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Will Maines

Trails & Tales

Will Maines is a native of the North Woods and an avid outdoorsman.
He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Time for a redneck war
By Will Maines

IT BEGAN AS a small skirmish. First it was a few scouts infiltrating the front lines. Then it became a few companies firing short bursts into isolated outposts looking for weak spots. It escalated into battalions rolling into position for pitched battle with the main forces.

And now, now it has become an uncontrolled conflagration, with dead and dying piling up in unspeakable numbers, with countless wounded being patched up on the battlefield only to be sent immediately back into the fight.

It is a battle of survival now, each side hoping

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:26 AM | Updated ( Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:27 AM )
Join the Ducks for half price
By Will Maines

A BREEZE WAS wafting across the marsh-encircled lake, trying but mostly failing to keep hordes of mosquitoes away from the man watching quietly at water’s edge.

From well up in the north end mallard hens quacked and from an elevated perch on a truck topper the man with an affinity for all waterfowl watched the small group of mallards clustered in a half-hidden cove.

Canada geese, six of them, stood warily on a small point of the boggy shore maybe 150 yards from the watcher’s place, and every now and then one of them would lend a throaty whu-honk to the choir of waterfowl scattered across the lake.

A flock of wood ducks startled the watcher as they swooped

Tuesday, June 03, 2014 10:06 AM
Guess what season it is
By Will Maines

MEMORIAL DAY has come and gone which means A. the unofficial tourist season has begun, B. the unofficial barbecue season has begun and C. the official mosquito, gnat and black fly season has begun.

I found out about the gnats last week when I tried doing some weeding in my flower beds, only to be chased indoors barely a half-hour into the chore. The notion that a swarm around a flower bed might simply be an anomaly was squashed a couple days later when my wife and I, along with many friends, tried to sit outdoors at a lovely wedding reception, only to be driven inside by an even bigger and nastier horde of gnats.

It’s amazing, isn’t it, how one week we can

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 12:51 PM
Wild really is beautiful
By Will Maines

TO PUT IT mildly, this will be an unusual spring and summer for me.

Normally I would have had my first walleyes, trout and bluegills in the frying pan by now, would have had turkey hunts in Kentucky and Wisconsin under my belt and, most likely, would be coming up on 100 miles or so ridden on my bicycle.

I would be planning camping trips, paddling my canoe and doing all the rest of the stuff I normally do from ice-out to ice-on.

Instead I am idling my time away lazing

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 9:42 AM
Good friends make the weekend
By Will Maines

I FORGET WHERE the quote comes from, but somewhere along the way in some movie it was said that a man is judged by the friends he makes during his time on Earth.

Just as I’m not sure of the quote’s origin, so too am I not sure of the exact quote, but the above pretty much gets to the gist of it.

The important thing is, if I were to be judged by the friends I have made, the friends I spent time with last weekend would make my life look pretty good.

My lovely wife and I took the weekend

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 10:52 AM
Freedom is finally here
By Will Maines

AS THIS LONG winter finally winds to an end, albeit grudgingly so, I have at last experienced the longed for freedom that can only come from the complete melting of snow pack which has held everyone in the North Woods captive for too many months.

One of the first things I do to celebrate snow melt each year is to start hiking cross-country wherever my boots want to take me. These old hiking boots of mine generally point to backwoods retreats long held out of reach by winter, most of which carry with them wonderful memories of days gone by.

This spring it has been especially meaningful

Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:27 AM
Catching is only half the fun
By Will Maines

THERE ARE FEW things in this world that give me more pleasure than fishing.

My fishing career began at a very early age, not unusual for most people lucky enough to be born and raised in this great north Wisconsin country of ours.

I have often recounted the story of my first trout caught out of Plum Creek when I was five, but I am not sure if that was my first fish period.

I’d like to believe that I was hoisting panfish into my dad’s rowboat

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 10:32 AM
Say hello to old friends
By Will Maines

IT SEEMS LIKE forever, but really it was just a few months ago that I said goodbye to a bunch of good friends. Now, one by one, several of them have begun dropping by to renew acquaintances for another year.

The friends who excite me most swung by, or to be precise swung over at the most unexpected time, just one day after the monster snowstorm we had last week.

What four beautiful Canada geese were doing flying over my house last week is beyond me, but I strongly suspect they were looking for a patch of open water, any open water, in the neighborhood.

I knew they had met up with

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:31 AM
But only if you have to
By Will Maines

LEGEND HAS IT that George Washington once said, after he had cut down a cherry tree, that he could not tell a lie. If George said that, then I submit George Washington never was a fisherman or a hunter during his otherwise distinguished lifetime.

I don’t believe any book of statutes officially condones it, and I know the Good Book does not, but I do know for a fact that it is the inalienable right of every fisherman and hunter to tell justifiable fibs and even, on occasion, bald-faced lies — and they do.

Actually there are several kinds of liars within the hunting

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 11:03 AM
We slugged it out, we did
By Will Maines

EVER SO SLOWLY we here in the North Woods are inching toward spring. So far it has been a battle between a winter which seems determined to stay and a spring arguing that it should take over. History tells us that eventually spring will be the victor.

In the meantime it is time to dream of the things we’ll do when spring is finally sprung, and to get all the gear ready we’ll need for our outdoor pursuits.

Normally I would be laying in heavy loads of No. 4 turkey shot, sifting through hunting clothes, cleaning and re-cleaning my 12 gauge and finding all the sundry other things I would need for turkey hunting.

I would be putting new four-pound

Tuesday, April 08, 2014 9:47 AM

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