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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. .

Such is the price of sacrifice
By Will Maines

THERE ARE TIMES when a man has to do what a man has to do. Sometimes that means doing something for the greater good of mankind, even if it poses a grave threat to one’s own manhood.

I found myself in that position last weekend, and like a true American I sacrificed myself to the altar of yuppie tourism, treating my lovely wife to a weekend in Lake Superior country, specifically the towns of Ashland, Washburn, Bayfield and La Pointe, mainly the latter two.

Not realizing it was Bay Days in Ashland and Bay Fest in Bayfield,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:38 PM
The joy really is of cooking
By Will Maines

IT IS A refrain that is unoriginal and oft repeated, but I’m going to say it again because it is a refrain well worthy of being repeated. One of the best things about hunting and fishing is the eating of the wild game and fish that comes after you bring the fish and game home.

Decades ago my dad hunted and fished to put food on the table for his young family. Sure it was a lot of fun hunting and fishing, but there was more importance attached to “bringing home the bacon” than there was oohing and aahing over the joy of the outing.

Don’t get me wrong, my dad would not have hunted

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 11:25 AM
87 days to reach heaven
By Will Maines

I KNOW THERE are still 87 days until the opening day of North Dakota duck season, but that doesn’t mean I have to wait 87 days to go to bed dreaming about it.

Duck season, in case you haven’t figured it out, is to my way of thinking Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, my birthday and every other holiday of the year rolled into one.

As a matter of fact, I could miss any one or all of those other holidays without so much as a tear dribbling down my cheek, but take away duck season opener and you might as well take me out behind the barn and shoot me.

It has been thus even before I took part in my very first opening

Tuesday, July 08, 2014 1:28 PM
Sunsets are to be treasured
By Will Maines

IT’S FUNNY HOW taking a few minutes to enjoy one thing can, with some tiny little stimulus, lead to a wandering mind and thoughts of something completely different.

The other evening I was out tidying up my flower beds, deadheading a few spent gaillardia blossoms here and pulling a weed there when I got distracted.

While I was standing a few steps back from a bed which contains a giant clump of goat’s beard in full bloom, I looked up and noticed a beautiful sunset in the making.

With a few soft, thin clouds floating above the western horizon,

Tuesday, July 01, 2014 10:45 AM
Who knew? A surprise from dad
By Will Maines

JUST WHEN YOU think you know a person they throw you a major curveball.

I thought I knew everything there was to know about my dad, but a couple weeks ago while my sister was rummaging through my dad’s odds and ends hunting and fishing drawer she found something he had done that neither of us would have ever guessed he was interested in.

One thing we did know was that my dad immensely

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 1:02 PM
Can’t stop North Woods folks
By Will Maines

NEITHER RAIN nor mosquitoes nor dark of night can stop North Woods country folk from having a good time in the outdoors.

I have often found this to be true, and never more so than last weekend. It has been a different spring for me, a spring in which I have not been able to do many of the things I enjoy.

It wasn’t an earth shattering moment for the rest of the world last Feb. 22, but the instant I landed on a rock hard piece of the American Birkebeiner trail, which for most of its length was soft as a marshmallow under 14 inches of new snow, the course was set for

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:12 AM
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

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