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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 greatest gift of all
By Will Maines

I was watching a Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel the other night starring Richard Thomas, better known, perhaps, as John-Boy Walton.
The name of the movie was “The Christmas Box,” and one of the lines that struck me as particularly relevant was a question posed to Thomas by Maureen O’Hara, whose character, the elderly owner of a Christmas box asked, “Of all the Christmas gifts, what was the first gift of Christmas?”
The question was the crux of the movie and, because the characters played by Thomas and O’Hara had a difficult time initially in establishing a relationship, it took Thomas most of the second half of the movie to figure out the correct answer.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 3:26 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:30 PM )
Give me a wooly mammoth hide
By Will Maines

SOMETIMES I THINK the cavemen had it right.
Take camping, for instance. Cavemen lived an entire lifetime in a permanent state of camping out. Their “tents” ranged anywhere from semipermanent caves to overnight shelters underneath the sweeping branches of a blowdown pine to, in somewhat later days, a crude hut of woven sticks thatched with grass or, if lucky, animal hides.

Fire was a newfangled invention and, once they had it, it must have seemed a wonderful thing for Trog and Uma to sit around a campfire on a lonely night with a fire throwing sparks in the air while the amorous couple made sparks of their own.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 7:09 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:32 PM )
It's a good time to be a Badger
By Will Maines

It’s a good time to be a Badger.
I’m not talking about the wild critter Wisconsin is famous for, nor the badger which serves as this state’s flagship university mascot, nor the athletic teams of the state, but about you and me and all the other Badgers who proudly call Wisconsin home.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011 6:21 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:33 PM )
No fence could keep me out
By Will Maines

BUILD A FENCE and they will come.
It worked when Kevin Costner built a ball park in a corn field, and now, apparently, it has worked— extremely well — for the American Birkebeiner.
I began skiing the Birkie in 1984, entering it the year it hit an all-time participant record of, as I recall, more than 7,500 skiers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 1:35 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:34 PM )
Is that all there is? You bet!


By Will Maines

IS THAT all there is? Peggy Lee, one of the most renowned female singers in American history, famously asked that question in her rendition of the song of that name.

And for a little history lesson for those of you under the age of 40 — Peggy Lee was born in 1920 and performed into the 1990s before passing away in 2002.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 7:26 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, November 22, 2011 7:56 PM )
Trusted companions made the hunt
By Will Maines

GUESS WHAT time of year it is? If you said autumn, give yourself one point. If you said the beginning of deer season, give yourself three points and a solid attaboy.
Yes, folks, come Saturday morning at 6:33 a.m. local time, Wisconsin’s gun deer season, without question this state’s most revered hunting season, will officially begin.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 7:34 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 23, 2011 2:09 PM )
Trail work an exercise in joy
By Will Maines

WHO WOULD have thought days of weather generally associated more closely with September than November would continue so long into the fall season?
Though there is little about northern Wisconsin weather that truly surprises me after 62 years of experience with it, I am nonetheless very agreeable with sunshine and temperatures approaching or even into the 50s at this time of year.
I can guarantee one thing — I am not about to waste such weather.
Last weekend was one of those that simply demanded a person get off their backside and do

Tuesday, November 08, 2011 8:27 PM
A time and place for everything
By Will Maines

There is a time and place for everything, and Saturday it was ordained that the time for this old duck hunter was midafternoon, and the place, a duck blind on Rice Lake.
It was gray and a bit gloomy when I loaded up the implements of the trade and wheeled the red truck northward from my house, shifting into second gear while tossing a cheerful, “See you later with a brace of ducks in each hand,” at the lady of the house, to which she murmured a less than enthusiastic response, “Yeah, sure, if you say so.”
Truth is, I knew the odds of returning with so much as a single duck were stacked heavily against me, but old duck hunters don’t think about something so piddling as the kill on a late October hunt

Tuesday, November 01, 2011 2:51 PM
Young dogs can teach new tricks
By Will Maines

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but no one ever said a young dog can’t teach an old hunter new tricks.
It’s a good thing there is no such saying, because a couple weekends ago, this old hunter learned a couple of new tricks while hunting behind a young dog named Gabby.
Gabby is a German shorthaired pointer, and she is very, very proficient at what she does, which is hunting up and pointing ruffed grouse — partridge — and woodcock.
Gabby and her boss, Bruce Drew, met me for a Sunday morning hunt which was far different than any partridge hunting expedition I’ve ever been on before.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 2:58 PM
A good dog is a wondrous thing
By Will Maines

A good dog is a wondrous thing.
Hunting behind a good dog is a wonderful experience.
I have been fortunate over the past 50-plus years to have hunted behind a number of good dogs, heck, excellent dogs.
It all started with Ike, a Chesapeake retriever who taught me much of what I know about duck and ruffed grouse — partridge — hunting, beginning when I was 12 years old.
Ike came into my life at age 7, and so it was that my dad had five years of proper training and

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 10:42 AM

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