After years of spotting for ducks, plucking feathers and hosting American hunters, well-known local outfitter Reg Glennie has decided to hang up — er, unplug — the decoys.
Glennie started outfitting in 1999 while still teaching but says he really did not get serious until 2000. From just seven, Glennie’s client list eventually ballooned to 40 or more. His wife Sheila was still working in the beginning, but continued to support Reg even after she also retired, just to see what it would feel like to play the outfitter role.
Although there have been a few hiccups, from bad weather to cranky customers, the Glennies for the most part really enjoyed the outfitting business. Anyone who knows Reg knows that he just cannot give up a good fishing or hunting day. As for Sheila, she is a master at preparing wild game in the kitchen and the two are famous for the array of delectable appetizers they provide for the local Ducks Unlimited banquet every year.
During the hunting season, which lasts for seven or eight weeks straight, a typical day started at about 3:30 a.m. to get the coffee on. Hunters were then woken up and left the house around 4:30, typically arriving at their morning destination by 5. Decoys were set up and the hunters settled in to shoot between 6 and 9 a.m. Once the morning shoot was finished they returned to the house, where Sheila had prepared a big breakfast.
“People are really fussy about their eggs,” she exclaimed. “There were some quirky requests. Some wanted them rock hard and some wanted them basted in grease.”
The birds from the morning shoot were dropped off with Nancy Evans, who plucked and dressed them, ready for eating. Meanwhile the hunters went for a morning snooze and Reg would use the time to go spotting.
“Around 2 or 3 p.m. we would head out again,” said Reg. “We would set up, have an afternoon shoot, collect our gear and head home for supper.”
Supper typically alternated between domestic fowl or delicious dishes made from the day’s limit, prepared by Howie and Norma Toy, owners of the former Gem Cafe, and now T&T Cafe with current owners Thuy and Tuong Vuong.
Reg says he could easily put about 2500 kilometres on his truck in a week, sometimes being out twice a day, especially to spot.
“Dennis Martinson helped me a lot, driving to the field and looking for ducks,” said Reg. “Sometimes we went all the way to Archerwill.”
As for his relationship with local farmers, Reg said they have all been really good to him and his hunting parties, naming “the Leach boys” in particular.
The Glennies hosted anywhere from four to six hunters at a time. Business was fairly good, said Reg, until the American economy tanked in 2008. Although there is still interest, he felt it was time to truly retire. He has finally sold his outfitting enterprise to Marc and Jill Patenaude of Clearview Outfitting; they also farm near Kelvington.
“I’m really excited for Marc and Jill,” said Reg. “I hope they do well. I wanted to keep the business local because it brings money into local businesses.”
The Glennies’ hard work over the years to provide their guests with a great experience has been richly rewarded. They have been invited by the hunters to their homes in the United States, and have made many life-long friends throughout the years. They also have several paintings, by one of their guests, adorning their home.
“About the only thing that I can say about the last week of my life is Wow! I thought I knew what to expect from my first trip to visit Canada, but I had no idea,” wrote Chris Ellington of Reno, Nevada. “We truly appreciate everything that Reg, Sheila and Nancy did to make us feel at home. The food was great and Reg really knew how to put us on the birds. And Nancy, thanks for the best cornbread I have ever had.”
By Alison Squires