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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. .

Everyone should have a cabin


By Will Maines

EVERYONE SHOULD have a cabin.

The cabin may serve as a place to while away quiet afternoons reading a good book, a hideaway from family and/or friends who are driving you nuts, a headquarters for hunting, fishing or other outdoor adventures or, in the case of little kids, a fortress from which dragons can be slain, armies conquered and intergalactic expeditions launched.

The first cabin which served pretty much all of those functions for me was the squared-log cabin my dad built for Uncle Neal on the banks of Plum Creek. Memory plays tricks on me these days, but I believe it was built in 1960.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 4:52 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, December 19, 2012 3:33 PM )
Season of transition has begun


By Will Maines

IT WOULD APPEAR that the season of transition has begun.

Though winter won’t officially begin until December 21, as usual it has begun in this neck of the woods at the end of November.

There was this little thing called the Wisconsin deer season to get through first, and it was a season that truly began with all the trappings of late autumn before switching in high gear to dead-on winter the night of Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:23 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:28 PM )
It was a darn good opener


By Will Maines

ALL THINGS considered, it was a pretty darn good opener.

It took until 6:35 Saturday morning, opening day of deer season, for the event to be officially kicked off in my neck of the woods, which is when I heard someone touch off the first shot within hearing distance.

My .30/06 remained silent, but though I didn’t get a chance to put the crosshairs on a buck, I still enjoyed one of the most eventful openers in my recent memory.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 3:35 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:29 PM )
The lure and lore of thin ice


By Will Maines

EVERYONE, AT LEAST everyone I know, has done something, somewhere along the line that had everyone they know saying they were skating on thin ice.

As a kid my teachers, parents and practically every adult I knew told me that a lot, usually just before escorting me on a trip to the woodshed or the principal’s office.

Maybe it was dumb luck, but somehow or other I managed to survive several instances of literally skating — or walking — on thin ice.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 2:30 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:31 PM )
Ermines make nice neighbors


By Will Maines

WHEN YOU’VE walked around the woods as long and as often as I have, you get to the point where you figure you must have seen everything. Then you see something you’ve never seen before, and you realize you will never see it all.

Last week an unannounced visitor to the store reminded me of a lot of the out of the ordinary things I’ve seen while in the woods or on the waters.

It was Thursday afternoon and Paul was standing by the back door ready to head out on a call when there was a sudden interruption that delayed his departure.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:36 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:32 PM )
Deer hunt dreams live on


By Will Maines

THE THERMOMETER might read 18 degrees in the morning as mine did the other day, but that kind of reading does nothing but warm the cockles of the heart for those who dream of windswept ridges, snow sifting through balsams and big whitetail bucks searching the woods for every doe within sniffing distance.

Bow hunters who get to hunt pre-rut, prime rut and end of rut all through the month of November drool at the thought of cold mornings driving big bucks to testosterone-driven careless prowling of the woods, while gun hunters like me have to wait and hope the action will still be running hot and heavy come the third Saturday of November.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 3:02 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:33 PM )
Gopher hunt a big success


By Will Maines

SOME AUTUMN weekends are meant for hunting, and some, well, they’re pretty much made for hunting as well.

Some autumn weekends find me hunting for ducks, some for partridges, some for deer and some for turkeys.

Last weekend I went on a first-ever hunt for something else. The quarry was Gophers — with a capital G — and the results were smashing. That would be smashing as in a maroon and gold clad tight end wearing No. 83 getting smashed in the ribs and barely getting up, without so much as a completed pass to ease his pain.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 2:41 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:35 PM )
Fleeting autumn offers much


By Will Maines

YESTERDAY IT WAS 90 degrees and we were all complaining how hot it was and how nice it would be when the first of September started bringing temperatures back down to a more enjoyable level.

Today the leaves are three-quarters gone, snow has touched the ground already and we’re all wondering where summer has gone.

I for one don’t dwell much on summer, especially on hot summers. I live for autumn when all the things I love most are right there in front of me, if only for a fleeting amount of time.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012 3:06 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:36 PM )
My waders got runned over

By Will Maines

IF YOU LISTENED to country music back in the ’60s and ’70s, there is a song I think you’ll remember that was recorded by one of country’s outlaws, David Allan Coe.

Its name was, “You Never Even Call Me By Name,” although I remember it best for its final added-on verse which had nothing to do with the rest of the song, when Coe said that, with that verse, the song was the perfect country song.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012 2:40 PM
Life is good on the prairie

By Will Maines

LIFE IS GOOD. Life is being in North Dakota the first week of October for the opening week of duck season. There is no other place I’d rather be that week and, for the 20th year I am wandering the prairie, wading the sloughs and plowing through the cattails chasing after the ducks, geese, sandhill cranes and, this year, tundra swans, that so richly populate the greatest waterfowling territory in North America.

Tennessee John and I crossed the Red River of the North at Grand Forks about four o’clock Thursday afternoon last week on our way to open up duck camp in Egeland, N.D.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012 4:16 PM

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