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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. .

Verdict is in, it was swatted
By Will Maines

IT WAS IN part an exercise in futility, but mostly it was a ceremonial rite, a continuation of a path first taken some 52 years ago.

During the last 52 years, my career as a partridge hunter has gone from wide-eyed neophyte crazy for the hunt to dedicated partridge devotee to semi-serious pursuer of partridges to an outing a year guy who has no real expectations of bringing home a bird.

What partridge hunting has come to be for me

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 2:58 PM
Dreaming of a season ahead
By Will Maines

WITH TEMPERATURES hovering around 60 and a smiling sun beaming down from high above, it may have seemed strange last weekend for someone to be concentrating most of their thoughts just around the corner on a cold winter to come.

You may think it would be strange to have been thinking of snowstorms and a world of white punctuated mainly by gray and black tree trunks with the deep green of pine or fir providing the only color relief in the forest during the heart of winter, but that’s exactly what I was thinking last weekend.

Two things got me into that frame of mind.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 2:55 PM
The ducks, the land, the hunter
By Will Maines

LAST WEEK was a time for water. I waded through water — not to mention a lot of muck and mire — floated on water and, believe it or not, walked on water.

The wading and the floating were confined to seven joyous days of duck and goose hunting in North Dakota where ponds and sloughs number in the thousands.

The walking on water part might be stretching things a bit, but in a way I did, and I did it all the way across the mighty Mississippi River.

On the way back from North Dakota it was decided by my passenger

Tuesday, October 08, 2013 1:53 PM
Ducks make me happy, happy, happy
By Will Maines

AS THE Duck Commander Phil Robertsons would say, I am happy, happy, happy.

And why, you ask, would I be so happy, happy, happy?

Plain and simple, as you read this I am in the heart of North Dakota duck country and I am living the life that makes an old duck hunter nothing but happy, happy, happy.

That is, as you read this. As I write this it is still 18 hours

Tuesday, October 01, 2013 4:25 PM
Duck with a side of colonoscopy
By Will Maines

DID YOU KNOW duck hunting is just like having a colonoscopy? Whoa, betcha never saw that coming, but if you stop to think about it, it really is, at least in one respect.

For those of you who have had a colonoscopy, I’ve had two, the lead-up to the actual procedure is filled with nervousness, anxiety and yes, anticipation.

Likewise, the lead-up to the opening day of duck season is filled with nervousness, anxiety and, of course, anticipation.

The two are likewise similar, and here’s the kicker, after dealing with all

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 5:19 PM
Hizzoner would be proud of us
By Will Maines

THERE?IS nothing better to see on an early autumn morning than a young duck hunter grinning ear to ear while holding a nice mixed bag of ducks taken with unerring aim a scarce two hours into the season’s first day.

Okay, so technically last Saturday would still qualify as late summer and the unerring aim part might be just a bit of an exaggeration, but the wide grin on the face of a young hunter is still as good a sight to an old duck hunter as ever there has been.

Saturday marked the opening of the two-day youth duck hunt in Wisconsin, and well before the 6:06 opening minute my young partner, Nate, and I were securely ensconced in a blind built at the end of a balsam point a week earlier.

Two goose decoys had been placed by Nate according to the old hunter’s instructions

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 3:24 PM
Time to segue into fall
By Will Maines

IF THERE’S ANYTHING  a writer appreciates, it’s a good segue. Now and then I have been known to come up with a fairly good segue, but last weekend I was reminded that no one does it better than Mother Nature.

The weekend began Friday with a summerlike fishing expedition on a small lake less than 15 miles from my house where swarms of walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass have been known to swallow small dogs and children whole.

Now and then, it has been reported, eight-point whitetail bucks trying to get a drink in the shallows have been pulled deep into the lake where schools of oversized crappie and bluegill have taken turns chewing them down to the bone, though personally I tend to disbelieve that;

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:03 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:04 PM )
A rightful place and time
By Will Maines

THE SCENE WAS set, the time was right.

The old duck hunter was in his rightful place and, as he sat there slowly scanning the distant sky from north to east to south and back, the ducks came.

At first they were just black dots a half-mile distant, but to eyes that had been doing the same job for more than 50 years, they were unmistakably ducks; ducks on the way.

It took another 30 seconds or so, but gradually

Tuesday, September 03, 2013 2:57 PM
There is much treasure to be had
By Will Maines

THIS IS THE season to harvest the treasures of the North Woods.

Granted, many of us have been gathering and eating and storing treasures like walleye, perch and bluegill for several months, and for the most part blueberry and raspberry pickers have done their thing as well.

But the real harvesting of the treasures is just beginning, starting with what looks to be a bumper crop of blackberries.

I say a bumper crop, even though my honey

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 12:10 PM
Almost a great Christmas
By Will Maines

IT WAS ALMOST a spectacular early Christmas present, but only almost.

My wonderful, favorite, and only daughter did her best, but apparently the fates conspired against her in her quest to land what might have been one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever received, or at least the most humorous.

Last week Friday at noon, tickets went on sale for

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 4:43 PM

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