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OUTFITTER REVIEW ON:
|The Watson Hunting Camp|
Part 1:THE HUNT
A Western Minnesota Canada Goose Hunt
At The Watson Hunting Camp
by dan wennerlind
Growing up in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, fall was a very special time for me. Each weekend my father would take me on a 2 ½ hour trip to western Minnesota to hunt the thousands of migratory waterfowl that would stage in the Lac Qui Parle Refuge and the surrounding Minnesota River Valley, including the infamous Marsh Lake. Through the past few years I have had a chance to meet a good friend and outfitter in the area, in Chuck Ellingson. Chuck owns and operates The Watson Hunting Camp, which is located inside the Lac Qui Parle Refuge. This is a well known area to avid Minnesota waterfowl hunters for it’s massive fall Canada goose populations.
Owner Chuck Ellingson took over the lodge in 2003 and since then has devoted a ton of time, money and effort into building an incredible hunting camp with all the comforts of home. Chuck started by renovating an on site dairy barn into a completely remodeled eight bedroom main floor motel, equipped with a full service bath facility and sauna. Upstairs is a huge banquet / recreation room with a full service bar and pool table. Once inside the lodge one would never know it used to be an old dairy barn that is for sure.
|The trophy taxidermy mounts on the walls and big screen TV really make the loft area a true hunter’s paradise! This is also a very nice feature for those hunter’s who enjoy an occasional cocktail after the hunt. Chuck has also added an on site bunk house for additional sleeping quarters and he even offers RV hook ups for the do it yourselfers. |
Now tradition has it that hunting geese around the Lac Qui Parle Refuge is done by renting either state blinds made up of old snow fence or renting ground pits from local farmers around the perimeter of the refuge. Then pass shooting as the geese leave the refuge in the morning to feed. However modern times have dictated that this method may not be as effective as it once was back in the day. In fact it is not unusual to see hunters emptying their guns unsuccessfully at flocks of geese flying over 85 yards high! Currently Chuck is the only outfitter in the area that can offer a true Fully Guided Canada Goose Hunt taking place in pre-scouted grain fields, over a quality spread of decoys, while laying in very comfortable layout ground blinds. This set-up allows Chuck to move with the birds as they switch fields daily and offers the hunter a very satisfying “In Your Face” goose hunting experience.
Today I would be joining a group of Chuck’s hunters from the Mill Lacs area. We would be hunting a cut corn field located just south of the refuge about 2 miles. We were up and at ‘em at 5:00 am sharp. We hit the field at 6:00 am and had 8 dozen fully flocked Avery full body and Big Foot goose decoys set up by 6:45 am. With temps dropping down into the upper 20’s the previous night, having a spread of fully flocked decoys on hand really came in handy to help keep the frost of the backs of the decs. This made for some close range shooting. As you may be able to tell, Chuck spares no expense when it comes to his equipment. Right off the bat we had a pair of honkers sail right into the spread and they were dropped at 15 yards. No more than 5 minutes later a single goose came in wings cupped from over 200 yards. He did not detour from his path until he was taken down with a single shot at 20 yards- again right in the decs! This fast action kept up for about an hour until we had our limit of 12 Canada geese (2 birds per hunter). What A Hunt!
As we picked up the decs and headed back to camp for a late morning breakfast which Chuck caters in for his hunters, we heard that Chuck’s other group of hunters had just finished up and had just as good luck as we did, taking a dozen big honkers themselves.
After lunch it was time for a relaxing hour nap to catch up on some much needed zzz’s. That afternoon Chuck gave me the option of doing some scouting with him for the next mornings hunt or heading out for some infamous western Minnesota pheasant hunting. Having complete confidence in Chuck’s scouting abilities, I elected to take my pup out after those wiley roosters. After only an hour of hunting I bagged myself a limit of wild roosters from the area’s pristine public hunting grounds. Then it was back to camp to meet up with my father who would be joining me on another exciting Canada goose hunt the following morning. That evening we shared some war stories with Chuck and the other hunter’s in camp over a few suds. It didn’t take more than 5 minutes once my head hit the pillow that night before I was out like a light. Like clockwork the next morning my father and I had a limit of 4 giant Canada geese by 10:00 am. The action was just as fast and furious as the day before and it was a real treat to be able to share a hunt of this caliber with my 75 year old father who had first introduced me to this special area over 30 years ago.
In addition to the incredible Canada goose hunting, Chuck can also offer an exceptional big water duck hunt on the shores of Lac Qui Parle Lake and Marsh Lake- two of the areas big water reservoirs. This hunt is conducted out of a 17 foot boat blind, fully equipped with heaters and a hot breakfast! Chuck also has a 65 acre pheasant preserve and can conduct wild or preserve pheasant hunts over his
professionally trained retrievers, or hunters can use their own dogs. In early September Chuck has taken advantage of the new Minnesota dove season and offers hunters a guided dove hunting experience. Chuck even offers whitetail deer hunts on his 280 acre property for both archery and shotgun hunters. As you can see The Watson Hunting Camp has a very diverse array of hunts to offer most any hunter. It’s no wonder some hunters show up for a two day weekend and end up staying for the entire week.
Part 2: THE REVIEW
|OUTFITTER KNOWLEDGE / PERSONALITY: ||Score||5 / 5 |
Growing up in the Watson, Mn area, outfitter Chuck Ellingson has unlimited access to property and key fields and has the knowledge needed to share a QUALIY hunt for the important hunters in camp. Chuck is also very personable and cares deeply about his customer’s satisfaction.
|QUALITY OF |
|Score||5 / 5 |
Chuck uses high quality Avery fully flocked decoys as well as high quality layout blinds. Chuck and his guides take the extra effort in camoing up the blinds as well as making sure the fields are full of birds prior to the hunt.
5 / 5
With well over 100,000 Canada geese already located in the Lac Qui Parle Refuge and an abundance of wild roosters running through the western Minnesota prairies, on both Chuck’s private land and the public land in the area, the opportunity to take game was bountiful!
|QUALITY OF MEALS |
|Score||5 / 5|
With a brand new 8 bedroom motel right on site, as well as a bunkhouse for more private lodging our accommodations were great. Chuck even caters in meals for those who would like an All Inclusive experience. The meals and lodging were very good.
HUNT PACKAGES AND
4 / 5
Chuck offers many hunt package options. His most popular hunt is the fully guided Canada goose hunt. He offers a Daily Rate with one nights lodging for $225.00 and a 3 Day / 4 Night package for $650.00. Catered meals are an additional $20 per day. Very reasonable.
|OVERALL QUALITY |
OF THE TRIP:
|Score||5 / 5 |
The overall hunting experience at The Watson Hunting Camp was a great success! In addition to the fact that we limited out on geese both days, the overall atmosphere of the camp and the friendliness of the staff was what really made the hunt a memorable experience. I would definitely recommend The Watson Hunting Camp for anyone looking for a great hunt and a great trip!
Overall The Watson Hunting Camp Scored 29 Out Of 30 Giving Them An "A" Rating. We Would Not Hesitate To Refer Them For Their Spectacular Canada Goose Hunts!
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Part 3: Booking Information
|Contact Information For The Watson Hunting Camp|
Outfitter: Chuck Ellingson
Address: 10370 10th Street NW Watson, MN 56295
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website Address: watsonhunting.com
|Additional Hunts Offered:|
The Watson Hunting Camp also offers fully guided hunts for big water duck hunts, wild and preserve pheasant hunts as well as early season dove hunts. For the big game hunter, Chuck also has exceptional whitetail deer hunting. For those do it yourself hunters, Chucks lodge is open to the public with an 8 bedroom motel and an onsite bunkhouse for private lodging. There is also a full service bar on site as well season RV Hook ups. And the summer and fall fishing on Lac Qui Parle Lake cant be beat!
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