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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. .

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
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

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