As a youth in the Twin Metropolitan areas, western Minnesota outdoor everyday living grew to become his passion and a enterprise

Gwen Catherine

Chuck Ellingson was no far more than 14 years aged, touting a 20-gauge shotgun whilst walking along railroad tracks close to his grandparents’ farm when he tossed a shotgun shell in a pond of h2o and manufactured a desire: “I want to dwell right here sometime.”

“And it came correct,” said Ellingson, now 43. Today, he can make looking and fishing his whole-time vocation as the operator of the Watson Searching Camp in the vicinity of the shores of Lac qui Parle Lake. The Searching Camp’s signature barn, originally designed in 1911 and transformed with a northwoods ambience to hold a restaurant and bar as properly as lodging, is discovered only two miles from the farm of his late grandparents.

No diverse than three decades earlier, all of the looking and fishing adventures any person with a penchant for the outside would enjoy are located proper listed here.

It’s all made doable with the assistance of Ellingson and a group of 4 seasonal guides. He commenced his guiding service at his grandparents’ farm soon after graduating from Eden Prairie Substantial University in 1996. In 2003, his father co-signed a personal loan that authorized him to invest in the barn and adjoining home from a team of hunters and open up up the Watson Looking Camp.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

“When it rained outdoors, it rained inside of here,” laughed Ellingson as he chatted in the barn he converted into a cafe.

The Watson Hunting Camp is based in a 1911 vintage barn that Chuck Ellingson purchased from a group of hunters in 2003.  “When it rained outside, it rained inside here,” laughed Ellingson, who remodeled the barn to hold a restaurant, bar and lodging for hunters.

The Watson Looking Camp is primarily based in a 1911 classic barn that Chuck Ellingson ordered from a group of hunters in 2003. “When it rained outdoors, it rained within listed here,” laughed Ellingson, who reworked the barn to maintain a cafe, bar and lodging for hunters.

Things have improved right here at any time given that: More than a calendar year in the past he added an occasion heart on the grounds to hold weddings and big gatherings, and he’s added more lodging opportunities on the residence because the original acquire. The Looking Camp has hosted two Governor Pheasant Openers, which includes the state’s initial in 2011.

Ellingson reported the restaurant, bar and enjoyment venue are all critical for the organization from a fiscal standpoint, but the aim remains just one matter: His clients appear from far and near to enjoy the looking and fishing that experienced hooked Ellingson as a youth.

Many of his prospects make more time journeys to achieve this vacation spot than the Canada geese and other waterfowl they search for. This season’s guest listing includes hunters from Florida to California, and numerous of the states in concerning. Just the other 7 days, a group from Bozeman, Mont., rolled in for a three-working day hunt. A further team of buddies from Colorado made a decision to make the Hunting Camp their foundation for a week of free-lance hunting in western Minnesota.

It’s like this from September by way of December. It’s “very, extremely busy” with parties of hunters, Ellingson mentioned. A lot of arrive as families, other folks are teams of buddies, and nevertheless others are co-employees who take part in corporate-sponsored getaways.

Opportunities to hunt geese remains one of the biggest draws to the Lac qui Parle area, with hunters literally coming to the Watson Hunting Camp from locations as far flung as Florida to California.  Ellingson and his guides spend every evening scouting the area to put hunters in the best locations for success. 
Submitted photo

Chances to hunt geese remains one of the greatest attracts to the Lac qui Parle spot, with hunters practically coming to the Watson Searching Camp from locations as considerably flung as Florida to California. Ellingson and his guides expend each evening scouting the location to put hunters in the most effective areas for accomplishment.
Submitted photo

With far more than $150,000 invested in waterfowl hunting gear, Ellingson explained he can supply high quality hunts for each seasoned hunters as well as these new to the activity and lacking machines of any type.

The camp is on monitor to host 275 or a lot more guided searching get-togethers this waterfowl period, Ellingson mentioned. This is a fast paced season, in element thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The closing of Canada to U.S. readers has brought extra enterprise his way, Ellingson claimed.

The busy speed for Ellingson continues by the winter season months as nicely. He retains Ice Castle fishing homes on Lac qui Parle Lake for clients who maintain them stuffed.

“Everybody looks to know Lac qui Parle and what form of crappies and walleye are in it,” he said.

Alongside with the waterfowl looking and fishing, he also guides spring turkey hunts.

The business enterprise also delivers a capturing preserve for pheasants. Ellingson said it is utilised usually by knowledgeable hunters introducing youthful folks to pheasant searching.

Ellingson mentioned he identified right from the begin that the Lac qui Parle region enjoys a potent status for waterfowl looking and fishing, and his business enterprise has benefited from it.

While in high school he thought of quite possibly guiding in northern Minnesota or Canada, but decided that Lac qui Parle was the spot for him. He reported he’s drawn to Lac qui Parle for its men and women as a great deal as its out of doors resources.

“It’s how good all the individuals are,” he reported.

When he’d check with permission as a youth to hunt a house, he desired only to mention his grandparents’ names.

“Oh, Okay, so you’re his grandson, so go out there and hunt then,” stated Ellingson of the responses he acquired.

Chuck Ellingson parlayed his love for hunting and the Lac qui Parle area into a business, the Watson Hunting Camp.  Waterfowl hunting is the biggest attraction. Ellingson pulls one of the camp's waterfowl hunting boats. 
West Central Tribune file photo/Tom Cherveny

Chuck Ellingson parlayed his love for looking and the Lac qui Parle place into a business enterprise, the Watson Searching Camp. Waterfowl looking is the most important attraction. Ellingson pulls one of the camp’s waterfowl hunting boats.
West Central Tribune file photograph/Tom Cherveny

People connections are vital to his organization right now. Ellingson has access to roughly 20,000 acres of private lands in the Lac qui Parle region for his customers, many thanks to his associations with location landowners. The spot also capabilities a lot more than 8,000 acres of community lands, earning it one particular of the state’s most well known outside locations.

Yet absent are the times when Lac qui Parle was the only display in city when it came to goose looking. Geese are extensively dispersed through the state these days, even though the Lac qui Parle area stays a main migration route.

Ellingson stated he and his guides devote the end of each and every working day to scouting the places of migrating flocks of geese and waterfowl. The up coming morning they’re prepared to carry shoppers to the areas supplying the ideal destinations for good results, with decoys and blinds ready to go.

It’s the identical story for fishing. Ellingson spends many several hours in a moveable shelter scouting out the most effective places for his ice fishing properties.

His clients love the rewards of the tricky get the job done and the good results tales get informed. The Watson Searching Camp has been featured on television reveals such as Rod Schara’s “Minnesota Certain” and “Midwest Outside” to Tennessee-primarily based Nick Hoffman’s “Nick’s Wild Rides.”

Canada geese are widely dispersed across the Minnesota landscape there days, but Lac qui Parle Lake remains an important migration destination. 
West Central Tribune file photo/Tom Cherveny

Canada geese are greatly dispersed across the Minnesota landscape there days, but Lac qui Parle Lake remains an significant migration desired destination.
West Central Tribune file image/Tom Cherveny

Ellingson stated word of mouth and social media also convey numerous prospects, but nothing is additional critical than the working experience alone. A large portion of his customers are repeat people.

There is a draw back to it for Ellingson.

“I get the job done each individual weekend. I do not get a break,” he stated.

His wife, Malea, allows with the bookwork and Ellingson devotes time to introducing his sons, ages 5 and 7, to the outside lifetime.

Ellingson said it’s all far more than he ever dreamt doable when he tossed that shotgun shell into the water all these a long time back.

“I totally appreciate, really like being in the outdoor performing what I do,” he said.

Next Post

For car lovers, Daytona Turkey Run an outlet for artistry, passion

DAYTONA BEACH — You can find it all at the annual Daytona Turkey Run: red, yellow, blue and green; big and small; compact and stretched; antique, vintage and classic; as well as any type of make and model of car or truck you can think of. Daytona Turkey […]