WATSON — When talk turns to guided and outfitted hunts, images come to mind of long trips for big game in the western mountains, or waterfowl hunts on the Canadian prairie.
And yet, one of the best destinations is right in our back yard.
Chuck Ellingson is on track this season to host as many or more than 1,000 clients at the Watson Hunting Camp, located near the Lac qui Parle refuge. Ellingson began offering guided hunts in the area in 1997, and in 2005 made a big time commitment. The Camp offers lodging including seven hotel rooms and a bunk house, and lots of hook ups for RV’s. A barn at the site has been converted to an entertainment center, with food and drinks. It hosts weddings and similar events during the off-season.
Ellingson and guides Tony Crotty and Dillon Brickweg host hunters from all over the country. Some of them make (commercial) flights of greater distance than the geese they hunt. This year’s clients have come from places as far flung as Alaska, Washington D.C., Georgia, West Virginia and Tennessee. Many others come from places closer to home, including the Twin Cities and neighboring states.
No surprise, most are here to chase geese. Yet the camp also offers other waterfowl hunting, as well as deer, dove and pheasant hunting, the latter on a game preserve.
Ellingson’s goal is to become one of Minnesota’s biggest and best outfitters, and he is on the way. He’s geared up with all the equipment needed, from the meanest mud boat to decoys in such large numbers that he relies on a 24-foot cargo trailer to haul one set up.
He works hard to know where the geese will be on any given day, and makes sure his clients have their chance at them. He has agreements with neighboring landowners for access on roughly 10,000 acres outside of the refuge.
Check it all out on http://www.watsonhunting.com/
More coming in next week’s Tribune as well.