Amid the great outdoors, indoors

In search of a Christmas gift for a relative, my wife and I trekked to the new Bass Pro Shops store in Manteca, Calif., today. The store is, simply put, amazing.

Racks and racks of merchandise are on display amid scores of stuffed bears, deer, boars, wolves, buzzards, sheep and pretty much any other critter you can imagine killing with a rifle, shotgun, crossbow, blowgun or slingshot. All those weapons are for sale, of course.

Fish swim in a huge tank fed by a waterfall cascading from the upper level of the cavernous store, outfitted as a gigantic wilderness lodge. All manner of rods, reels and lures with which to hook the fish are also available, as are the cast-iron pans in which to fry them.

My recreational tastes tend more toward nine innings in the bleachers than nine hours in a duck blind. Yet I still enjoyed our visit to the BPS store, which I was surprised to learn from the cashier is the smallest shop in the chain. We lightened our bank account a bit by buying some snacks, a rack for our smoker, a fleece jacket for my wife and assorted gifts that will find their way into Christmas stockings and packages.

And yes, the store does sell caps. They’re mainly for hunters and fishermen. See if you can spot the camouflage model above.

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