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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. .


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
 
Let the caregiving begin
By Will Maines

I AM NO expert when it comes to having surgery and recovering from surgery, but I guess I will become one over the next few months.

Last Thursday when I could have been minding my own business and happily watching the Wisconsin Badgers in their opening NCAA men’s basketball tournament game, I found myself instead getting my left shoulder sliced and diced to patch up what I did to it a month earlier when I crashed and burned in the American Birkebeiner.

Now, a week into recovery and a day away

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 9:34 AM
 
It was the hunt of dreams
By Will Maines

THE DARK OF night grudgingly gives way to the first dawn of light over the oak-covered ridge where a hunter sits silently in wait.

It is spring in Kentucky, and the hunter, a long way from his North Wisconsin home, is looking forward to a sun that will soon lift the temperature on his ridge from an early morning low of 40 to a bone-warming high of 75 later in the day.

It has been a hard, cold winter up north,

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 11:33 AM
 
When the old-timers go
By Will Maines

“WHEN THE President of the Old Duck Hunters’ Association Inc. (ODHA) died, the hearts of many men fell to the ground.” — “The Old Brown Mackinaw”

Gordon MacQuarrie wrote that line to begin one of his most poignant ODHA stories, a story in which he acknowledged the passing of the fictional Mr. President who had led the two-man organization since MacQuarrie began the series of stories in 1932.

In reality he was mourning the passing in 1938 of his beloved father-in-law, Al Peck, a Superior auto dealer who served as the model for Mr. President.

Today my heart has fallen to the ground. My Mr. President,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 10:56 AM
 
The winter of our discontent
By Will Maines

WHEN WILLIAM Shakespeare opened “Richard III,” a play he wrote in 1594, with the line, “Now is the winter of our discontent,” I’m quite sure he was not talking about the nefarious King Richard III, subject of the play, as many historians contend, nor the “sun of York” during a Yorkshire winter.

No, I contend the Bard of Avon had been doing some time traveling and was talking instead about the cruelties of a long, cold winter in north Wisconsin during the years 2013-’14.

I think, looking at what we have suffered through for

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 1:18 PM
 
Can’t beat beans, bacon and bread
By Will Maines

IT MAY BE a figment of my imagination, but I do believe that the very best meals I have ever eaten in my life have been cooked over an open campfire. Whether it be on a hunting expedition, fishing trip, camping outing or just a plain old picnic, food tastes better when one eats it while watching waves lap upon the shore of a quiet lake or along a roistering trout stream or in a duck blind or in the shadow of a Rocky Mountains peak.

I was introduced to campfire dinners at a young age when my dad and I would head out on overnight trout fishing expeditions either to Upper Michigan or the fabled trout streams of Wisconsin’s northwest, most notably the Bois Brule.

Understand that I was a little kid who thought peanut butter and

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 11:24 AM
 
The Birkie won, I lost
By Will Maines

EVERY AMERICAN Birkebeiner has its own stories, and this year’s edition had its share. The story really began late Thursday afternoon when a blizzard blew into Hayward and Cable that buried the 54-kilometer course under 13 inches of snow.
Every one of us who would take off from the start line Saturday morning knew what we would be in for — a skier-eating monster of a course — and yet when the gun went off for the first elite

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 12:02 PM
 
What happened to one and done?
By Will Maines

READY OR NOT, three days after this is published I will be at the start line, along with 10,299 other cross-country skiers, of the 41st annual American Birkebeiner.

With any luck, somewhere around six hours after the gun goes off for my sixth wave Classic start, I will trudge up Main Street in Hayward and complete my 19th Birkie.

Who wudda thunk it? My first Birkebeiner was in 1984, back when we still skied from Hayward to Telemark Lodge near Cable, and if all had gone according to plan, it would have been my first and only Birkie.

When I signed up to do the Birkie that year,

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:31 PM
 
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