber but doesn’t because public sentiment would kill ‘em. But you seem to miss one very clear distinction when dealing with the Cabela’s Brokers who have screamed private property rights here. IN many cases, they don’t have pieces of public land scattered in their purchases. Now, whether or not an easement exists doiesn’t change that, it remains in public ownership, and the public’s interests must be considered. Evidently, you didn’t try to travel the county road into the Highland Mountains where a private developer put up a gate so his “investment” would be more valuable. These are the tricks being played on us everyday. The Bullwhacker road in the Breaks was a public thorofare for over 100 years until it was blocked by the rancher who owned 3 of the 40 miles of road. What you say is true in the ideal situation, but most of these places, it’s not that clear cut. You’re offering excuses instead of solutions.

  119. Bill says:

    Larry,

    The reason you are angry is because you are in the wrong country. The rest of you have established other countries on the planet. You would be much happier if you moved closer to your own kind. I have enclosed a description of your people since you are so lost. Don’t forget to donate your property to the public on the way out.

    Socialism’s fundamental principles are centered on a critique of this concept, stating, among other things, that the cost of defending property is higher than the returns from private property ownership, and that even when property rights encourage the property-holder to develop his property, generate wealth, etc., he will only do so for his own benefit, which may not coincide with the benefit of other people or society at large
    Libertarian socialism generally accepts property rights, but with a short abandonment time period. In other words, a person must make (more or less) continuous use of the item or else he loses ownership rights. This is usually referred to as “possession property” or “usufruct.” Thus, in this usufruct system, absentee ownership is illegitimate, and workers own the machines they work with.
    Communism argues that only collective ownership of the means of production through a polity (though not necessarily a state) will assure the minimization of unequal or unjust outcomes and the maximization of benefits, and that therefore private property (which in communist theory is limited to capital (economics)) should be abolished.
    Both communism and some kinds of socialism have also upheld the notion that private property is inherently illegitimate. This argument is centered mainly on the idea that the creation of private property will always benefit one class over another, giving way to domination through the use of this private property. Communists are naturally not opposed to personal property which is “Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned” (Communist Manifesto), by members of the proletariat.

  120. Mark MT says:

    Thor, Craig, Elizabeth, Graydon, gmpdwh, Jeff, Mike –

    Thanks for joining the conversation. And, Thor, thanks for your efforts. Really.

    However, I remain curious regarding my questions above.

    “Has Cabelas considered leveraging this value by making it a condition of their “endorsement” that all properties advertised and sold in Montana will somehow reflect the core values of their customer base here in Montana and most other places, i.e., conservation easements, no sub-divisions, public access rights to public land, improved wildlife management, etc., or are these ideas just plain crazy?”

    James Hathaway offers concrete examples of how Orvis makes a money and leverages conservation…. Orvis starts by donating 5% of pre-tax profits to conservation and then screens properties, buyers, and sellers in an attempt to maximize conservation and market value.

    http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/orvis_dont_be_another_cabelas/C41/L41/#comments

    This isn’t about private property rights. That’s a legal issue.

    This is about corporate responsibility.

    Look forward to hearing your answers.

  121. graydon says:

    Hi Mark,

    I just advertise with Cabela’s Trophy Properties and cannot speak for Cabela’s or Cabela’s Trophy Properties. You will have to pose that question to Cabela’s Trophy Properties itself.

    I am able to give my own seperate opinion.

    I respecfully disagree with the assumption that the core value of all sportsman is conservation easements, no sub-divisions, public access rights to public land, improved wildlife management, etc. but I respect the fact that is important to some. No, I do not think the ideas are plain crazy. My firm has put deals together for investors who feel the exact same way you do. Believe it or not, there are wealthy people who strive for some or all of your goals and spend big money on achieving these ideals. I have done deals with family estates where part or all of the family ranch is willed to the state. I also have done deals for other sportsmen who do not agree with these ideals at all. Real Estate Proffesionals are bound by the law to act in a fiduciary capcity for principle they represent in a transaction. I will assure that most Buyers and Sellers do not share their ideologies with us, they just want excellence and proffesionalism and we do our best to deliver just that. I think it is safe to say that the owner who sold the land in question is one of Cabela’s customer base as well.

    I also understand that no one likes to see a beautiful ranch subdivided by a developer but most of us live in a house, on a lot, in a nieghborhood, that at one time used to be a beautiful ranch. The reality is that our population grows exponentially and people need houses. This is how it happens. It starts with the division of a ranch and many years later those divided parcels are divided again and again. I would say that most people did not struggle with the concept of ranch subdivision when they purchased their home.

    I am all for corporate responsibility as long as the definition is sound. Cabela’s provides big money to support sportsman, the lands we utilize, and the animals we love. You will have to ask Cabela’s what the exact numbers are. They are the really good people and would probably be happy to provide you with the information.

    I have to disagree with you that Cabela’s should put conditions on their endorsement of property advertised through Cabela’s Trophy Properties other than the properties should be of the utmost quality and be worthy to be advertised by them. The listings themselve are not the property of Cabela’s Trophy Properties, they are the property of the Real Estate Brokers like myself whom affiliate ourselves with them and are honored to do so. I pay Cabela’s Trophy Properties for advertiseing and that is what I should recieve. I would be insulted if they started telling me what to list and what not to. My moral compass is sound and I am able to make those decisions myself. If I ever abused that aspect of my relationship with them then I assure you, they would part ways with me with quickly. They are a corporation that does not tolerate monkey buisiness.

    I hope that you can respect my opinions as I have respected your Mark. My opinion is that conservation easements, no sub-divisions, public access rights to public land, improved wildlife management, etc are good things as long as they are not forced on a private land owner. These are goals that should be invested in once a property is purchased. Again, a purchaser should not be forced to do so. It should be done by free will by the rightful owner who has the constitutional right to determine the use of the land.

    It is 1:00 am so if I misspelled anything I apologize. Need sleep, gotta go.

  122. Mark MT says:

    Graydon –

    Thanks for the straight answer. Very much appreciate and respect the thoughts… and the spelling seemed pretty good to me.

    There are two things at play from my perspective.

    The first is corporate responsibility.

    I certainly believe that your individual intentions are good. I’m also impressed by what James had to say about the Orvis properties and how they seem to filter what they choose to represent. I think that has value for all the players – community, company, buyer, seller and broker. It says, “We won’t represent every property. We’ll only represent properties that reflect our corporate values.”

    It certainly has value to me as a consumer. We have plenty of elbow room and will probably never buy a “trophy” property, but I sure do buy a lot of fly fishing gear.

    So I certainly don’t know all the facts and may be reading too much into James’ comments, but at first blush it seems like there might be some lessons in that model for a good company like Cabelas. And, yes, I know a few of the folks at Cabelas and agree with your assessment.

    The second thing is this….

    I hear you when you say “forced on the private land owner.” Nobody likes that.

    However, we also don’t mind things like building restrictions and land use regulations – gasp – when they protect our interests.

    If one wants to enjoy open space, improve wildlife management and hunting opportunities, and all the rest I believe there’s nothing wrong with getting together with the neighbors and working with your government (it is ours) to get those things done.

    Almost every person I meet hates to see our landscape disappear under a weedy blossom of haphazard development, but unfortunately most don’t mobilize their communities to do anything about it. They don’t seem willing to utilize the legal tools out there that allow communities to define “development” rather than be defined by development.

    The result is that individuals either complain about property owners just doing what they are legally entitled to do or folks stand around and watch, hoping that sellers and buyers have enough vision to initiate “community accepted” practices on their own. Which, as you note, is not always the case.

    I happen to live in a unique corner of Montana where most of those things you and I listed as “good” are forced on the private land-owner. And I’m not talking about a PUD. :-)

    Just like anywhere, we can’t alter our wetlands without a permit and we have to make concessions for the bears and the wolves. But we also can’t divide our property because folks here made a decision that agriculture, open space and wildlife habitat are much more important to them than speculation and subdivision.

    I suppose those things are “forced” on us and some people complain. But most understand that it’s in their best interest.

    So, thanks again for the comments! All good stuff to think about on a cold Friday night.

  123. graydon says:

    Mark,

    I believe Cabela’s has these ideals currently in place and is being accused unjustly.

    The property that caused these discussions was at one time leased by the state. It is my understanding that the Owner was very dissopointed in the treatment of his lands by the public which utilized it (a handful of bad eggs can spoil the salad). The Owner then started recieving threats because he was unwilling to lease to the state and the situation was getting ugly. The owner decided that the ownership of the land was not worth the harrassment so he sold and removed himself from the situation. This is the story that was relayed to me by people involved in the situation.

    The facts are the property was not legally open to the public once the lease terminated. The owner sold the property.

    Cabela’s is being treated unfairley in this situation. They have pumped a ton of money into the Montana economy and given freely to sportsmans causes. Yet Cabela’s principles and ideals are being attacked by the people whom it has invested in.

    Notice that not one person has attaked the Banks that funded the deal or the state government for transferring title. They singled out Cabela’s and Orvis. I think it is wrong.

    I agree with you Mark that if you want change then citizens must work for it which is much different then complaining when people excercise their rights. People can WORK to pass laws tat prevent things the feel are not in the best interest of the public. They can petition the State to purchase land for Block Management as opposed to leasing it. Intrest groups can form and raise money to buy the lands theirselves (1,000 poor men can be a very wealthy group). Laws can be passed.

    I bet that other owners may not renew their leases in the future and decide to sell. People may buy those properties and use it for things that others do not agree with. This incident is not the first or the last.

    If you dont like the bugs then put some bug spray on!

  124. Mark MT says:

    Fair enough. That deal was out of the chute a long time ago. But it’s a good learning experience.

    That one deal – and I’m pretty familiar with the details – certainly seems to have tarnished Cabelas reputation with quite a few of their supporters here in Montana.

    To me, it shows that it may not be a very wise business decision by Cabelas to fail to practice a bit of diligence and pro-active discretion when it comes to endorsing land transactions with their name.

    Otherwise, they just look like another land broker. And even more “risky” to their corporate image… they are seen by their customers as a land broker associated with facilitating the haphazard movement of properties with the highest wildlife values.

    Sure there are subtle differences with their approach and other operations, but brass-tacks is they have now given their name to the wildlife land sales business.

    Making that corporate decision is fine. However, failing to accompany that decision with conditions that tangibly reflect proclaimed corporate ethics seems a bit contradictory.

    As you note, Cabelas associates with and supports hunting and conservation organizations. That’s great. And I’m not making light of these contributions, but writing a check is one thing. Acting in ways the reflect the values that check represents is quite another.

    So when I see a company like Cabelas that has a chance to actually show its customers in a very tangible way that they actually believe in what most of those hunting and conservation groups stand for and their actions seem to fall short, that gives me pause.

    The bottom line is, I wouldn’t expect banks and the State to deal with things any differently. They are just following the rules.

    But I would expect a company that says they support hunters and conservation to reflect that support in their own decisions and actions.

  125. Rich says:

    Bunk to those who think Cabela’s is being unfairly accused. Corporate dollars couldn’t care less about the little guy unless it how they are going to fleece him out of a few bucks yet one more time. I have listened to politicians throughout life extolling the virtues of a growing corporate economy. All the while as I have seen hunting and fishing opportunities diminish throughout the west.

    I would like to see lease agreements for the use of public land for grazing purposes include a clause stipulating that all the land controlled by the leasing entity, public and private, be open to public hunting, and fishing. Montana’s block management program is good example of how such a program should be managed. For such a program I would gladly pay a few extra dollars.

    As of now I am no longer the loyal customer of Cabelas that I have been for a good many years. I will do everything within my power to discourage my friends, relatives and acquaintances from shopping at Cabelas.

    Like so many who have migrated to the mountain west and brought their convoluted values with them – Cabelas can go back to wherever the hell they came from. We did just fine for decades without them anyway.

    A good friend recently offered his opinion of RMEF with these words, ” It seems like they exist only to ‘pimp’ our elk.” Move over RMEF, Cabelas has just moved into the neighborhood and we’re all going to get screwed (again).

  126. Jack says:

    Hi Larry and Rich. Perhaps you are from Montana as well you call a spade a spade we know what’s going on here. Cabela’s and brokers want our public land and the wildlife on private and public land as well.Why do you think all these out of state hunters come to Montana? Their state is screwed up with these kind of deals and they have no place to hunt. The RMEF is a gimmick organization to make money.So Cabela’s and brokers tied in with them. What have they done for elk on the ground they don’e ever speak out on wolves killing elk in Montana? I guess you know their Habitat Program is operated like a credit card company and bank and they LOAN the money and want ALL their money back +high interest. Duck’s Unlimited is just the opposite. They use the donated money for on the ground projects for waterfowl enhancement and turn the management over to management agencies and ask for none back and go on to another on the ground project. Cabela’s… Montana doesn’t need you and your slick real estate deals we treasure our public lands,public land access for ALL and wildlife and don’t want either PRIVATIZED.We hope your new store doesn’t make it. Do no business with that Cabela’s outfit if you value hunting and public land access in Montana. Brokers peddle your ‘hot air’ somewhere else.

  127. Dean Dudden, Sunset Ridge Real Estate says:

    I am an independent Cabela’s Trophy Property broker and proud of it. I do not work for Cabela’s, Cabela’s works for me and my clients.

    One of the pillars this country was founded on was the private ownership of land and the private property rights that convey with it. Most of the arguments I have read sound like the class envy that liberals always try to use to stir the masses simply to amass power for themselves.

    The fact is we should be applauding Cabela’s for giving sellers and buyers of recreational property common ground to find one another. Every lead I have received from the Cabela’s Trophy Properties web site has been from someone just as interested in hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities as I am. This allows me to begin my relationship with a client from a point of common interest. You will not find many anti-hunters or anti-gun clients sourcing real estate from Cabela’s. If an owner of recreational property has made the tough decision to put it on the market, we as hunters, fishermen and other users of these properties should be happy there is source for other like minded people to find these opportunities so there is a better chance of the land being purchased by someone friendly to our way of life.

    If we want to keep our private lands accessible to the general public, then we need to keep it in the hands of people who respect others who take the time to develop a trust between land owners and those seeking the privilege of trespass. If I did not have the Cabela’s marketing behind me, I would have to take a more general approach to finding buyers and in the mix would be many buyers more interested in diminishing our opportunities to hunt and fish than those who respect it. I would much rather the buyer of prime hunting land come from the Cabela’s web site than the New York Times.

    Cabela’s does not own the properties nor do they buy the properties listed on the web site. Attempting to make Cabela’s or a local Trophy Properties franchisee responsible for a new owner’s decision to close access to a property is like the big cities suing gun manufacturers for crimes committed. I have attended two gatherings of Cabela’s Trophy Properties brokers and each time there have been presentations by professionals concerning the tax benefits of conservation easements. Not everyone who owns a ranch has a tax problem, most have an income problem.

    Not once have I heard a Cabela’s staff member or independent Trophy Properties broker conspiring to break up a ranch for development. There are many in my profession that make their living solely on this approach to marketing. I am sure there are developers who find target properties on the Cabela’s web site, but these investors would find the properties from other sources if Cabela’s was not there. The fact is, Cabela’s is our best chance of finding outdoorsmen, rather than developers, to purchase and preserve these recreational properties.

    As a potential C T P broker, I showed up for my interview in Nebraska in a pickup truck, but they treated as if I had flown in on my own private jet.
    They wanted to make sure I was a true sportsmen and the token they collected for the franchise fee was only to test my commitment.

    Some things had to change when the company went public. From my perspective, Cabela’s remains a family operated, family recreation oriented outfit. Their philosophy in franchising Cabela’s Trophy Properties is to put brokers who are also outdoorsmen in a position to offer other outdoorsmen early and better access to sellers of recreational land, which is far more likely to remain open to public hunting than if it were marketed by developers or the general real estate sales network.

  128. elfman says:

    Larry – looks like you didn’t lose your Bullwhacker access after all. Why would you misrepresent the facts to further your distorted opinion? The truth always comes back to haunt.

  129. Dean says:

    Many of us sportsmen and hunters don’t belong to any organization at all. However, we all share some of the same desires. To hunt on our public land and have public access to our public land year around.The real estate business is destroying our state. I guess you can do about anything you want on private land except construct high “wildlife unfriendly barrier fences” along the borders to hold our wildlife in. Public wildlife is guaranteed free access to and from public lands 12 months a year under the Unlawful Inclosures Act of 1885 a federal law.You brokers have yet to mention the public lands on these ranches,state leases,BLM and national forest.Take away the public lands and you have no ranch at all not much acreage.Do brokers peddle blocking public access and privatizing the public wildlife as a part of the selling deal? Have you brokers heard about RS 2477 ? Many roads are historical public land access routes on those ranches. If you sell the old family farm for hunting and find out later it’s a public road the buyer can go after you in a law suit.Does the brokers check out RS 2477? Roads are being opened after research into RS2477. Brokers tell us about the public lands on the ranch and the wildlife you want to trap for hunting for the right people ‘the chosen few’.. and getting a landowner outfitter license…………………….. Be honest now.

  130. Craig Moore says:

    I would like to see both Cabela’s and Orvis contribute all of their frachise fees from these land deals to public access programs such as Montana’s Block Management program.

  131. J. Parker Sartain says:

    The real issue seems to be access to public lands. Being a Real Estate Broker in Mississippi for over thirty years and a Cabela’s Trophy Properties Participating Broker, I have dealt with access issues for over 30 years. We enjoy thousands of acres of State and Federal Refuges for hunting and fishing in Mississippi and every one has access by a public right-of-way. Perhaps a call to your Sate and Federal Senators and Representatives would start the process of curing this problem. The government has the right to eminent domain private property for access (if negotiations with a land owner fail) in order to secure the necessary access in the publics best interest. Bringing Cabela’s into the fray is not the solution to the problem. Cabela’s is a quality company with quality people that give much to the outdoor industry. Take the problem top those in government that have the ability to fix it.

  132. indiana says:

    Craig, I like that your last comment was very solution oriented. But is seems to me that making private listing services like Cabela’s or Orvis responsible, either morally or financially, doesn’t focus on the realistic solution, nor does it address the real problem. Private property owners and private businesses, in spite of their industry or vocation, should not be made legally, financially or morally responsible to provide the public access through private land. Cabela’s and Orvis are just easy targets. It seems like you are using “the tail wags the dog approach”. Sure, your group can go after big business and try to force them to be responsible through boycott and legal extortion; environmental groups do this every day, that’s why those groups are headed by Lawyers. But it sounds like your group is made up of good citizen of the Great United States and responsible hunters. After reading through the blogs, it appears that the real issue is how hunters view their unwritten rights to easements on private property. Maybe the long term fix for Montana hunters is to start to work with the business end of the animal, not the tail. Real estate law is what determines how easements are placed and enforced. I am not an authority on real estate law in Montana but maybe you can change the law that would encumber the private lands surrounding public land to include this type of an easement? Again, I am not certain of the liability issues for the private land owners. I hope that this matter does finally get to the right State officials that can effectively produce the change that will be fair for everyone. And maybe David will face the right Goliath.

  133. Reg Kelly says:

    I would submit that Cabela’s has done more to enhance recreational and conservatory ownership of land than any business entity in the U.S. since their real estate listing service began approximately 4 years ago. They attract buyers who love the outdoors, wildlife and have a high appreciation for hunting and recreational opportunities.

    I don’t buy into these ludicrous accusations. Here is why. For Cabela’s to continue doing well in their basic business of marketing their core products… good hunting and habitat land are essential for their customer base to use those products!

    Further, no company has consistently promoted and reflected the wise use of our natural resources, more tan Cabela’s. I suspect for 2 reasons. (1) It is good for them monetarily (2) They have an innate love for the great outdoors, and all that appertains to it.

    I am also suspect if the motives of those who are assaulting Cabela’s from behind their little mouse and keyboards… jealousy? Envy? Paid by competitors? I don’t know.

    Finally, it sounds very “socialist” to assault any company concerning the fact that a land owner may sell, and a buyer may buy, and apart from restrictions, use the land in a legal manner. I’ve been to Russia. Ask them about your “public use” policy. This is America, not Russia… and Thank God for it.

  134. Larry says:

    Elfman, did you notice that Bullwhacker was closed until PLAAI and MWF took the landowner to task? No, I didn’t think so. Pay attention to ALL the details would ya? Everyday, another “private Proeprty” person wants to turn our public property into theirs. The Robinsons didn’t get away with it on the Bullwhacker, did they?

  135. Craig Moore says:

    In addition to Cabela’s, Orvis, and Mossy Oak now RealTree has entered into this with it’s endorsement by Bill Jordan of OEI Properties.

    Here is a clickable map of OEI properties available in Montana: For a list of his 2008 contributions see the following:

    http://www.oeiproperties.com/escambia~montana-recreational-properties.php

    I believe the 50% solution is the way forward for public access. If landownner’s don’t agree, have the property declared CLOSED to all hunting and fishing. Then property owners can have their propterty rights respected by everyone for their choice of not allowing public access.

  136. elfman says:

    Larry – I did pay attention to the details. I also paid attention to the most important fact: that the landowner LOST. In other words, your complaint of lost access was unfounded! It is a given that there will always be people out there who try to control, restrict or terminate access. In some cases they will win and in other cases they will lose. It all comes down to the facts of each and every particular case.

  137. Larry says:

    There have been some very well written explanations on here from Mark and others about why Montana hunters and anglers are becoming disillussioned with Cabela’s especially in the real estate marketing discussion. Despite the bullying coming from the Realtors (and Bill) who benefit from their relationship with Cabela’s, those of us who have invested what little money we earn into Cabela’s products do stand to lose with Cabela’s Trophy Porpoerties, if for no other reason that Cabela’s “service” speeds up the process. Few of us in this state make nearly the kind of money needed to “buy” our little piece of paradise, so we depend upon public lands, block management, and rancher friends for our hunting/fishing. Whenever those options become impacted, we react. Keep in mind, our first impression came from the facilitation of the sale of the Dovetail Ranch which now will be subdivided into 20 acre parcels… yet the above realtors missed that part. They also have yet to address our loss of hunting on the public lands within the parcel… and we have lost that privelege with this sale, all private property rights discussions aside. There are a lot of commenters who are missing the point in why Montana sportsmen are getting madder by the minute. We see schemes everyday that try to block our public lands, for a profit. We resent it that Cabela’s missed that aspect, and are asking them to reconsider their “business model” when it comes to aggressive real estate marketing, regardless of the kind of buyer targeted, and maybe consequentially taking away our opportunities. Is that too much to ask? If it is, I’ll buy at Sportsmen’s Warehouse or better yet, my local hardware store and pay the extra money, I’ll vote with whatever little money I make. However, Cabela’s, to their credit, seems to have heard what we Montana sportsmen are saying and are trying hard to address the issue. They seem to understand where we are coming from should be commended for listening, whatever the end result.

  138. Larry says:

    OK Elfman, if you’re saying the system worked, then yes… it took observant sportsmen like PLAAI and MWF to take them to task or it would not have happened, however. I’m glad we have a good system that fairly evaluates the situation. Other than that, I don’t get your problem with me wanting the issue of public property rights discussed while we talk private property rights. Understanding many of the other comments here I’m left with the impression that ONLY private property rights are important. I don’t see that as socialism, like Bill says. The public lands belong to us, and I take my ownership of them seriously, whatever the outcome of this discussion.

  139. Craig Moore says:

    Larry, can you amplify on Cabela’s beginning to listen. I haven’t seen it myself.

  140. Bill Schneider says:

    Thanks for all of your insightful comments, everybody. I thought you’d be interested in my chat earlier to day with Mike Callahan, senior vice presidient at Cabela’s. Here is the link….Bill

    Cabela’s Reacts to Land Sales Debate
    http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/cabelas_reacts_to_land_sales_debate/C41/L41/

  141. Indiana says:

    Bill, congratulations are in order! You all must be very proud of your accomplishment. For the big chief from Cabela’s to even acknowledge this issue is to many of us amazing. For the Cabela’s Representative to travel to your neighborhood and attend one of your meetings at a minimum demonstrates a serious level of caring on their part and respect for your local issue. This doesn’t sound like the evil empire portrayed by the ranting bloggers. My Guess is that The fine American owned company of Cabela’s will be as involved as possible with the solution, with regard to their ability to influence parties involved. I will also venture to guess that Cabela’s, and many of us outsiders, looked at your complaint as a local real estate issue, not a listing service issue. I venture that most hunters are beginning to respect and understand that Cabela’s Trophy Properties is a specialized listing service much like the national Multiple Listing Service that most Real estate companies use. Now Cabela’s, as far as I know, doesn’t practice real estate. We believe that their vision is to keep good hunting grounds in the hands of good hunters like you, not developers. Although, I think that us outsiders and Cabela’s were unaware of the local philosophical/ religious beliefs of the Montana hunting culture, and the powder keg issue of perceived rights to easements on private property that is continues with public land. Now, you all have the ear of one of my favorite companies and of their representative. We hunters pray that Montana will return to Cabela’s the respect that they deserve! Bill, as Director, this will proudly be a “notch in your belt”, as this issue has occurred on your watch, to whom much is given much is expected. But this issue sure has taken a low road. To wrongly implicate and drag an American company, that employs Americans who therefore are able to put food on their table, through the mud is just as irresponsible as steeling another man’s hunting ground. In my opinion, I believe an apology from your group to Cabela’s will demonstrate your organization’s true character and will buoy your organization’s integrity and influence with Montana’s Legislature, along with the hunting and non hunting communities. What is done is done. From this point forward you have the opportunity to unite Montana hunters and private land owners, as you are accountable for your organizations past actions and future vision. We are watching……I am just a little troubled by the idea of diminishing American’s property rights and question the reasoning behind holding Cabela’s accountable for local real estate law. Without changing the easement laws this will happen again and frankly Cabela’s can only try to influence the laws of your fine State. When this does happen again with another real estate listing service will you hold them to the same standard, or will you place the blame on the rightful owner, the private property owner? Who is really financially responsible to provide the entitled easements to Montana’s Voters? I ask these rhetorical questions with the hope for a fair and equitable solution because what is good for American is good for Montana and what is good the hunter is good for Cabela’s.

  142. Larry says:

    Indiana, I hear your comments, and am glad Cabela’s came to Montana to hear our perspectives here. I don’t beleive they’re being blackmailed into anything, but have responded to responsible sportsmen’s concerns. You continue to harp on property rights without ever addressing public property rights, they don’t seem very important to you, nor do they help build upon your business unless the resultant customers get exclusive use of those public lands. Like I said before, many of us who live here depend on our public lands for a place to hunt/fish, and the sample Cabela’s listed property, the Dovetail Ranch, did remove acccess to some of our public properties and made exclusive use of it by those people with the ability to pay. I personally believe this violates our public trust doctrine on a number of levels and given all the facts, I don’t believe Cabela’s would have been a party to it. I don’t believe Cabela’s went into this listing relationship in Montana with their eyes open. I also don’t believe that an apology is in order, nothing said was false or malicious. Without them being brought to this awareness, our Montana hunting heritage could be impacted and not in a good way. I’m sorry if that doesn’t suit you, but I have no control over that.

  143. Maine says:

    I’ve been an avid outdoorsmen for many years and also deeply involved in the real estate industry, I’ve traveled the world and been part of corporations and small business ventures alike. With that said, I can tell you that this article is very skewed. Let’s put emotion aside and ask yourself the most important question, “If you were selling a recreational property would you want Cabela’s promoting it”. Of course you would. Besides, give me proof that the buyer of this Dovetail Ranch found that property from Cabela’s and thus decided to pursue it…I can almost guarantee you that the chances are very unlikely. Many of these high profile buyers are investors who find these properties through hired real estate professionals or use other media avenues, such as the Wall Street Journal. Besides, don’t you feel that you might be attacking the wrong party here. Remember, the seller is the one who chooses to be part of the Cabela’s service and in the end is the one who determines who buys the property and what becomes of its future. If you want to make a difference try helping out these ranches at the state level, many of these owners are overworked, overtaxed and underpaid. Can you blame them for wanting to sell?

  144. Indiana says:

    Larry, thanks for your comment. Although I don’t work for Cabela’s nor am I a real estate agent, I am a capitalist, business owner, land owner, hunter/fisherman, and concerned American. It seems that we are really coming from both sides of the truth. The issue is about access to public land and I have to agree with blackbirds on this one, 4and20blackbirds.wordpress.com/2007/11/27/its-easier-to-blame-it-on-cabelas/.

  145. Larry says:

    Indiana, I read the Blackbird and feel it’s coming at it inside out. I don’t see any blame-game for the root problem coming from MWF or Bill Schneider, simply a call for an accounting for the loss of opportunities facilitated by the company that has been supported by the coomon guy. I see nothing wrong with calling them on THEIR role. Because the root problem wasn’t caused by them doesn’t absolve them of their participation. Understand something here, public access to public wildlife is important to us here in Montana, whether that wildlife is on private or public land. The sale of private land is out of our control, as the blakcbird implies truthfully. Now, because our access is so important, our state legislature gave its blessing to the block managemnt program where ranches where we once hunted for free, now geet some compensation for wear and tear on their properties; AND those propertes, assumed to be good hunting, are listed in a booklet available to the general public. NOW, there’s no proof that the Cabela’s franchised listing agent targetted a BMA on Dovetail Creek, it stands to reasson that our own program may have drawn attention to that fact. With Cabela’s marketing advantage, that proeprty left the BMA program, 1/2 to 2/3s of that property’s acreage is BLM or State land whosde public usage has been converted intoprivate, exclusive use. This last principle is NOT addressed by Blackbird, and quite frankly, most of the entrepeneureal responders on here contend this is simply a case of private property rights, that’s an oversimplification of the simplifcation. I hope you understand this is more than hiring an advertiser for your saleable private property; this is “the nation’s outfitter” we’re talking about becoming the facilitator for exclusive use of public acreage. I realize I’m repeating myself, but I tend to do that when it seems like people are only listening to half the details… I think the blackbirds are only half right at the most.

  146. Jerry says:

    Larry I concur

  147. Randy says:

    Roads vrs No-Roads (an issue mentioned many times above)

    Much discussion on the right to drive into wildlands. Living on a ranch in New Mexico that is surrounded by public lands I can assure you that people with limited mobility can get to just about anywhere they want. However, along with roads comes erosion, increased intrusion of exotic weeds, poaching and fragmentation of wildlife habitat. Studies continued to show that many species of wildlife are adversely affected by roads (dirt, not just asphalt). Many roads on our public lands are illegal wild cat tracks started by someone who thought they had a right to degrade the landscape to save them some time or maximize an adrenaline rush.

    Conservationists (we are not all city slickers) use roads but also think there needs to be a limit to them. Illegal roads that are causing environmental degradation and adversely affecting widlife should be closed and restored. Everyone does not have to go everywhere if it means degradation.

    My time is approaching when those long hikes for the big mulies will become a memory. But it is a memory of solitude and beauty that I want my grand son to enjoy.

    I think we should encompass a land ethic that may limited our access if it means a greater good. Don’t worry, there will always be more roads than needed. There will always be a place for a four wheeler to get lost in. But let’s protect some of the best.

  148. Thomas says:

    WOW! I don’t know where to start except to call it like it is! I’m a back country hunter, a wildlife conservationist, a family man and foremost a red blooded American. I was jaw dropped after reading your article; not to mention the belittling reference about Cabela’s spokesperson being a “bone head”? Nice approach, I can’t imagine why it took so long for them to officially respond? Talk about desecrating your own brand. That’s just what this county needs is more negative, mud slinging media that sells, in addition to an uneducated columnist becoming a politician to further diminish private property rights. Shame on you! Here’s a newsflash for you folks. We live in a country based on capitalism, not socialism. I have never dealt with a private property owner whom is looking to “negatively” impact our rural, agricultural and hunting lands or waterways! On the contrary, they are hard working, family oriented conservationists whom want a place to escape the rat race just like you. They’re not heathens, villains nor “bone heads”. They’re people whom care about the environment, wildlife habitat and are willing to risk, invest and protect their cause. 99.9% are sick of picking up empty beer cans, poachers and having their experience ruined by late night partying hunters and speeding ATV’s. Your issue is with society, and the lack of trust it presents, not Cabela’s Trophy Properties. Why don’t you allow the public access to your home? It’s your private property, and you’re a promoter of such? I suspect it to be the same reasoning. You still have the right to ask permission to access private property, and the right to allow people whom you learn to trust into your home. Especially if they’re respectable, willing to pick up after themselves and watch out for your best interest. Helping out with the chores also goes a long way, not just granting access. You shouldn’t expect that everything in this world should be given to you. If you want it, earn it. It’s just that simple. Your other problem is with the local governing agencies in your state. When referring to hunters and anglers potentially losing access everywhere; don’t include me, nor hold Cabela’s liable for Montana’s poor public land management. The state and voters of Montana have everything to do with that, nobody else. Why don’t you get off your lazy butt and start barking at your state governments’ door. Is there a law in Montana that says your government can’t buy land or incentives to delegate private land for public use? The Cabela’s real estate program will only help support your exact cause in other parts of the country. I reside in Oregon, where governing land use laws dictate the splitting and development of lands, not Cabela’s, not the land buyers, nor the real estate brokers. Oregon is the state of the Spotted Owl, radical environmental movements and continuous anti hunting controversies; Over 50% of Oregon’s land is federally owned, while the BLM owns an additional 16 million acres. Of the 20% +/- privately held portion, much of it is owned by large timber companies also accessible to the public. When additionally subtracting the high density cities from that, only a small overall percentage of private rural and agricultural lands exist in this state. Of the private portion referred, we have zonings, land use laws and sensitive to wildlife habitat overlays restricting higher density development put in place by county and state governments. Our ODFW biologists and land use planners have years of research to logically support their cause. Several years ago I personally witnessed a group of anti hunting eco-terrorists running through the woods smashing metal trash can lids together to scare away the game near my public hunting land. Welcome to America! Public land has its pro’s and con’s. Americans have the right to purchase their own property and to legally use it for the purpose in which they bought it. Quit supporting the communist traits this country is already heading toward. In case you didn’t know, there aren’t many buyers out there whom can afford to purchase a 7000 acre tract of land in Montana’s prime hunting area. However, there are a lot people out there whom are looking for a 200 acre tract to get away from people like you, telling them what they can and can’t do with their money, business and private property! When Montana sells out, it sounds like you would fit in well here with the other entire extremist telling folks what they can and can’t do with their lives! But as far as I’m concerned, people like you aren’t welcome here. We already have plenty.

  149. Bob says:

    Another good comment Larry. Yes, they want our public land to make the game ranch viable. They need our public land in Montana or they would have no ranch at all. Why does Cabela’s think people travel to Montana to hunt?… PUBLIC LANDS!!! Public lands belong to all of us and we treasure our public lands in Montana,public land access and public wildlife on public and private lands. Many landowners,cattle ranchers, cooperate to allow hunting even on their private lands and have low fences for wildlife to move freely to and from public lands. Who cares what they do in Nebraska other guests you have hardly any public land at all and don’t even know what it is we do here in Montana…please get real. Cabela’s wants our public land, BLM and state leases, for the right people ‘the chosen few’.Agencies don’t have to award them with the grazing privileges to use OUR land for a licensed grazing season either. Their grazing on the game ranch public lands is a ‘front’ and fraud.They are not in the livestock business it’s fraud.

  150. Craig Moore says:

    Thomas, much of your rant stems from the “bonehead” statement.

    Here it is from above:

    ‘Then, and typical of large corporations that don’t really understand damage control, Cabela’s managed to make it worse with its responses. First, Cabela’s spokesperson David Draper implied that this was no big deal and told Montana hunters they shouldn’t fret because the properties were selling to sportsmen who are “probably going to make the land better,” a bonehead statement that Sharpe called “insulting.” ‘

    I suggest you read it again and again until you first understand that the statement and not the person was so referenced, and then undestand what was meant in context of the paragraph and the entire article. In my opinion, you missed the point, context, and meaning.

  151. Jack says:

    Just because some hot shot exec’s from Cabela’s lands their fancy corporate jet in Helena ,Montana recieves VIP treatment from FWP and then tries to ‘cut a deal’ with FWP director Hagener and the MWF in the backroom should be a big concern of all Montanan’s. Slick deals in the backroom with the ‘chosen few’ has already cost this state plenty. What kind of a deal? Who will benefit? Were the laws expressed to Cabela’s? We want open government Mr. Hagener. Who spoke for wildlife and and access to our wildlife resource?What was said? Was the news media there? You work for us or have you forgotten? Yes, we have the out of state rich and famous here now blocking public land access and building high fences detrimental to wildlife,privatizing our big game resource in violation of federal law and no one will talk about it and it continues.FWP will not even look at the high fences. Montana rewarded them with outfitter permits. It that what Cabela’ cronies want to outfitter permits?Now Cabela’s wants to do the same. Where is the public,the hunters, that support the funding to FWP in all this? Would an average NATIVE Montanan be out of place at the corporate meeting? Iam able to speak for myself and many others as well and don’t like back room slick deals that exclude us.Maybe our questions would be too tough to answer looks that way.

  152. Bill says:

    You can charge on Cabela’s credit card they welcome illegal immigrant credit cards or you can send in order from there or mex border. Free shipping for illegal immigrants from mex. THX for your order…Cabela’s.

  153. elfman says:

    Wow quareeten: That post is incredibly insightful. Thank you for sharing. Perhaps you are some kind of robot.

  154. Bill says:

    Thank you for the catalog special price post Cabela’s.Glad you decided to open your store in China rather than Billings,Montana. Yes, Cabela’s Trophy Properties in China. That will be closer to where most of your junk is made “made in China”. FWP has alot of contacts in China their personnel travel there all the time I don’t know why ask them?

  155. Dean says:

    Thanks for all the information quareenteen but I have already decided I won’t vote for Hillary or Obama, no way, but you go ahead anyway.Cabela’s is looking for a store manager you may want to apply.

  156. Steven Schwend says:

    Bill,
    What has happened in the South and East and Mid West has come to the NW. Cabelas only adds to the speed of the inevitable process of outfitter competition for private lands and generally private lands adjacent to public lands. AND, what compounds the problems is that with new ownership. Whether it’s from wealthy individuals looking to own their private hunting lodge and property is the 100% probability that the access to that private land that you may or may not have had access and permission will get shut off to you…..and the access to the gov’t land that is adjacent is now inaccessible.

    I live in ID and hunt MT, NV, and WY. I continue to lose access to canyons from what I have described above. And it is damn sure happening in NV, specifically in the Sonoma and other Mtn ranges around Winnemucca. Local BLM staff have stated to me that in 5 years the Sonoma Mtn range will be completely inaccessable because of new land ownership that block access to canyon roads and BLM lands. Maybe Cabelas lawyers could help us out here. Synergy and answers are welcomed.

    Who’s problem is this……Its ours. Hunters, anglers, and all other outdoorsman have got to put a check on our public land administrators and outfitting giants. We have got to get together in some forum and speak as one voice. Those ATV guys that we “bash” all the time are our allies in this game. Who is our watch dog for this slow, inconspicuous loss of access? We can’t stop free enterprize. If someone owns property and wants to sell it, fine, more power to him. But in the case that you have mentioned above irt Cabelas, it is wrong and falls into the watchdog criteria and evidently it appears to be getting some notice. I have always wondered what the great Cabelas is doing for wildlife and how much of there proceeds, if any, goes into purchasing properties for the use of public hunting in any state they have their claws dug into…similar to Duck Unlimited and other great organizations. What are they doing to help sponsor future generations? We are losing hunters at alarming rate across this country.

    After reading this column, I will not purchase from Cabelas anymore.

    PS To that dude Thomas from his beloved state of OR that is a red blooded american, a back woods kind of guy or whatever….wake up fellow because this will come to your neck of the woods soon.

  157. Bill Schneider says:

    Since many of you who commented on this article aren’t from Montana, I thought yoo would be interested in the newest development. Please note the link to an article in the Helena Independent Record by my friend Eve Bryon. Cabela’s is giving some money back to the State of Montana, $50,000, but willl it be enough to calm the controversy?….Bill

    http://helenair.com/articles/2008/01/18/top/60st_080118_cabelas.txt#

  158. Craig Moore says:

    From the Helena paper article:

    “Commission member Shane Colton worried that accepting the money might look like Cabela’s “came in and bought the commission off,” and said Montanans felt betrayed by Cabela’s.”

    The 50,000 is spread over several years. After each ‘gift’ Cabela’s can shut it off if they don’t like FWP’s cooperation. The total seems like pocket change given the 10’s of millions being generated through the land sales. Last I looked Cabel’s had not taken any action to remove ‘subdivision’ from the listings.

    Very dissapointing if this is the BIG announcement. I would have much preferred Cabela’s joining with FWP and field sporting groups in structuring something to take pride. Through a few alms to the poor is insulting.

  159. Craig Moore says:

    Just reread what I wrote. The typo’s are only exceeded by my disappointment.

  160. jack says:

    I am from Montana…4th generation. Started hunting in Montana when I was 10 and every year since. Hell,I wrote a letter to the two brother owners of Cabela’s and received a letter back from one of their cronies. I also sent a letter to BLM in Lewistown about the Dovetail Ranch.I received quite a bit from them and land status maps of the area,several grazing allotments some 100% public land. Here is the scam…Purchase a Montana ranch with wildlife on it. On the ranch you have public land, BLM and state leases. Run a few cows to get those BLM and state lease grazing privileges call it a “working ranch”..emphasis on “privileges”.The Dovetail ranch, so called, is nearly 1/2 public land 12,000 acres.Waterfowl hunting on the BLM reservoirs as well. Next develop alfalfa fields on the private land to “bait” big game animals. Then comes the high fences. Open the gates let the antelope in close the gates.Start your own antelope herd. Elk same thing. Now hunting for the right people the chosen few. Folks that were hot shots with the RMEF also involved in this caper and one has a so called ranch as well. So we have “privatization” of Montana wildlife happening right under our nose and using our public lands in the process promoted by CABELA’S. BLM and DNRC should not allow them to have the grazing privileges emphasis again on privileges. Livestock grazing is a front. Who wants their $50,000 “hush money”?? Yes, more slick deals in the back room of FWP in Helena with the ‘chosen few’. They don’t speak for me and the majority of hunters in Montana that is for sure.We know what the scam is.Yes,Hagener will take their dough for a deal will the MWF roll over? Dough for the block management program elsewhere that Dovetail no longer is involved in? Don’t take the $50,000 FWP stand up for Montana’s wildlife and public hunting for a change.Tell Cabela’s Montanan’s doesn’t like “privatization” of our public wildlife, high fences with low bottom wires that violate the Unlawful Inclosures Act of 1885 and Canfield decision in the supreme court.The cooperate jet is scheduled to fly into Helena again if it hasn’t again and Cabela’s big shots will cut a deal in the back room.This is the kind of crap that makes us not trust these state employees.Where is the news media are they invited to the secret meeting?Mr. Hagener tell Cabela’s about the laws that is if you know them yourself we sent them to you about 10 times. Damn, I miss Frank Dunkle there’s a man that called a spade a spade and had a backbone and stood up for wildlife. Now we have wimps in Helena.Cabela’s in Billings is a slap in Montana’s face.They want our wildlife and public lands…. wake up Montana it’s a public land public land grab like the American Prairie Foundation(WWF) south of Malta also 90% public lands. Without the public land they would have no so called ranch at all. Anyone ever look at land status maps and all that public land where these ranches are being purchased Cabela’s and APF(WWF) has them? FWP has very few as well and DNRC beyond help they ‘rubber stamp’ high fences for Turner on state leases………WAKE UP MONTANA!!!!

  161. Craig Moore says:

    jack, BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!! I agree. Give the money back. If FWP keeps it, I suggest Montana field sportsman take out their wrath on those that sell themselves so cheap.

  162. Jack says:

    If the system really worked these state employees would be fired on the spot and a new commission is needed as well.Taking money like this is criminal,”hush money” to sell out Montana!!!

  163. Dean says:

    GIVE BACK THE MONEY SAVE MONTANA THE EXPENSE OF A LAW SUIT AND ALL THAT EMBARRASSMENT!!!!!

  164. Jason in Maine says:

    THIS IS America & it is the American way, we are founded on democracy and capitalism…and this is capitalism, welcome to America! The Indians thought they had rights to their land too..hmmm..looks like our ancestors took care of that! As for Cabela’s, stop complaining..are you guys for real here…all they are doing is endorsing a real estate firm to help SELLER’S get more exposure for their property. And furthermore, in this market I welcome the idea..If owned a large parcel of land and wanted to sell it I would DEFINITELY use a Cabela’s endorsed agency to help! Yes, I am a red-blooded, red necked american who loves to hunt and fish and I too have seen things change dramatically, some for better and some for worse. We’ve had to pressure the state to step in when large IRVING owned tracts of land are being sold to private parties who put up fences, close roads and prohibit hunting and fishing. Luckily we’ve made progress. Don’t get me wrong, I wish you guys the best of luck at fixing the problems..we just got roughly 1,000 miles of snowmobile trails back..but don’t you think that your State’s Reps need to get involved when you’re dealing with something that is going to drastically change the outdoorsmen’s lively-hood and potentially hurt the economy. And those who still can’t come to the realization that we live in a dog eat dog world..buy your own piece of land and do what you want..that’s what I did..and no more worries!!!

  165. Jack says:

    Thanks for your comments Jason of Maine,however, I don’t have to buy a piece of land in Montana from a ‘slick’ real estate person under the name of “capitalism”. My uncle said I could hunt and walk on all of his all I want anytime..that’s my UNCLE SAM of course that’s democracy here in Montana. UNCLE SAM said you have millions of acres of BLM and National Forest and the renowned CMR as well here in Montana Jack and besides you have 5.2 milliom acres more of state public land that the public can use as well. Don’t you remember House Bill 778 was signed into law on 4-25-91 by the Governor and you were vice pres. of the Coalition Jack that took Montana to court on that one. So I will use my UNCLES LAND but some of these new folks want to keep us off of my UNCLES LAND and privatize our public wildlife on my UNCLES LAND in the process. I do shop alot with L.L. Bean in Maine, however, much better quality than Cabela’s ‘made in china’ stuff. Too bad you don’t have much of my UNCLES LAND in Maine then you could use it there as well and wouldn’t have to buy a chunk from some ‘slick’ real estate person.

  166. Craig Moore says:

    The Billings Gazette carried the story today as well. They point to a $110,000 gift. 50K now and 12K per year for 5 years. See: http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2008/01/18/news/state/49-cabela.txt

    The people who commented there seem damn upset too.

    Give the money back. Integrity should not be for sale. Honor cannot be regained. The sporting public deserve better.

  167. Jack says:

    Tell us FWP and Commission what is the money for? Still no hunting on Cabelas’s property for the average Joe. Was an outfitter permit part of the deal with set-aside NR licenses? No hunting signs on Cabela’s properties so what was accomplished? What did the “hush money” buy us? What about the federal and state public land on the properties? Who will fly into Helena next in a corporate jet with more “hush money” for more deals? Are streams and rivers next with Orvis dough? This all makes me sick. Fire these state employees with the “hush money”!! That will be “hush money” well spent. The public is notified after the fact. Do we have grounds for a law suit here? Would sure like to hear from the state emploees under oath. One deal leads to another deal. What about fish & game management and sportsmens representation an afterthought? News media get a copy of the minutes and notes from the closed meetings interview the commission and director.Public involvement is lip service.I had a few questions for Cabela’s starting with the laws to protect our public wildlife resource from privatization. How high will the fences be on Cabela’s properties?

  168. Craig Moore says:

    elfman, thank you. There are several other ‘subdivision’ references either appearing on a Cabela’s affiliate broker web page or actually in the Cabela’s Trophy Properties listings under the Cabela’s web page. I see no evidence that Cabela’s is making any effort to back up its rhetoric. It takes actual ‘hands on’ effort. Until Cabela’s installs an accountable process and hold people responsible, this is just verbal KY. They have moved into the realm of a public company and must hit quarterly targets. Institutional investors don’t care how, only how much.

  169. Craig Moore says:

    For example, nested under Cabela’s own website:

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/content/community/inthefield/trophy_properties/listings/sale/west_eric/sale_ew_r1884.jsp;jsessionid=MNNT14DAM1SPHLAQBBKCCNVMCAEFKIWE?ctpPage=saleColorado&_requestid=85028

    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    With the lure of St. Mary’s Glacier, abundant trout filled lakes, miles of hiking and biking trails and the soon to be opened Eclipse Snow Park (owned by Michael Coors a member of the Coors Family) it won’t be long before people find out about this mountain playground. Rockwood 1884 is the last big parcel of ground in the area yet to be subdivided. It offers the investor a chance to really capitalize on this up and coming market. (The current owner has already prepared detailed drawings for home sites and roads, with easy access to water, power and sewer) Keep the best creek side home sites and national forest access for yourself and subdivide the rest.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<

    Cabela’s must demonstrate that they walk the talk, otherwise they resemble green hypocrites like Al Gore. Montana should reject their attempts to buy indulgences while they continue sinning and rake in the profits at the expense of Montana public field sportsman.

  170. Jack says:

    I would really like to thank Bill Schneider for taking this issue on and for allowing us to comment. This is an extremely important issue for Montana and other states with Cabela’s properties as well…..THX Bill.

  171. Dean says:

    Taking this pay off dough is a slap in the face to Montana sportsmen and young sportsmen who want to enjoy the same opportunities we have had. What does other fish and game departments and sportsmen who hunt and fish in Montana think about all this? This is the final straw on FWP slick deals. FWP has lost all their integrity if they ever had any. Most of the commission should resign as well as FWP employees involved in this caper we don’t trust you anymore. You also are responsible for Cabela’s subdivision that will happen soon in Montana.The Montana Wildlife Federation forgot to do their homework before they supported this. I hope it is reflected in their membership as well.Send letters to the Governor requesting these people resign immediately.What is next with the same bunch in there? I hope Outdoor Life and other magazines pick up on this. Box up your paper and pencils and leave the department!! We had people in the Department before who would never have let this happen. This is not the first goof of director Hagener and some of his cronies.

  172. Craig Moore says:

    Cabela’s subdivision by another name: http://www.omgnofilter.org/cgi-bin/rice/bubbles.pl/000010A/http/www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/content/community/inthefield/trophy_properties/listings/sale/earley_tom/sale_te_mrg.jsp;jsessionid=3d0HSEOLBS2YGMZLAQBBKSCNNMCAEFMIWE=3fctpPage=3dsaleNebraska&_requestid=3d64169

    >>>>>>>>
    Missouri River Gulch is located near Gross, NE , population 2. There are 920 acres that could be sold in 2 tracts of 440 & 480 acres. Great hunting opportunities only 1 mile from the Majestic Missouri River. Elk, Mule Deer, White-tailed Deer, Turkey, Grouse and Prairie Chickens are abundant in the area. The “Nine Mile Gulc” runs along the west side of the hunting paradise.
    <<<<<<<<<<<

  173. Dean says:

    Looks like someone understands land status maps Craig. Did anyone discuss the land status and look at maps with Cabela’s? Ask a FWP person probably he/she doesn’t even know where the Dovetail Ranch is. Here is what Cabela’s advertized. “Elk,deer,antelope,upland birds,dinosaur digs( they pulled this one would violate several federal laws esp. on BLM),waterfowl,turkey hunting.29,00acres”. Didn’t mention 12,595acres are BLM and state leases about 1/2 the whole ranch) The reader is mis-informed the 29,000 acres is all private. “25 miles N. of Winnett and 65 miles NE of Lewistown”. Also stated the name Weaver and Waldbilling Reality. I think the Weaver name was associated with the RMEF.Yes, look on a land status maps and all that public land Cabela’s Trophy Properties will keep us off of and Montana wildlife for them and their cronies.That also includes access to the wild sheep in the Breaks. Great job FWP and FWP Commission!!! Maybe you should find out where these properties are and the acreage of public lands on the ranch before you take payoff checks. No maps even at the big meeting I understand. A land status map tells all. “Dinasaur digs” could be considered a federal crime Cabela’s and think the FBI can follow up on that one Cabela’s.Where was the Montana Attorney General when these deals were being made? Perhaps there are violations of the public trust and MCA Statutes including open meetings by FWP and the FWP Commission.

  174. John says:

    I am requesting some clarity. If Cabela’s Trophy Properties role as explained in Bill Schneider’s 11/27/07 article is: “Here’s how that works. Cabela’s doesn’t actually buy and sell land. Instead, it licenses its brand to local real estate brokers and allows them to market prime hunting and fishing properties under the banner of Cabela’s Trophy Properties. The brokers pay Cabela’s for the license, probably with a license fee and a slice of the commission on property sales.” Then how can this be the case: “A flash point in the controversy was the sale, planned subdivision and eventual closure to public hunting of two large ranches in central Montana by Cabela’s Trophy Properties.” If Cabela’s doesn’t own the property how can they subdivide, close it to hunting, etc. Looking for clarification, John

  175. Dean says:

    John, it seems no one wants to address the public lands associated with these properties and I don’t understand why.The Dovetail property is 1/2 public lands 12,500 acres.That is 1/2 the whole ranch.These Cabela’s deals is a way to steal our public lands and the wildlife and hunting on those lands for the ‘right people’ the chosen few. No we will have to get the federal agency BLM to develop an access road to our lands but they won’t. This whole operation is nothing but a public land and public wildlife grab and FWP took their damn check. FWP sold us out and we just lost hunting on the 12,500 acres on that so called ranch alone. They will subdivide they have in other states and more impact on public wildlife and hunting opportunities. I don’t want to hunt on their private lands but I do on our public lands. Lets talk about public lands and public wildlife in this Cabela’s ‘scam’. FWP JUST SAID OK TO PRIVATIZE MONTANA WILDLIFE BY ACCEPTING THEIR DAMN PAYOFF CHECK. THESE FWP PEOPLE INVOLVED SHOULD LEAVE INCLUDING THE COMMISSIONERS.THEY WILL TAKE MORE DIRTY MONEY IN THE FUTURE AND ON THE ‘TAKE’.

  176. Jack says:

    No one still understands what’s this all about a PUBLIC LAND and PUBLIC WILDLIFE GRAB! Maybe no one cares. Yes, more real estate crap along with it and impacts on Montana wildlife and public hunting. You real estate clowns make me sick!

  177. Bill Schneider says:

    This is an email I received from Gregg Severinson, Director of Cabela’s Outdoor Adventures and Trophy Properties. He has granted me permission to post it so those of you who have been commenting about this issue can see what the company is doing….Bill

    Bill,

    I thought it would be a good idea for me to enter into this conversation regarding the sites you are referring to in your note to Joe and Mike. I wanted to thank you for pointing out these listings and your perceived concerns according to our new policies.

    Please remember our policies were intended for large and historic ranches. The policies do not apply to properties that were platted and zoned by the seller prior to listing with our affiliates. The policies went into effect for all new listings submitted to us on or around November 15th, 2007. We are doing our best to review all listings within the CTP system and on all of our affiliates’ websites. As a listing service, all changes and edits to listings require input and approval from our affiliates and their sellers. We do not anticipate completing this process for several months, so please be patient. In addition, we are getting ready to launch a new search function within our website, so some changes that have already been approved are in a holding pattern until that process is completed later this month. Allow us to provide additional information on the listings you are questioning:

    Rockwood, Colorado; We have removed this listing from our site. However, this listing does not violate our policies. We will be editing the language and re-submitting this listing back on our site after our changes are complete. After speaking with Hayden Outdoors, we were informed that this property consists of several mining claims and already has been previously divided. According to our policies, this does not qualify as a large ranch. So, it is permitted on our site.

    Juniper Canyon, Oregon; The Broker, Outdoor Properties has informed us that this property was previously zoned to allow five acre parcels and is surrounded on two sides by housing developments. This property is not a large ranch and has been divided several times in the past. Therefore it is allowed on the CTP web site. However, we have edited the language for this listing.

    Crocker Lake, Michigan; This property does not violate our policies because it has already been platted and zoned prior to listing for development. This is not a large property and is immediately adjacent to a residential lake development. Also, Cabela’s Trophy Properties has not had this listing on our site. However, we will be working with the Broker to edit the copy and add to our site.

    Bonanza Ridge, Blackhawk, CO; Although this is 76 acre property was zoned and platted into 63 parcels prior to it being listed by our affiliate in Colorado, it is being marketed as one contiguous parcel. It not a large or historic ranch, and as such the promotion of this listing does not violate our policy.

    I hope this clears up some of your questions. Please let me know if you have any other comments or concerns.

    Thanks,

    Gregg Severinson, Director
    Cabela’s Outdoor Adventures and Trophy Properties

  178. Jack says:

    “Back on course” give me a break. Meet with the MWF in a VIP meeting? Give me another break.They met with Cabela’s big wigs when the flew into Helena in the corporated jet 2-3 times. Did Cabela’s buy lunch for the MWF and FWP? They sold us out.The exclusive meeting did not include people who know something about the subject on the ground. The MWF set by and took the dough with FWP!! Keep in mind the MWF doesn’t represent all the hunters/sportsmen in Montana,it’s an ‘environmental organization’ that loves more wilderness in SW Montana that will keep us off of 573,000 acres of national forest. In the meantime FWP took the dough for ‘other’ block management areas not Cabela’s. The Dovetail Ranch north of Valentine is one of many Trophy Properties that blocks access to BLM and public state land. About 1/2 of this so-called ranch is public land BLM and state leases..12,500 acres we can’t get on now thanks to Cabela’s.Conservation easements are a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No hunting on conservation easement areas and a big tax right-off for the rich. Bottomline, I don’t want to hunt on Cabela’s PRIVATE properties but I do want to hunt on ‘OUR PUBLIC LANDS’. Cabela’s wants our public lands but the MWF still doesn’t understand that they still don’t get it. No one talks about the public lands on the so called properties. Does the MWF have ‘ANY’ land status maps? I have plenty I have been near the Dovetail on the ground. Has the MWF and FWP? Cabela’s wants to privatize Montana wildlife and will probably use high fences and alfalfa fields to bait animals in and close the gates after the elk,antelope and deer arrive to the lush alfalfa fields.The Montana will reward them with a outfitter license and set aside NR licenses. The RMEF is a close friend of Cabella’s Why? Maybe it’s because the RMEF past officers are in the real estate business themselves with Cabela’s Trophy Properties. Everyone wants to get along!! Did anyone explain the laws to Cabela’s at the big VIP meetings?If you break the laws we don’t have to get along!! NO they didn’t not even the Montana Statutes. I don’t think we need their store in Montana at all with a real estate office next to it, do you? MWF please do some research on the subject get some land status maps also reseach BLM ‘land pools’ to rid us of our public lands before the VIP meetings that exclude us. We ask too many questions don’t want us there? Be pepared before you talk to the VIP big wigs that fly into Helena at the exclusion of the public who knows the areas on the ground and actually hunts on the public lands there.

  179. Jack says:

    Yes, Old timer you are correct so much of everything made in China and most all cheap junk. That is how Cabela’s makes more money with products made in China by child slave labor. I see White Boots are still made in Spokane and they have an excellent web page. L.L. Bean is pretty good to. Remember Eddie Bauer back in the 1950’s? Everything was made in Seattle. I still have my Eddie Bauer 100% down sleeping bag. They also made a parka that had a wolf/wolverine hood.I had one and loaned it to someone last I ever seen it.The fur was nice and wolverine won’t frost. Now they are mostly China junk to.Maybe Eddie Bauer could open a store in Montana and go back to quality products and we do have a lot of wolf fur here.Why buy from Cabela’s when you can go to Wal-Mart for junk made in China?How do you tell the corporate big shots from Cabela’s your not welcome in Montana with your slick real estate deals? I wonder what kind of a license they have to peddle real estate here? No Cabelas store needed in Montana and we don’t want your hush money funneled through FWP and the MWF.

  180. Jack says:

    Try the casino flights Janette includes 3 nights at a good joint to.

  181. Larry says:

    Jack…
    That’s a lot of venom about MWF considering that MWF was responsible for calling Cabela’s on the carpet. MWF pointed out all the loss of access to public land with the sale of the Divetail… You have a funny logic to your posts, it looks at the truth and twists til it’s unrecognizable. MWF got nothing from Cabelas except the assurance Cabelas would change its real estate policies. Will it help?? Well, I can’t say, but it’s a helluva lot closer to resolving the problem; I didn’t see anything from you until MWF exposed the Cabelas sell-off, yet you’re crucifying them, what’s wrong with you????

  182. Jack says:

    For your information I was one of the first to write Cabela’s before the MWF then the first and only one to write BLM in Lewistown about all the information on the public land on the Dovetail Ranch 1/2 public land. I just received a letter from Cabela’s three days ago, the 3rd one, I wrote them about their Trophy Properties.Why don’t you inform us here what the ‘deal’ was when the big wigs from Cabela’s flew into Helena a couple of times in the corporate jet and spoke with the MWF and Hagener? Maybe the MWF can do something about the Pumpkin Creek BLM land exchange.Some already appealed it. Where is the MWF?

  183. Jack says:

    Cabela’s moving forward with their store in Billings!We can expect part of the store to be Cabela’s Trophy Properties? Wake up Montana Cabela’s wants the public lands associated with these properties on the ranches purchased. Cabela’s wants the state leases and BLM under their control for the right people the chosen few.They really want the public wildlife on public and private lands. Perhaps high fences and alfalfa fields to bait the animals in and then close the gates. Did FWP give the 50K hush money back to Cabela’s? FWP would be better off if they explained the fence laws to Cabela’s including the Unlawful Inclosures Act of 1885 as amended and the Camfield decision.First FWP better read them. They destroy all copies sent to them why?? BLM and DNRC doesn’t have to issue them the grazing privileges as well. They are not engaged in a ‘true’ livestock business. Just a few cattle around to pretend they are to receive the grazing privileges on our land.Next they will want Montana to issue them landowner outfitter permits and set-aside NR licences.I don’t want to hunt on their small piece of private land but my large pieces of our public land.BLM and state leases….all of it!!…Wake up Montana!!!!

  184. Dean says:

    With the hunting season coming up Cabela’s properties cronies must be busy out there now with the red paint! FWP,DNRC and BLM will you be out there checking for red paint on public funded fences and on our public lands? That is a violation of the federal range code BLM and grazing privileges can be cancelled…do it. FWP check these Cabella’s clients for legal licenses. Harassment of hunters is also illegal.

  185. Dean says:

    rodmaster what planet are you living on? How many camels do you own?