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Chuck Ellingson was no more than 14 years old, touting a 20-gauge shotgun while walking along railroad tracks near his grandparents’ farm when he tossed a shotgun shell in a pond of water and made a wish: “I want to live here someday.” “And it came true,” said Ellingson, now 43. Today, he makes hunting and fishing his full-time vocation as the owner of the Watson Hunting Camp near the shores of Lac qui Parle Lake. The Hunting Camp’s signature barn, originally built in 1911 and remodeled with a northwoods ambience to hold a restaurant and bar as well as lodging, is found only two miles from the farm of his late grandparents. No different than three decades earlier, all of the hunting and fishing adventures anyone with a penchant for the outdoors would enjoy are found right here. It’s all made possible with the help of Ellingson and a team of four seasonal guides. He started his guiding service at his grandparents’ farm shortly after graduating from Eden Prairie High School in 1996. In 2003, his father co-signed a loan that allowed him to purchase the barn and adjoining property from a group of hunters and open up the Watson Hunting Camp.
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