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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. .

In three weeks we’ll find out

By Will Maines

THIS IS ONE of those times, pardon the lack of grammar, that I am glad I done what I done.

When it came time to put in my Wisconsin spring turkey permit application last November I considered, then passed, wisely as it turns out, applying for a first season tag.

Given that there is now roughly 30 inches of snow on the ground, with more forecast this week, and given that Wisconsin’s first turkey hunt season this year begins April 10, I am quite happy I received a permit for the fifth season which begins May 8.

As I contemplated what

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 3:21 PM
Spring migration on its way

By Will Maines

ONE WOULDN’T KNOW it by looking outside this week, but spring isn’t too far away.

That’s a good thing, because when it arrives in as few as three weeks and maybe as many as six — arriving being defined by when the ice on area lakes goes out — I will be in heaven.

Ice out, especially on those shallow, muck-bottomed lakes of the North Woods which are the preferred habit of wild ducks and geese, means that I will be spending a lot of time huddled among the branches of low-growing black spruce and remnants of old duck blinds watching

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 3:43 PM
Nothing beats a good walk

By Will Maines

THERE IS NEVER a bad time to take a walk in the North Woods.

Whether for exercise, for you or the dog, for relief from cabin fever, to look for wildlife or simply to breathe in some clean, fresh air, nothing beats a walk in the woods.

Unfortunately during this time of year, walking options are somewhat limited unless you want to strap on snowshoes and wade through knee deep snow, which I don’t.

For the most part my walks during winter, especially

Tuesday, March 05, 2013 6:02 PM
We came, saw and conquered

By Will Maines

WE CAME, we saw, we conquered — sort of. For the boys of Beach View Condo, it was a different kind of American Birkebeiner this year.

After skiing twenty-one full Birkies, the Eichmann brothers, Mitch and Tony, switched to the Kortelopet this year, as did this reporter who switched after 18 Birkies.

We were joined by Korte rookie Jim Gulcynski of Thorp, Mitch’s neighbor, who decided it was time to take the plunge.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 4:45 PM
Camping and trout go together

By Will Maines

I KNOW THERE’S a lot of winter left, but seeing the calendar ready to hit March 1, just over a week from now, tells me that it’s okay to start thinking spring.

The initial indication of spring fever hitting me came last week when I perused the first garden catalog to come in the mail this year. With a yard full of flower beds, I am a sucker for the pretty pictures and alluring descriptions of the many-colored flowers gracing the slick pages of such catalogs.

I don’t actually buy anything,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 3:57 PM
Fishing for a great cause

By Will Maines

SOMETIMES THERE are things that happen which leave you with nothing to say but, “Wow!” Last Saturday evening all I could say was, “Wow!”

The occasion was the conclusion of the 11th annual Plum Lake ice fishing tourney held by the Sayner-Star Lake Lions Club, of which I am a member.

The tournament has turned into our single biggest fundraising event of the year, and this year we not only broke last year’s record as our most profitable ever, we smashed the record to smithereens.

All that happened with an economy

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 4:28 PM
Even I make a few good shots

By Will Maines

ONE THING I’VE learn­ed about being laid up with a nasty bout of bronchitis is that you tend to spend a lot of hours tilted back in a recliner watching TV shows that really aren’t much worth watching.

Tiring of “Law and Order” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” reruns, as well as even the highly entertaining “Duck Dynasty,” I found — much to my wife’s chagrin — several hunting shows on the outdoor channels that demanded my viewership.

It was actually quite humorous watching some of the duck hunting shows and observing that, just like me, a lot of the duck hunters blasting away at hundreds of ducks and geese invading their decoy spreads are just as lousy at wing shooting as I am.

I’m telling you, there are an awful lot of

Tuesday, February 05, 2013 5:34 PM
No Birkie for me this year

By Will Maines

STOP THE PRESSES. Hold the phone. The biggest story of the winter just hit the wires. There will be no American Birkebeiner ski race Feb. 23.

Okay, so this isn’t April Fools’ Day, and there will really be a Birkie on its regularly scheduled date, but the previous paragraph did contain a grain of truth.

There will be a Birkie this year; just not for me. A bout of acute bronchitis that put me down for the count last week has wiped out any thoughts of me skiing the Birkie.

I realize you’re probably saying to yourself about this time, “Big deal,

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 4:53 PM
It’s always a good day

By Will Maines

IF YOU WERE asked to end the sentence, “It’s a good day to . . . ,” how would you end it?

I have too many favorite good things to settle on just one, so on this cold January day I’ll do what I do best — idly daydream — and conjure up a number of things that can be done on a good day.

In no specific order of preference, it’s always a good day to go trout fishing, duck hunting or take a simple walk through the woods.

It’s always a good day to lie on your back under a warm sun and watch puffy white clouds float by, to sit

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 4:25 PM
A fine time to ice fish


By Will Maines

CROSS-COUNTRY skiing? No! Snowmobiling? No! Snowshoeing? No! Ice Fishing? You bet! In this winter of no snow we are presently down to about one outdoor recreation pursuit left to us, and you have to admit that even if you are not a regular ice fisherman the sport is a pretty good alternative.

Partridge Lake has been the site of many outdoor expeditions for me, with mixed results, but one thing it is reliably famous for, is a large population of panfish.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 4:49 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, January 16, 2013 2:29 PM )

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