As I mentioned, the 8mm Mauser I use to hunt was my grandfather’s rifle. His name was Ovide R. Lamontagne and he started hunting on the northern end of Lake Umbagog in the early 1930’s. He and his friends blazed and maintained the trails from which we still hunt today (and the trail on which I shot my most recent buck). The reference to number 8 and so on is to certain places along the trail where he and his friends used to take stands or build “cachettes,” the French-Canadian word for “blinds.”
In 1954, my grandfather built a camp on the northern most end of Lake Umbagog. Every year since 1955, our family and some friends have hunted these woods the week before Thanksgiving. In fact, my dad has made it every year since 1955. We access my grandfather’s trails right outside the back door of our Camp. So, you can understand the bond I feel between his gun and the places where I hunt on Lake Umbagog.
His 8mm Mauser is a relatively light, bolt action rifle. There is some fairly ornate etching in the metal work at the bottom of the trigger and the chamber. At the end of the stock, there is a two inch black stock (not shown in this picture). Apparently, my grandfather chipped or damaged the end of the stock, and being a dentist, he used dental molding to reconstruct the end of the stock.
In addition to the rifle itself, I use his Lyman Alaskan 2.5 X All-Weather scope with it. The scope has very fine, almost imperceptible cross-hairs and a dot reticle in the middle of the sight. I have included a picture of the original box in which we continue to store the scope. When I first started hunting with this rifle in the late ‘80’s, I didn’t much care for the scope and brought the gun in to a gunsmith to see if I could change it out. After he looked at the gun and the scope (which are in perfect working order), he said I was crazy because this scope is perfect for the great north woods — and I must admit now that it is!
As you can see from the stock and the barrel, this gun needs to be refinished. But I was told by that gunsmith that when I do refinish it, I should simply hang it on the wall or put it under glass and preserve it. He said this gun is more valuable being preserved than being brought out into the woods.
Of course, I am not ready to “retire” this rifle. This rifle continues to serve me well (as it did on November 13, 2012). I also used it to shoot a 9 point 215 lb. buck in 1991, a 12 point 222 lb. buck in 2005 and the 12 point 244 lb. buck in 2012, in addition to a few eight and four pointers.
Most importantly, hunting with this gun reminds me of my grandfather, his friends and the traditions they handed down through the generations, so I am not ready to “hang it up” just yet!