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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. .

Ermines make nice neighbors


By Will Maines

WHEN YOU’VE walked around the woods as long and as often as I have, you get to the point where you figure you must have seen everything. Then you see something you’ve never seen before, and you realize you will never see it all.

Last week an unannounced visitor to the store reminded me of a lot of the out of the ordinary things I’ve seen while in the woods or on the waters.

It was Thursday afternoon and Paul was standing by the back door ready to head out on a call when there was a sudden interruption that delayed his departure.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:36 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:32 PM )
Deer hunt dreams live on


By Will Maines

THE THERMOMETER might read 18 degrees in the morning as mine did the other day, but that kind of reading does nothing but warm the cockles of the heart for those who dream of windswept ridges, snow sifting through balsams and big whitetail bucks searching the woods for every doe within sniffing distance.

Bow hunters who get to hunt pre-rut, prime rut and end of rut all through the month of November drool at the thought of cold mornings driving big bucks to testosterone-driven careless prowling of the woods, while gun hunters like me have to wait and hope the action will still be running hot and heavy come the third Saturday of November.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 3:02 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:33 PM )
Gopher hunt a big success


By Will Maines

SOME AUTUMN weekends are meant for hunting, and some, well, they’re pretty much made for hunting as well.

Some autumn weekends find me hunting for ducks, some for partridges, some for deer and some for turkeys.

Last weekend I went on a first-ever hunt for something else. The quarry was Gophers — with a capital G — and the results were smashing. That would be smashing as in a maroon and gold clad tight end wearing No. 83 getting smashed in the ribs and barely getting up, without so much as a completed pass to ease his pain.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 2:41 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:35 PM )
Fleeting autumn offers much


By Will Maines

YESTERDAY IT WAS 90 degrees and we were all complaining how hot it was and how nice it would be when the first of September started bringing temperatures back down to a more enjoyable level.

Today the leaves are three-quarters gone, snow has touched the ground already and we’re all wondering where summer has gone.

I for one don’t dwell much on summer, especially on hot summers. I live for autumn when all the things I love most are right there in front of me, if only for a fleeting amount of time.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012 3:06 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:36 PM )
My waders got runned over

By Will Maines

IF YOU LISTENED to country music back in the ’60s and ’70s, there is a song I think you’ll remember that was recorded by one of country’s outlaws, David Allan Coe.

Its name was, “You Never Even Call Me By Name,” although I remember it best for its final added-on verse which had nothing to do with the rest of the song, when Coe said that, with that verse, the song was the perfect country song.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012 2:40 PM
Life is good on the prairie

By Will Maines

LIFE IS GOOD. Life is being in North Dakota the first week of October for the opening week of duck season. There is no other place I’d rather be that week and, for the 20th year I am wandering the prairie, wading the sloughs and plowing through the cattails chasing after the ducks, geese, sandhill cranes and, this year, tundra swans, that so richly populate the greatest waterfowling territory in North America.

Tennessee John and I crossed the Red River of the North at Grand Forks about four o’clock Thursday afternoon last week on our way to open up duck camp in Egeland, N.D.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012 4:16 PM
One week leads to the next

By Will Maines

HAVE YOU EVER had one of those days when something different seems to happen every time you turn around? Last week I had one of those weeks.

It all started on Tuesday, I think, though with my memory it could have been Monday. Whichever, that was the day we had our first snowfall of the season.

Granted, there was nothing that stayed on the ground and, in addition the actual snowfall only lasted about two minutes, but when it came down it came down heavy. You might say snow in September isn’t something we normally get, but though it may not be a daily occurrence throughout the month you can just about make book that sometime in September around here we will see our first snow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 2:46 PM
The most beautiful place of all

By Will Maines

I?HAVE?AN interesting question for you. If you were asked to name the single most beautiful place in all of the United States, what place would you name?

I have to believe many people would cite the Grand Canyon, while others would surely choose the Rocky Mountains, maybe Mt. McKinley or maybe Niagara Falls.

Certainly the wildness and lore of Lake Superior would take top shelf in the minds of some people, or maybe even something like the nearly impenetrable bayous of Louisiana or Everglades Swamp of Florida would be in the mix.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 5:29 PM
Fall season means good eating

By Will Maines

THIS IS THE time of year when I get excited very easily. The simple arrival of fall is enough to get me going, and when you throw in nightly dreams of ducks, turkeys, partridges and deer, the rapid transition of leaf colors to hot shades of red is matched by the heat in my heart when I think of all that I want to do in the next three fleeting months.

Hunting the above-mentioned species tops the list of things that get me excited in autumn, as does the prospect of sharing good times with good friends, but one other thing excites me just as much.

If you promise not to report me to the macho men’s society, I will tell you that figuring out new recipes to use in preparing all the critters I shoot is, if not outright exciting, at least one of the most fun parts of my outdoor life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 2:16 PM
It will all be starting soon
By Will Maines

YOU COULDN’T TELL it by the gorgeous weather last week, but summer has already played the first few bars of its swan song.
If you looked around as you walked, pedaled or drove through the countryside, even as early as two weeks ago, you would have seen many ferns bent and brown along the road, maple trees sprouting an early coat of scarlet and flowers of late autumn like wild asters in full bloom.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012 3:28 PM

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