ANDOVER — Brian Ellis of Norway was elated when he got a moose permit this year, but he had more than an animal in his sights when he applied.
Ellis, an avid hunter, had listed his 11-year-old daughter, Shyanne, as his sub-permittee on the application.
"She has been hunting deer and turkeys for two years with no success," he said. "I wanted this to be her first harvest."
Ellis has shared his passion for hunting and fishing in the Maine woods with his daughter since she could walk.
"She has been trucking in and out of the woods with me since she was 4," Ellis said. "I got into trail cams when she was that age, and she started coming along with me on hikes."
Shyanne has been helping her father by setting up deer stands, working on trail cameras (used to monitor game) and target-shooting. She got her first rifle on her 10th birthday.
"When I got my first rifle, I thought it was awesome," she said. "I was so excited."
Shyanne says she loves being out in the woods and finding the beauty in nature. What she cherishes most is spending time with her father.
"It's special time with just me and dad and no one else," Shyanne said.
She began her first moose hunt on Columbus Day. After having no luck Monday and Tuesday, the daughter-father combo set out again Wednesday morning, heading to Andover.
They spotted a moose in the treeline, but were unable to get a clear shot.
Ellis has taught his daughter to aim for the lungs only. Shyanne, who was not in a good position, proved she had more patience than her father and opted not to take the shot.
At around 5:15 p.m. the duo finally spotted a moose tromping behind a pile of rocks. Ellis said the young bull stepped up into an opening, and Shyanne was already poised with the moose in her sights.
"I was really excited and nervous," she said. "It was the first thing I have ever been able to shoot."
The bull moose weighed 400 pounds and had a six-point rack. Shyanne took the double lung shot from 125 yards without a shooting rack.
"It was the most amazing thing I will probably share with her in a long time, if not our lifetime," her father said. "I wouldn't trade any part of it for anything."