Cabela's mourns loss of co-founder and patriarch Dick Cabela

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As Cabela’s prepares to open its first Georgia store in Augusta next month, the sporting goods retailer is also mourning the death of co-founder and corporate patriarch Dick Cabela.

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The 77-year-old outdoorsman died last week at his home in Sidney, Neb., where the business he helped establish in 1961 is headquartered, according to a statement from the company.

Dick Cabela served as chairman of the board until June 2013, when he transitioned to chairman emeritus and his brother, Jim Cabela, became chairman.

Under the family’s guidance, Cabela’s grew from a small mail-order business that sold fishing flies to a $3.6 billion company with a worldwide catalog and Website business with 50 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Augusta’s new store off Riverwatch Parkway is scheduled to open its doors March 20.

EAGLES AND ICE STORMS: After enduring an ice storm that felled more timber than Georgia-Pacific, I wondered how the bald eagle nests fared up at Thurmond Lake, where the big birds hatch their young each winter in the project’s massive pine trees.

Fortunately, the nesting areas seem to have escaped the worst of the damage, said Corps of Engineers conservation biologist Ken Boyd.

“Most of the serious impact to trees was actually from about the Clarks Hill community and south and east,” he said. “Most of the areas north of Clarks Hill received mostly sleet and snow which didn’t do near the damage.”

As a precaution, corps officials hope to visit the known nest sites this week to check on them, he said.

SPEAKING OF ICE : Around my house, the cleanup is finally nearing an end - and it appears the Augusta Icequake of 2014 actually brought some unforeseen benefits.

After three days of chainsawing up the pines and hickories that collapsed onto my fenced vegetable garden, I realized my perennial issue with getting enough sun on my tomatoes has been resolved.

All four trees that fell were hindering both the early morning and late afternoon sun, so I should have an additional two to three hours of sunlight from now on.

And of course, I’ll never need firewood again.

ANTLER SCORING: South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources is gearing up for its annual statewide search for the biggest and best whitetails.

Each year during March, the department measures deer antlers throughout the state, with a major effort during the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic scheduled for March 28-30 at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia.

S.C. DNR will schedule scoring sessions at 12 other sites statewide. The session closest to the Augusta area will be held Friday, March 7, at Wilson’s Taxidermy, 158 Victory Lane, Bath, S.C. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (803) 593-3357 for more details.

A total of 6,168 sets of antlers, including 5,936 typical racks and 232 nontypical, are currently ranked on South Carolina’s all-time antler records list, according to Charles Ruth, Deer and Wild Turkey Project supervisor for DNR.

Although record deer have been recorded from all counties, Aiken, Anderson, and Orangeburg counties have produced the greatest numbers in the past three to four years.

DNR POACHER PATROL: A state ranger who helped lead one of the most complex poaching investigations in recent history is being honored as the Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Division’s Investigative Ranger of the Year.

Ranger First Class David Webb, representing Towns County, was a principle investigator in a case titled Operation Something Bruin, which required cooperation with other states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service.

Ultimately, the operation yielded more than 900 state and federal charges, including 139 state charges against eight defendants in Georgia, and 110 state charges against 26 defendants in North Carolina.

For his part of the investigation, Webb served as an undercover officer for 18 months where his duties included infiltrating groups suspected to be hunting illegally.


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