2023 HuntTheNorth.com Outfitter Of The Year
Chuck Ellingson Of The Watson Hunting Camp


In the month of November we had an opportunity to join outfitter Chuck Ellingson of the Watson Hunting Camp on another incredible wingshooting adventure in western Minnesota. Upon arrival, Chuck and his trusty guide Brayden had an impressive late season spread of around 250 Canada goose decoys set up right on the X! After an incredible afternoon field Canada goose / Mallard hunt, we went back to The Watson Hunting Camp for a delicious home cooked meal by Chuck’s lovely wife Melea followed by a great night’s sleep. The next morning Chuck took us on a fantastic pheasant hunt on the prairies of western Minnesota! Overall the entire experience was top notch from start to finish and warranted an A+ Outfitter Review Rating for the entire trip.

At the end of the hunt I was proud to name Chuck Ellingson of The Watson Hunting Camp The 2023 HuntTheNorth.com Outfitter Of The Year!

Western Minnesota Honkers, Mallards And Roosters At The WHC
By Dan Wennerlind

As one grows older, the nostalgia of hunts from years past always seem to hold a special place in a waterfowlers heart. For me, as far back as I can remember, well before I could even carry a firearm there was such a place…..

The area known as Lac Qui Parle always brings back fond childhood memories including the evening orchestra of Canada geese on the lake putting me to bed each night. Although many things in this world continue to change, this area of the world continues to hold true to tradition.

Upon arrival to The Watson Hunting Camp, located in the heart of the Lac Qui Parle refuge in western Minnesota, I now bring my young boys with, to experience growing up in this waterfowler’s paradise each fall.

My good friend of over 20 years now, Chuck Ellingson owner/operator of The Watson Hunting Camp now cherishes the same memories with his boys as I do. Together we are raising our boys the same way we were raised, in the same area of the world as we grew up hunting.

So, what makes this little piece of the world so incredible for the die hard waterfowler? One of the main reasons this region of western Minnesota continues to stage and hold thousands upon thousands of waterfowl year after year is the fact that it is located in heart of Minnesota’s prairie pothole region. On top of that the vast expanse of refuge and public lands managed specifically for wildlife continue to offer the habitat needed to raise and hold everything from Canada geese, puddle ducks and wild Minnesota roosters. In fact, the Lac Qui Parle Refuge continues to stage over 50,000 geese annually each fall.

Now let’s get down to business, upon contacting Chuck five days before the official end of the 2022 Minnesota duck season, Chuck informed me that the refuge was still holding well over 20,000 Canada geese and thousands of Mallards and that I needed to get my butt out there this weekend. When you get that kind of news you don’t think twice, you just get your butt out there.

I arrived one sunny Saturday afternoon and met Chuck and his guide Brayden in a beautiful cut cornfield on a tall hilltop less than a mile from the refuge line. Chuck and Brayden had an incredible spread of over 250 Canada goose decoys already set up and waiting for my arrival.

My young pup Mallay and I climbed into my camoed up layout blind around 1:45 that afternoon. I would soon find out why Chuck had such a big smile on his face as he settled into the blind next to me. For the first hour we just talked and laughed about hunts of years past. Then we finally heard Brayden yell out Mallards up high! From there on out it was game on! Not only were there big flocks of Mallards lifting off the refuge lake below, but lines and lines of the greater Canadas were covering the horizon, all heading right for our field, wings set and legs down!

The first flock finally arrived and Brayden called the shot “Take em!” two big honkers hit the ground while a third sailed out about 50 yards before tumbling to the ground. Everyone was smiles from ear to ear. Brayden cleared me to take my 15 month old pup Mallay our for her first field honker retrieve and she did not disappoint!


It didn’t take long until the next big flock circled overhead and I heard Chuck yell- “There’s a Snow!” Of course we both doubled up on the white devil to make sure he didn’t make it out alive.

Not long after, a pair of Mallards sailed into the spread and we dropped the big greenhead, leaving the hen on her way.

As more and more Canada geese poured off the refuge and over our field, the birds started to pile up. We were all watching a flock of 20 honkers slide past us to the right, when I caught something out of the corner of my eye. A single Giant Canada weighing over 12 ½ lbs snuck in the side door wings cupped, 15 yards off the ground. I swung to my left and with a single shot the monster dropped like a ton of bricks. Mallay did her best to try and drag the massive bird back to the blind but with that many incoming birds in the air, she needed a little help.

The next flock circled overhead and wait, what was that high pitched squeal we heard? Specs!!!

Unfortunately, that flock kept going as now the larger flocks that went past us earlier had landed in the next field over. Boy was this a hunt to remember. As the sun hit the horizon, I couldn’t help but recall some of the amazing past hunts I had experienced growing up with my Dad, coming off the same refuge. Some things never change.

Brayden finally gave us the 3 min call as we had maxed out our time in the field for the day. We had one last flock of three that came in just under the wire and we dropped the last bird of the day. Definitely one to remember!

Back at the lodge that evening we enjoyed a delicious hot dinner prepared by Chuck’s lovely wife Melea. Followed up by a cold cocktail to wash it down. Just what the doctor ordered after a hunt like that. Chuck’s “American Plan” offers an All Inclusive package with lodging, home cooked meals and bird cleaning at the end of the hunt all included. In my opinion this is the best value hunt in the upper Midwest.

Now during the regular hunting season Chuck’s waterfowl hunts start out in the first thing in the morning at sunrise and are followed up by an afternoon chasing Minnesota’s wiley roosters. However due to the cold late season temps, since the geese were now only feeding once in the afternoon, we had to switch it up. Come 9am the next morning we were out chasing some big Minnesota cocks! In talking with a couple of the local farmers at the lodge the night before, it was very encouraging to hear that they hadn’t seen this many pheasants around the area in years. The population was definitely booming, as we would soon find out.

Western Minnesota Honkers, Mallards And Roosters At The WHC

We started out at one of Chuck’s local haunts not more than a couple miles from the lodge. It was a beautiful CRP field full of big blue stem and several other native prairie plants. And it didn’t take long before the first rooster of the day flushed 25 yards out in front of us. Chuck’s lab Drake made quick work of the retrieve!

By the end of our first drive, we had several big roosters in hand. It was a great start to another perfect day in the field. After a couple hours we split up as I wanted to hit some of my favorite old spots a few miles up the road. It didn’t take long for my two chessys Brandy and Mallay to flush 4 big roosters. Three went west and one came back east towards me and my pup Mallay made another great retrieve to fill my daily limit!

To say this was an extraordinary hunt would be an exaggeration as I have had so many great hunts just like this with Chuck over the years. I guess I get a little spoiled having The WHC as a mainstay for my fall weekends, as this was my third trip out to the camp this fall. But what made this particular trip so very special was the fact that I was able to enjoy it with not only one of the best outfitters in the business, but a good friend. It was now my honor and privilege to name Chuck Ellingson of The Watson Hunting Camp The 2023 HuntTheNorth.com Outfitter Of The Year!



Outfitter Larry Frimann and his head guide Mike Meyer do a fantastic job from start to finish. Every aspect of the hunt is well prepared long before the hunters arrive. One would be hard pressed to find another operation of this caliber anywhere in the continental US, especially for the price point that Larry offers this package at. Mike also does a wonderful job making sure each client is happy and satisfied throughout each hunt and is very fun, lighthearted and entertaining throughout the entire hunt. They definitely deserve a score of 5 / 5!


This aspect of the hunt is an absolute NO BRAINER! From the first class heated pits with comfortable office chairs for the hunters to sit in, to the WOLD CLASS caliber spread of over 2,500 floater and full body decoys, to the incredible sound system developed by Mike Meyer himself. Every aspect of the hunt has the “spared no expense” factor written all over it! Score of 5 out of 5 for sure!


The opportunity to harvest game on this hunt was definitely well above average for the typical spring snow goose hunt. The fact that this is a hunt designed for an over water experience, it allows for a full days hunt instead of a morning and late afternoon hunt like most field hunts in the spring. On top of that, the location of Larry’s operation also is vital. Being located in SE Nebraska, the location of the camp is in direct flight path of the Squaw Creek NWR which hold upwards of 4 million snow geese each spring, and the Rainwater Basin of Nebraska. That allows for a constant flight of snow geese all day long on spring migration days. The only down time we have ever seen is on cloudy, rainy days when the migration is stalled out. Many hunters here of the 100 bird days in the spring. While that should not be the expectation, it does happen on those “really good days”. Score of 5 / 5!


One aspect of Larry’s hunt I really like is the onsite lodge location. Most every other spring snow goose hunting adventure I have been on is based out of local motels within 30 minutes of the desired hunting location. Muddy boots and muddy dogs are always a concern in the spring. And meals are typically gas station food or local restaurants. Larry’s onsite lodge allows for a very comfortable and relaxed experience with a kennel for your dogs and a delicious homemade meal plan. In addition to that, the travel from the lodge to the pit blind is a 5-minute ride down on the side x side. Very rewarding. Score of 4 out of 5!


Larry offers a very affordable daily rate of $300 per hunter, per day for groups of 4 – 6 hunters. Larry also offers a daily pit rate of $1,000 per pit for smaller group sizes. That does not include the meal plan which is $200 per group, per night. Larry also offers bird cleaning services at $4.00 per bird. In our opinion this is an incredible package value. Score of 5 / 5!


After hunting spring snow geese year after year, with many different spring snow goose hunting outfitters, we feel this is the Cadillac of spring snow goose hunts. This is truly a bucket list experience. Score of 5 / 5 all the way!

Overall Black Goose Outfitters Scored A 29 Out Of 30 Giving Them An “A” Rating. We Would Not Hesitate At All To Refer Larry Frimann For Any Of His World Class Spring Snow Goose And Fall Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities and Thus Have Named Black Goose Outfitters The 2022 HuntTheNorth.com Outfitter Of The Year! Final Score 29 / 30
The Watson Hunting Camp

Booking Information

Contact Information For: The Watson Hunting Camp

Outfitter: Chuck Ellingson
Phone: 320-500-0040
Email: chuck@watsonhunting.com

Be sure to ask about Chucks’s All American Plan for an “All Inclusive Package” and don’t forget to mention that you found him on HuntTheNorth.com for added discounts!!!

photos from The Watson Hunting Camp