Unlike many of her female contemporaries in the outdoor industry, Eva Shockey didn’t come out of the womb with a hunting rifle in her hand. Eva Shockey – taking on new challenges.
Eva grew up in Canada on Vancouver Island. When Eva was born, her mother Louise, a former professional ballet and jazz dancer, taught dance out of her home studio, and her father, Jim Shockey—now known for his long-running show, Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures, on the Outdoor Channel—was an antiques dealer.
With stores that carried folk art items and reclaimed wood—things that are much in demand now, but at the time, were unusual—Jim Shockey attracted a clientele that included Hollywood celebrities. One of those famous clients was designer Ralph Lauren, who one day arrived at one of Shockey’s stores and purchased his entire inventory to furnish a group of stores he was opening in Canada. “My dad used the money to purchase hunting land and make the outdoors his full-time career,” Eva Shockey says.
A Love for the Great Outdoors
While Eva’s older brother, Branlin, often went hunting and fishing with their dad, Eva refrained. “They would always invite me to go and welcomed me,” she says. “But I didn’t know one female who hunted. I was a dancer and an athlete, and I didn’t think hunting was very feminine. There was some teenage girl insecurity about what people would think. It took years for me to get over worrying about what people would think of me.”
Although she wasn’t hunting, Eva wasn’t inside watching TV. “I grew up out in the country,” she says. “My parents really believed in an outdoor, healthy family lifestyle. That’s how we were raised. We didn’t watch TV, and we didn’t have Nintendo. My parents had a garden, and between the garden and my dad’s hunting, they provided 95% percent of our food for the year. We lived a very field-to-table/farm-to-table lifestyle.”
After graduating high school, Eva Shockey decided to attend Bond University on Australia’s Gold Coast. “My dad jokes that I chose the furthest college I could find on the planet,” Eva laughs. She enrolled in Bond’s fast track program and finished her undergraduate degree in business marketing in a little over two years. In college was the first time Eva realized that fresh wild game and vegetables weren’t readily available in grocery stores. “I was used to knowing exactly where all of my food came from, so it was eye-opening,” she recalls.
After finishing her degree, Eva came home with a renewed interest in the outdoors. “I came home and told my dad ‘I want to try hunting.’ He nearly fell off his chair,” Eva says. “I was 20 when I went for my first hunt, and I immediately fell in love.”
Around the same time, in 2008, Eva Shockey started co-starring with her dad on his show. “When I first started hunting, I was in no way thinking of making it my job,” Eva says. “I really had no idea what I was doing at the time. I grew up with cameras following my family since I was six years old; it’s a big part of my life, but at that point it was all new.”
Viewers liked what they saw. “As soon as I started hunting and filming with my dad, the industry came to me more than I did it,” she remembers. “The outdoor industry is a family oriented industry, and they were looking for a young female who didn’t really know what she was doing. And that’s exactly who I was. People could relate to me; I showed that everyone has to start somewhere. Most people on television aren’t starting from the beginner point of view, and I was able to do that. I offered a fresh, new perspective.”
Taking on New Challenges
Once Eva stepped in front of the camera, she found a purpose she hadn’t had before. “Suddenly it wasn’t just a hobby anymore,” she says.
“I was representing a group of people that was bigger than just me. I felt a big responsibility to represent all of the young girls, who like me, thought they couldn’t hunt because they didn’t see anyone like them out there doing it. I couldn’t stop because I felt like I would be letting people down. I wanted everyone to know that it’s great to be a female in the outdoors.”
For the next seven years, Eva’s newfound career in front of the camera took her to every corner of the world, and she was traveling 250 days a year. While she loved learning and growing in her hunting skills and career, the busyness wasn’t conducive to having a personal life.
And then, by chance, Eva met Tim Brent at an outdoor expo, the Dixie Dare Classic, in Raleigh, North Carolina. A professional hockey player, Brent was playing for the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes at the time. After approaching Eva at her booth and chatting briefly, Brent left. “When he walked away, Tim told the friend he was with that he was going to marry me,” Eva says. Despite Brent’s immediate attraction, Eva didn’t think much of the interaction.
Then Brent called, and the two talked long distance for a year before they finally had their first date in Raleigh. They got married in 2015, and moved all over the globe for Brent to continue his career. “We lived in Russia, Florida, Canada, and Pennsylvania,” Eva rattles off. When Brent retired, a friend in Raleigh offered him a job with his commercial real estate firm. With Eva pregnant, they decided to make their home in Raleigh. Eva Shockey gave birth to their daughter Lennon (Leni) in 2017. “We’ve been in Raleigh for three years,” Eva says. “We fell in love with it so fast—we enjoy the Southern lifestyle. We’re here for good God willing.”
The family recently moved into their dream home outside of Raleigh. The rustic ranch house is on acreage with woods and ponds but close enough to town for Brent to easily get to his office in the city. “It’s the best of both worlds,” Eva says. “We’re moving to the woods, and I couldn’t be happier about it. We’re involving Leni in the outdoors as much as we can. We show her what we love and what we’re passionate about—there is nothing negative about fresh air and unplugging and just enjoying nature. She’s running around in her camo shirt and a big pink bow in her hair.”
Building a Lifestyle Brand
In 2017, Eva also released her first book Taking Aim: Daring to Be Different, Happier, and Healthier in the Great Outdoors to a positive response—the book topped the Amazon book list for several weeks following its release. “It was a brand new direction for me,” Eva says. “Author was always one of those things I dreamt about, but I had all the negative talk in my head that we all have: ‘Am I qualified to do this?’ ‘Do I know what I’m talking about?’ The book is about my journey from non-hunter to hunter, but the underlying message is that you should follow your passions. Whatever you’re passionate about and fuels you, that’s what you should do. I want to inspire and motivate people to get out there and follow the path less traveled.”
At the same time as the book came out, Eva also started her popular blog at evashockey.com. The blog gave Eva the platform to broaden her audience beyond just hunting. As a mom and wife, she began blogging about family, fashion, home décor, cooking, fitness, and the outdoors.
With nearly two million followers of her blog and on Instagram and Facebook, Eva’s reach is expansive. “Social media is a huge part of my life and my job,” she says.
“I’m a strong believer in the fact that social media is your life, it’s everywhere. I try to make sure I stay very true to who I am. My blog gives people a behind-the-scenes glimpse into my life. I like to think I’m making a positive impact. I’ve created this really cool community where I’ve had a chance to share positivity. Social media can be harsh and scary, but I use it for good.”
With so many irons in the fire—continuing to co-star on her dad’s show, a young daughter, a husband, a busy career, and another baby on the way—Eva Shockey doesn’t have much time to stroll down memory lane, but thinking back on her career trajectory, there are several things she’s proud of: “I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve been able to balance my family and career. I couldn’t have chosen a better path as I’ve been able to keep my career going, and I still get to spend so much time with my daughter”.
She’s also proud that she was the first outdoorswoman to appear on the cover of Field and Stream Magazine. “They really took such a chance on me,” she says of the magazine selecting her for the cover at the beginning of her career. And finally, Eva is proud of expanding her reach to a mainstream audience. Eva and Tim will have their own show debuting in November on the Outdoor Channel called My Outdoor Family. “What I’m doing is so much bigger than posting on social media,” she says.
Eva Shockey is also passionate about nature conservation. “People don’t realize that hunters raise more money for conservation than any other group on the planet,” Eva says proudly. Hunters contribute to population control efforts and habitat management. “People who love hunting also love nature and want to see it thrive,” she says. Based on a 2017 Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies report, the collective annual budget of state wildlife agencies is 5.63 billion dollars, an estimated 58.8 percent ($3.3 billion) of which comes from hunting- and fishing-related activities, either directly through the sale of licenses, tags, and stamps, or indirectly through federal excise taxes on hunting, recreational shooting, and angling equipment. “It’s really important and something that is very important to discuss, and it’s an incredible thing to be a part of,” Eva says.
Despite having a baby and moving into a new home, Eva is also focused on her career future. “I’ve always been a leader; it’s how I’m wired,” she says. “Families need attention and nurturing, and the outdoors is a great place to do that and spend uninterrupted time together. Take your kids out and catch a fish. Just get outside. My overriding mission is to show people that they can follow their dreams.”
And what’s the future look like? “I want to continue balancing my family with work. I want to be the mom and wife I want to be. I’d love to expand even more and continue to spread the message to a broader audience. I’m not going anywhere.”
During the production of the magazine, Eva Shockey gave birth to her son Boone!