Watson Hunting Camp Outfitter Review
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Watson Hunting Camp
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For the month of December 2004, we will be reviewing the outfitting services of the Watson Hunting Camp. The Watson Hunting Camp is located in western Mn near the Lac Qui Parle wildlife management area. Throughout the past year owner Chuck Ellingson has become a very good friend of ours at HuntTheNorth.com. Over the Halloween weekend we had a chance to try out Chuck’s outfitting services first hand. Chuck graciously invited us to join him for a combination goose and pheasant hunt and we eagerly accepted! Again outdoor writer Mike Moen was able to join in on the weekend hunt and give his rendition of the experience.
A Lac Qui Parle Goose Hunt with the Watson Hunting Camp
by Mike Moen
When it comes to Canada goose hunting, few places hold the mystique of western Minnesota in October. When the migration hits full swing as many as 200,000 Canada geese can be found in the region, with as many as 150,000 calling the Lac Qui Parle Refuge home. Knowing what the hunting can be like in the area, Hunt The North’s Dan Wennerlind and I decided we should pay our friend Chuck Ellingson , of Watson Hunting Camp, a visit. Now don’t get me wrong, a visit with Chuck and his brother Matt is worth a trip, but the thought of tens of thousands of Canada geese and some of the best pheasant hunting in Minnesota sealed the deal…..
About The Outfitter
Owner Chuck Ellingson founded the Watson Hunting Camp in June of 2003. Chuck grew up hunting the Lac Qui Parle area as a kid on his grandparent’s farm which he took over in the year 2002 after they passed away. At that time Chuck took over their farm as well as the hunting rights to the entire family farm which consists of approximately 800 acres of unbelievable upland bird hunting, whitetail deer hunting and field goose hunting near the Lac Qui Parle Wildlife Management Area. He then purchased a 40 acre parcel of land where his lodge is located, that is the only private land actually inside the refuge itself. This piece of property is where the Watson Hunting Camp calls home and what gives Chuck exclusive Canada goose hunting access inside the actual refuge itself and in front of the infamous firing lines of the state blinds.
Located within the boundaries of the Lac Qui Parle Refuge, just south of Watson, Mn the Watson Hunting Camp offers the only area accommodations with a built in nighttime serenade in the fall, from the thousands of Canada geese that also share the area the camp calls home. The main lodge is a beautiful newly renovated two story cabin that can comfortably sleep 14.
The lodge comes fully equipped with two bedrooms upstairs, a guide’s bedroom on the main floor along with a great room equipped with satellite T.V. and a dining room which can seat up to 10 hunters at a time. The kitchen, where head chef Chuck Ellingson prepares his home cooked meals for his hungry hunters is also equipped with all the necessary utilities. The downstairs basement is opened up with bunk beds able to comfortably sleep 8 more hunters along with a washer/dryer and full bath which encompasses all the comforts of home.
The camp also offers a detached bunkhouse able to sleep eight more hunters on site, which is also offered as a rental unit throughout the fall. There are R.V. hook ups for up to ten vehicles also located on site and Chuck has plans for a new eight room motel for this fall which will be open for area hunters to rent during their hunting trips in the fall. But the most impressive building that the Watson Hunting Camp has is the renovated barn which is used as a banquet room and is insulated, heated and has a full bar, perfect for hunters to reconvene after a long days hunt as well as for corporate gatherings.
Custom Hunts Available
Lac Qui Parle Canada Goose Hunting
Every outfitter specializes in one specific hunt and the Watson Hunting Camp’s claim to fame is their field Canada goose hunts. Again being the only hunting access within the Lac Qui Parle Refuge, Chuck’s heated V.I.P. pit is his number one spot. Hunters enjoy a scenic view that overlooks the river valley which normally holds well over 150,000 Canada geese each fall.
The spread of decoys consists of over 100 full body big foot goose decoys with an experienced guide to boot. Chuck does offer about twelve above ground blinds placed in strategic places around the refuge boundaries for those hunters who enjoy pass shooting geese but you won’t be doing any pass shooting out of this pit. This is truly in your face decoying Canada goose action! Chuck also has eight fields in the area which also produce many opportunities for geese each fall, with heated pits in them as well. Many of these pits are also available for seasonal rent. After your goose hunt is over the option of a combination duck or pheasant hunt is also available.
Western Minnesota Duck Hunting
For those hunters who have had the opportunity to experience western Minnesota duck hunting, you know what this area can produce. Head waterfowl guide Matt Endrizzi has been brought up to the camp for one reason, he is an experienced duck hunting guide out of southern, Illinois and goes directing from western Minnesota down to Stuttgart, Arkansas to finish up his fall. If Matt knows one thing that how to call in large flocks of mallards. Matt comes fully equipped with a large spread of decoys and a full sized 16′ boat blind that can comfortably hunt and feed four hunters at a time. Team that up with the area lakes that are available including the infamous Marsh Lake, Lac Qui Parle Lake and Chuck’s secret little honey holes and you have the makings for a duck hunt of a lifetime.
Western Minnesota Pheasant Hunting
The Watson Hunting Camp may offer world renound Canada goose hunting but their pheasant hunts run a close second. With a preserve license and over 65 prime acres of pheasant lands that include CRP land and rolling hills dropping into the Minnesota River Valley, as well as over 800 acres of prime western Mn hunting grounds for All Wild Roosters, the Watson Hunting Camp can offer both types of hunts.
The Pheasant Hunting Preserve consists of a beautiful mixture of medium to heavy cover which holds tame birds as well as wild birds and is perfect for small groups of hunters but has the potential to entertain groups of up to 15 to 20 hunters at a time. This is a perfect area for a new pup to work into his own or you have the option of utilizing Chuck’s professionally trained dogs for a more relaxing hunt.
If wild pheasants are more your style they can provide that as well. Again, the camp has exclusive hunting rights to over 800 acres of private property that hold roosters too many to count. And if that is not enough ground for you to cover, there are thousands and thousands of public land full of wild birds scattered throughout the area. These hunts can be tailored to your needs with the option of a guide and dog if needed.
TA new hunt on the scene is Minnesota’s Dove Hunts. This is a new hunt for the Watson Hunting Camp as well but a very successful one. This fully guided dove hunt takes place within two miles of the camps lodge in the heart of the Minnesota River Valley and the package includes all of your meals and lodging as well.
Western Minnesota Deer Hunting
The Watson Hunting Camp also offers First Class Whitetail Deer Hunts as well. They have three opportunities in archery, shotgun or muzzleloader hunts. With a wildlife sanctuary not more that a stone throws away from some of the camps private 400 acre property, you can bet there are some big boys in this area. Growing up in the area Chuck has had a chance to learn the patterns of the area whitetails and has strategically placed over 15 stands in areas known to hold big bucks. All meals and lodging are included in this guided western Minnesota whitetail deer hunt.
Fall Goose Hunt 10/30/04
Mike and Meagan McCormick
Youth Waterfowl Day 9/18/04
All of the Watson Hunting Camp’s prices include Lodging and Homecooked Meals. Every attempt is made to comply with all of the customer’s needs and desires.
Waterfowl Hunting (all daily hunts include one nights lodging and meals)
- Guided Canada Goose Hunts: 3 Day/4 Night Package: $475.00, Daily: $175
- Guided Duck Hunts 3 Day/4 Night Package: $650.00, Daily: $250
- Combo Hunts: Goose/Duck 3 Day/4 Night Package: $925.00, Daily: $350
Goose/Pheasant: 3 Day/4 Night Package: $825.00, Daily $300
Duck/Pheasant: 3 Day/4 Night Package: $975.00 Daily: $375
Upland Bird Hunting (all daily hunts include one nights lodging and meals)
- Guided Wild Pheasant Hunts: 3 Day/4 Night Package: $525.00 Daily: $200
- Pheasant Preserve Hunts: $35.00 per night lodging/meals not included
$16.00 per bird No Membership Fees
$45.00 per day for guide/dog
Whitetail Deer Hunting
- 1st Weekend Shotgun: $750.00 (includes 2 days hunting, 2 nights lodging/meals)
- 2nd Weekend Shotgun: $700.00 (included 2 days hunting, 2 nights lodging/meals)
- Mon/Tue 2nd Weekend: $600.00 (includes 2 days hunting, 2 nights lodging/meals)
- Archery Hunts: 3 Day/4 Night Package $450.00, Daily: $450.00 unguided
- Muzzleloader Hunts: 3 Day/4 Night Package $899.00, Daily: 325.00
Wild Turkey Hunting (all hunts include meals/lodging/decoys/blinds/private land)
- 4 Day/4 Night Package: $750.00, Daily: $225.00
The Watson Hunting Camp also offers additional discounts for weekday hunts and corporate groups. Also through 10/24/05 anyone who books a hunt referred by HuntTheNorth.com will receive a 10% disount off of any hunt!
Watson Hunting Camp Outfitter Rating
|Catagories||Comments||Ranking 1-5 best|
|Outfitter Knowledge/Personality||Mr. Congeniality Chuck Ellingson not only caters to your every need but also employs only those guides, such as Matt Endrizzi who actually care about your enjoyment and are able to follow in his footsteps!||5|
|Quality Of Equipment & Decoy Spread||During our goose hunt we enjoyed hunting out of spacious, heated pits, over a spread of about 85 big foot goose decoys.||5|
|Opportunity To Take Game||The fact that Chuck’s best goose field out of eight is actually inside the refuge boundaries gave us the jump over every other hunter in the area. That combined with the fact that he runs an upland bird hunting preserve assured our goose & pheasant combo hunt a success!||4|
|Ability To Tailor Hunt To Customer’s Needs||Chuck has pits for decoying birds, above ground blinds strategic placed in the area for pass shooting geese and has a mobile monster boat blind that offers quality duck hunts across western, MN.||4|
|Quality Of Lodging & Meals||The meals and lodging are first class. Don’t expect lobster and shrimp for dinner as the atmosphere out here is a little more layed back but be assured that your steak will be cooked just the way you like it!||4|
|Pricing Of Hunt & Additional Costs Of Trip||Chuck’s prices are very competitive, actually a little low for what is included in the overall package. As for any hidden fees or additional charges, there were absolutely none!||5|
|Overall Quality Of Hunt||Even though the conditions of our hunt were probably the most severe one will encounter, the overall experience was Fist Class. Chuck and his guides worked very hard to show us a great time and I even received a phone call the next day to make sure we made it home safe!||5|
|Overall The Watson Hunting Camp Scored 32 Out Of 35 Giving Them An “A” Rating. We Would Not Hesitate To Refer Them For Any Of The Hunts That They Offer!||32/35|
Please contact The Watson Hunting Camp
Chuck Ellingson: owner
Box 131 Watson, Mn 56295