Dover-Foxcroft 8-year-old kills an antlered doe with a crossbow

·4 min read

Oct. 23—Evan Annis has enjoyed an incredible year of hunting.

On Oct. 19, He put the finishing touches on three successful seasons when he shot his first deer.

Evan previously had harvested two wild turkeys during the spring season and bagged a black bear while hunting over bait this fall.

He is 8 years old.

"It's been a pretty magical 2021 for an 8-year-old," Ethan Annis said of his son's prolific hunting.

Evan tagged out during archery season while hunting with his dad at the family camp in Guilford. Ethan Annis, vice president of Lary Funeral Home in Dover-Foxcroft, said he left a meeting early so they could get into their elevated blind.

Four deer came into the food plot that afternoon, only one of which had antlers. Since a doe appeared to have two younger deer with it, he encouraged Evan to shoot the "spikehorn."

Using a Ravin R26 crossbow resting on a tripod, Evan fired and connected from about 10 yards away.

"I like using the crossbow best," said Evan, who toted a 20-gauge shotgun for his turkey hunt and carried a Winchester XPR 350 Legend rifle during bear season.

"I like using the crossbow because it doesn't kick and isn't as loud," he said of the 2020 Christmas present.

Walking near his dad and his grandfather, Eric Annis, Evan found the deer only 20 yards into the woods. What they discovered was not what they expected.

"When I saw that it still had velvet on it — the other deer that I've scouted are all hard-antlered right now — I kind of had a feeling," Ethan said of the antlered doe, which weighed 128 pounds.

It made Evan's first deer harvest all the more special.

"The deer was fun because I shot it so close and because I have been hunting deer for one more year and it felt great to finally shoot one after trying for a whole season before," Evan said.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Evan Annis would be a natural in the woods. He comes from a long line of hunters that includes his father and mother, both of his grandfathers and lots of uncles and family members.

Ella Annis, Evan's 10-year-old sister, also hunts and is pursuing her first deer again this fall.

Ethan has stressed safety with his children and said Evan demonstrates tremendous patience in the blind along with good shooting accuracy derived from his extensive target practice.

That was evident last spring when Evan went turkey hunting on opening day with his mother, Heather Annis, and his father. A group of four turkeys emerged, forcing Evan to wait until the group was separated somewhat.

He knocked down two male turkeys with one shot.

Last month, he was able to experience bear hunting camp for the first time. He learned the ropes and helped pay his dues by hauling buckets of food to the bait sites.

"He got to feel the camaraderie around shooting a bear at camp," Ethan said. "He had that feeling with the bear and it put a little fire in him [for deer season]."

During what was a slow season, Evan was eventually able to cash in on his sixth sit. He shot a 100-pound bear about 250 yards from where he would later harvest the deer.

"I liked the bear hunting because they were fun to watch and they were funny," Evan said.

Ethan Annis followed Evan's lead in October when he harvested a 348-pound sow while hunting with dogs.

Evan Annis is taking nothing for granted, but he has big plans for the future.

"His mother and I both have a 'grand slam,' so he wants the grand slam," Ethan Annis said.

That involves harvesting a turkey, a bear, a deer and a moose in the same year.

There's only one problem. Evan won't be eligible to participate in the moose hunt until he turns 10.

"I've spent my lifetime hunting and there hasn't been another year like this year, that's for sure. Lots of happy tears," Ethan said.

When he's not out in the field, Evan is busy with school and sports. He plays football, hockey and baseball. He's also ready to get out snowmobiling.

In the meantime, he plans to savor all of his hunting experiences and time spent with his family.

"I like being outdoors with my family and watching all of the animals while it's so quiet," Evan said.

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