Alfred “Al” Reigle, 93, of Lancaster passed away on Oct. 24 after a long and storied career in the outdoors. He was the spokesman and public image of trapping in Western New York in many ways, including being a long time mentor and instructor for trapper education. In fact, he was the first trapping instructor in Erie County.
Reigle was a trapper instructor since 1980, when the education program became mandatory for trappers. He organized the trapper booth at the Erie County Fair Conservation Building (often attending the duration of the fair) and represented Erie County Trapper’s Association at National Hunting Fishing Day events. He was inducted into the New York State Outdoorsman Hall of Fame in 2015, the last full-time state trapper in Region 9, serving as the Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator for the Allegany office. He was a mentor to countless individuals who wanted to learn more about the outdoors, whether through the 4-H program or through his decades of support at NHF Day. Here are some comments of WNY sporting leaders, some as part of the Hall of Fame application:
“His love for the outdoors was hard to match by anyone and he was always eager to share his experiences … his skills as a hunter and trapper were amazing and very productive.” – Dan Tone, NYS Conservation Council, Region 9 Director
“Al was a legend in the outdoor world … his life was dedicated to the outdoors.” – William R. Hilts, outdoors writer, Sanborn
“In 1999, he received his lifetime senior membership in the Erie County Trappers. Most will remember him as he sat in the booth next to us for many years at the Erie County Fair. He would not miss a day the entire time. We remember the smell of pine boughs he laid on the floor while inviting friends to sit and talk trapping with him… we will miss a great friend and a fellow trapper.” Patti Wattengel, Erie County Trappers