Anyone serious about hunting grouse and woodcock in the upper Midwest must, of course, consider Michigan. With more public land than any other state east of the Mississippi, the Great Lakes State typically leads the country in annual woodcock harvest, and grouse hunting is as good there as anywhere in North America. So why is it so hard to find a good upland guide in Michigan? Well, it is not anymore!
Tracey Lieske, who for several years ran the popular Wild Wing Lodge in southwest Kentucky, has recently turned his attention full-time to the more northerly latitudes. Freed from the “bonds” of a permanent lodge, Lieske has become a nomad who takes clients wherever the birds are.
“The key feature is mobility,” Lieske said last October when we met for dinner at Gateway Lodge, in Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. “Many of my clients are busy executives who don’t have time to find a good place to hunt. I’m here all summer working with bird dogs—theirs and mine—and I have time to do the research and scouting.”