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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. .

The case of the missing opener
By Will Maines

YOU COULD CALL iit the “Case of the Missing Opener.” As mysteries go, it wouldn’t amount to much, but a movie of that name would explain how I managed to miss an opening day of the Wisconsin fishing season for the first time since Hector was a pup.
While countless other people enjoyed a great day of sunshine — unexpected —and fish catching — expected — on the water, I settled for working all day and doling out about 4 gazillion dozen minnows and a large number of worms, crawlers and leeches.
I could have gone fishing in the evening, which I had every intention of doing, but about the time I planned on going my wife and several good friends put a rope around my neck and dragged me off to the Sayner Pub.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 2:59 PM
A classic cudda, shudda, wudda
By Will Maines

HAVE YOU EVER heard the classic line from losers — cudda, shudda, wudda?
As a hunter who has experienced plenty of those through over 50 years of hunting, it should come as no surprise that it happened to me again last week.
It began last Wednesday when a North Woods gobbler avoided becoming smoked turkey breast on my platter when an ill-timed interruption of another hunter saved the amorous bird at not only the 11th hour, but the 59th second as well.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 5:26 PM
The gobblers made us suffer
By Will Maines

THE FIRST LEG of the odyssey has been completed — unsuccessfully, I might add.
As the second of six Wisconsin turkey seasons opened last Wednesday, I was prepared to show off my expert turkey calling while bringing in a big-boss gobbler for turkey hunting neophyte Dirty Doug McDrew.
As things turned out, all I accomplished for my effort in Clark County was luring one porcupine and one squirrel which, combined with the fisher I called in a couple weeks ago while scouting for birds up here, might say a lot about my calling abilities. We headed for Thorp on Thursday afternoon, hoping to get in an hour or so of early evening hunting, but a cold, pouring rain which pelted the car’s windshield from Wausau on west put a damper on that plan.
Instead, we went over maps with my Birkebeiner skiing buddy, Mitch Eichman, on whose farm and two other properties we fully intended to find a gobbler for Doug.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 2:25 PM
Time alone is time well spent
By Will Maines

PEOPLE WHO KNOW me know that much of my time outdoors is spent as —using the politically correct term — a hunter/gatherer.
To put it in real terms, depending on the season, you might well find me trying to kill a buck, a wild turkey, wild ducks or, if on the water, trying to catch trout, bluegills, walleyes or northern pike; all of them to be put on my table for food.
I dearly love my time spent outdoors with a rod and reel or gun in my hands, but truthfully, some of my very best outdoor outings have been those when I pursued nothing save the joy of being alive and alone in the wilds.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 2:10 PM
When I call, they come a-running
By Will Maines

I BELIEVE I have found my calling.
At age 62 it may be a bit late in life to be finding one’s calling, but as they always say, better late than never.
Actually I found this particular calling many, many years ago, but even though I have long tried to convince people of my abilities in the field, I never was able to produce conclusive proof until last weekend.
The field of which I speak is the great outdoors, and the calling is the adept and expert manipulation of calls intended to fool such critters as ducks, turkeys, elk and deer.
I have had just a one-time experience in trying to call in a bull elk and, seeing as how my one and only elk expedition to New Mexico saw me return with an unfilled tag, it might seem quite evident that my calling efforts left something to be desired.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012 2:11 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, April 10, 2012 2:13 PM )
Walking circles is good training
By Will Maines

THE OTHER DAY?while shopping at one of our local grocery stores, I came to the end of an aisle, looked to my left and saw a young gaffer, maybe 4 years old or so, running around in a small circle again, again and again.
While his mother spent five minutes apparently trying to figure out what kind of apples to buy, the little guy never slowed up. Around and around he went in a circle about 6 feet in diameter, giggling and “wheeing” the whole time.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012 2:33 PM
Just wait ’til next time
By Will Maines

WHO WUDDA thunk it?
If you had tried to tell me a month ago that I would be sliding my canoe into the lake of my choice in Vilas County on March 24 for an afternoon of fishing, I would have called you a fuzzy-headed dreamer, a half-baked idiot or perhaps something of an even more imaginative nature.
Open-water fishing on March 24 in Vilas County —not possible.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 3:35 PM
Welcome back, my ducky friends
By Will Maines

After a forced separation of nearly four months, I have been reunited with the best friends I have ever known. It has been a very early, but a very welcome reunion.
As of Monday I renewed acquaintances with some of my best friends, including Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, Mr. and Mrs. Wood Duck and Mr. and Mrs. Hooded Merganser.
Yes, the ducks that are the love of my life are back, albeit a couple of weeks early, but unlike the freeloading black sheep cousin or uncle or in-law you hope will never come back for a visit, these friends are welcome in my neighborhood anytime, any place.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 3:30 PM
Antiseptic, gauze and adhesive strips
By Will Maines

I DON’T KNOW what got us on the topic the other day, but somehow a small group of us “intellectuals” got into a discussion about emergency rooms. We decided that today’s emergency rooms are abused by people with plush medical insurance plans.
I know people who haul their kids to the emergency room at the first sign of a cough or hiccup. Every time they come home from such a visit, they bring with them a bucketful of pills prescribed, I suspect, by doctors who would rather do that than waste any more time than necessary being threatened by parents who are sure “Johnny” or “Susie” is deathly ill and whose life can only be spared by ingesting a bucketful of pills.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 3:17 PM
March brings visions of spring
By Will Maines

SO THERE IT is. The “blizzard” of 2012 is in the history books, and for the first time in a long time, the “blizzard of the year” really was a blizzard.
Trust me, any time you have to shovel, plow and dig out from underneath 18 inches of snow in one day, it is a blizzard.
But now that’s done and over with and, at the risk of jinxing all of us, I will boldly proclaim that the end of winter will soon follow.
That leads us, of course, into spring and a whole new world of outdoor opportunities.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012 11:03 AM

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