"...and all things come full circle." - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
Diehard Outdoorsman
Hittingguru's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tioga and Potter Counties
Posts: 3,016
Back To Top
"...and all things come full circle."

I apologize if this is in the wrong board, maybe should be posted in the Spirit of the Hunt, but that's a moderators choice.

As I get older, I have begun to look at things quite differently. I have been blessed with many things, and by many great people. Two of whom have been my father-in-law, and the second my "step" father-in-law. I guess my mother-in-law had a knack for picking great men as husbands. My father-in-law was a big, strong, burly man; son of Italian immigrants; had one of those looks that could make you squirm and cower; and another that had a twinkle in his eye that made you feel special. He died early in life, and my two children didn't really get a chance to experience him. One of the things he did share with me is the experience of a hunting camp. It was a state forest lease camp, 25 guys, heated by a 4' wide fireplace, propane lanterns for light, and a lot of smoke! But it did instill in me the love of hunting camp and the enjoyment of a cold December night around the fire. We never killed any great bucks while we were there, but it was always a good time. It was that experience that gave me the drive to get our own camp in 2015, the Gray Ghost Hunting Camp and Lodge.

My "step" father-in-law" was a tall, quiet, and caring man. Rarely had a bad word about anyone. You knew he had an opinion about all things, but you had to ask for it, he never would impose his ideas or thoughts on anyone. He was always willing to help, whether it be physically or financially, and you knew would never hold it over you. He was the grandfather on my wife's side that my two kids knew best. He was "Pap Wil", and was never thought of as a "step" relative.

Fast forward to 2014, and "Pap Wil" died at the age of 89, 16 years after my mother-in-law. When we were helping his daughter clean out the house, she found 3 sets of antlers in the garage, all just hanging on the pipes along the ceiling. She asked me if I wanted them, and naturally I said I would take them and try to do something with them. One still had the hide between the antlers and the exposed skin was already dried leather.

It took me 5 years, and finally, with the help of a local turkey call maker and artisan, we came up with a design to put all three on one plaque. When we went to mount them, we saw on the inside of the skull plate on one of the racks was written "Potter County 1967". I don't know where the others were shot, but it really doesn't matter. All we knew was that the one rack started in Potter County, went to Lycoming County, then to Clinton County, up to me in Tioga County, and now, back to Potter.

When we leave this earth, we don't take anything with us. I think as hunters and outdoorsman, we all want to leave something of a legacy behind after we are gone. The Gray Ghost Hunting Camp and Lodge will be my legacy to my children, and now, their "Pap Wil" is part of that legacy.

"...and all things come full circle."
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_E1680.jpg (1.18 MB, 52 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_E1681.jpg (1.16 MB, 44 views)
DennyF, joe8768, rrroae and 12 others like this.

Wishing I was at camp!
Hittingguru is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 09:51 AM
The Man
loridr's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Pa, Dauphin co
Posts: 7,934
Back To Top
Great job on the plaque and the story, a fitting tribute to what must have been a great man. Your story made my day.
flintlock hunter likes this.
loridr is online now  
post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 11:41 AM
Diehard Outdoorsman
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Behind a tree
Posts: 2,558
Back To Top
Nicely done! Great story too!
flintlock hunter likes this.

Gun Control = Using both hands, and hitting your target
Steely Ran is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 12:39 PM
Part of the Community
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 186
Back To Top
Man, that is cool. Great tribute, thanks for sharing.
flintlock hunter likes this.
PAhunterMD is offline  
post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 12:41 PM
Diehard Outdoorsman
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: conestoga,pa/Mills,Pa
Posts: 4,314
Back To Top
both sound like good men and true men of inspiration . enjoyed the story of them and neat work on the antlers
flintlock hunter likes this.
NorthernPotterCo is offline  
post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 01:25 PM
Regular Member
.257's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: 2A/2H-2G
Posts: 1,015
Back To Top
Great story!
flintlock hunter likes this.
.257 is offline  
post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 01:37 PM
Regular Member
RacksnQuacks's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SW PA
Posts: 2,414
Back To Top
Enjoyed the story!
flintlock hunter likes this.
RacksnQuacks is online now  
post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 01:54 PM
Frequent Contributor
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: lanc. co.
Posts: 527
Back To Top
Thanks for sharing. The plaque was a great idea !
flintlock hunter likes this.
treefisher is offline  
post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 06:43 PM
DennyF's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Cumberland County 5A
Posts: 25,424
Back To Top
We are blessed, that get to share the company of exceptional people.
flintlock hunter likes this.

Some folks' learnin' curves just look like circles...3A Camp/also hunt 4B
DennyF is offline  
post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 07:03 PM
Regular Member
Buckskin Dave's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Live in Venango County. Hunting Camp in Warren County
Posts: 2,252
Back To Top
Originally Posted by loridr View Post
Your story made my day.

Mine as well.
flintlock hunter likes this.

Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf.

"When a pine needle falls in the forest, the eagle sees it, the deer hears it, and the bear smells it."
an old First Nations saying
Buckskin Dave is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome