That leaves the Upper Midwest as the last bastion of great grouse and woodcock hunting. Among these states, Minnesota is king. More birds are harvested here than in either Michigan or Wisconsin, and even in a poor year, visiting hunters are astounded at the grouse and woodcock numbers. Head to Minnesota's north-central counties, specifically Itasca, Cass, and Beltrami, but also Aitkin, Crow Wing, and Koochiching. The Chippewa National Forest offers 666,623 acres of prime habitat. Public access abounds on state, county, and tax-forfeited lands, too. You could hunt many lifetimes here and never have to ask for permission or flush the same covert twice. Logging, fire, and windstorms are friends to grouse and woodcock and the hunters who chase them. Look for aspen blocks five to 10 years old (trunks from buggy-whip- to baseball-bat-thick) edging up to marshes or wetlands with tag alders, dogwood, willow, and other shrubs along the margins. Hunt these seams. Grouse trend to the dry side, timberdoodles to the wet edge (good woodcock cover looks like good grouse cover--your boots sink in a little). Also work edges and transitions between mature and young aspen; young aspen and pines, spruces, tamaracks, or cedars; and forest and meadow. Wander snowmobile paths, logging trails, and tote roads planted to clover.