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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. .


Hizzoner would be proud of us
By Will Maines

THERE?IS nothing better to see on an early autumn morning than a young duck hunter grinning ear to ear while holding a nice mixed bag of ducks taken with unerring aim a scarce two hours into the season’s first day.

Okay, so technically last Saturday would still qualify as late summer and the unerring aim part might be just a bit of an exaggeration, but the wide grin on the face of a young hunter is still as good a sight to an old duck hunter as ever there has been.

Saturday marked the opening of the two-day youth duck hunt in Wisconsin, and well before the 6:06 opening minute my young partner, Nate, and I were securely ensconced in a blind built at the end of a balsam point a week earlier.

Two goose decoys had been placed by Nate according to the old hunter’s instructions

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 3:24 PM
 
Time to segue into fall
By Will Maines

IF THERE’S ANYTHING  a writer appreciates, it’s a good segue. Now and then I have been known to come up with a fairly good segue, but last weekend I was reminded that no one does it better than Mother Nature.

The weekend began Friday with a summerlike fishing expedition on a small lake less than 15 miles from my house where swarms of walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass have been known to swallow small dogs and children whole.

Now and then, it has been reported, eight-point whitetail bucks trying to get a drink in the shallows have been pulled deep into the lake where schools of oversized crappie and bluegill have taken turns chewing them down to the bone, though personally I tend to disbelieve that;

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:03 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:04 PM )
 
A rightful place and time
By Will Maines

THE SCENE WAS set, the time was right.

The old duck hunter was in his rightful place and, as he sat there slowly scanning the distant sky from north to east to south and back, the ducks came.

At first they were just black dots a half-mile distant, but to eyes that had been doing the same job for more than 50 years, they were unmistakably ducks; ducks on the way.

It took another 30 seconds or so, but gradually

Tuesday, September 03, 2013 2:57 PM
 
There is much treasure to be had
By Will Maines

THIS IS THE season to harvest the treasures of the North Woods.

Granted, many of us have been gathering and eating and storing treasures like walleye, perch and bluegill for several months, and for the most part blueberry and raspberry pickers have done their thing as well.

But the real harvesting of the treasures is just beginning, starting with what looks to be a bumper crop of blackberries.

I say a bumper crop, even though my honey

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 12:10 PM
 
Almost a great Christmas
By Will Maines

IT WAS ALMOST a spectacular early Christmas present, but only almost.

My wonderful, favorite, and only daughter did her best, but apparently the fates conspired against her in her quest to land what might have been one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever received, or at least the most humorous.

Last week Friday at noon, tickets went on sale for

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 4:43 PM
 
Time to harvest wild crops
By Will Maines

IT LOOKS LIKE this will be a bountiful year. For anyone who reaps part of the yearly harvest from Wisconsin’s North Country, the crop looks very good indeed.

Whether you pick blueberries, raspberries or blackberries; whether you put northern pike, panfish or walleye in your freezer; whether you hope to bag a deer, turkey, duck or grouse; this looks like a bonanza year.

From a personal standpoint, I have already enjoyed my fair share of the summer harvest, but what has me excited is the fact that much of the best is yet to come.

The year got off to a great start in May when I killed the first

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 5:15 PM
 
It’s good to revisit history
By Will Maines

THERE IS AN oft repeated quote used mostly by politicians and teachers that — to very loosely paraphrase — says that in order to understand where you’re going you have to occasionally look in the rearview mirror.

Last weekend I spent some time revisiting a few of the places where my personal history was made, and when my adventures were done I concluded I could repeat history and be happy that I had done so.

I have spent the better part of this summer, actually all of this summer, avoiding doing anything that requires aerobic exercise, with the end result that I am facing the beginning of hunting seasons and later on the American Birkebeiner with absolutely no body of work to

Tuesday, August 06, 2013 4:25 PM
 
The fire still burns fiercely
By Will Maines

THERE ARE THINGS in this world that are dead certainties, two of the most famously quoted being death and taxes.

For guys like me you can add a third; a passion for ducks and duck hunting.

I think for most duck hunters the planning, the dreaming and the waiting for next year’s season doesn’t really kick in until a few weeks before the actual opening day.

For those of us with a passion for ducks that burns

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 3:06 PM
 
Lucy the loon is a moocher
By Will Maines

IF I’VE SAID it once, I’ve probably said it a million times, yet every time I say it I am proven wrong. When I say I’ve seen everything, invariably I see something new.

Boy, was that ever the case last Sunday when I spent a few hours fishing with the grandchildren and daughter of good friends John and Dee Burlingame, whose family has owned property on Big Muskellunge Lake for 80 years, give or take a few.

Daughter, Becky, knows which end of the rod to hold

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 5:15 PM
 
A million things to do outdoors
By Will Maines

WEDDING receptions make for a good time to eat, drink and be merry, celebrate the start of a new life for a young couple and spend time talking with good friends.

Last weekend, at the outdoor wedding reception for our neighbors, Graham and Cally, I did all of the above, including talking with good friends.

With some of the guys I traded the same fishing and hunting lies we’ve been exchanging for years, all of them miraculously finding a new twist or turn.

With others I talked about flower gardens, comparing

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 5:38 PM
 
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