Shock & Awe: The New Legacy of Eva Shockey

Words By: Ginny Ellsworth

Photos By: Geoff Wood

Beauty By: Samantha Ray of Lula Hair + Makeup

Cars Provided By: Carolina Off-Road Outfitters

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Maybe it’s her sweet Canadian spirit, but once you get to know her, you’ll definitely want to move to Raleigh and be Eva Shockey’s best friend. 

She gives off the vibe that she is going to be your biggest cheerleader, even if you know her only through Instagram.

If you head over to her Instagram page or her blog, what you see is the real deal. From her jovial spirit to her down-to-earth approach to life’s challenges, she is clearly herself—despite growing up in front of a camera. “We’ve had cameras at our house since I was four years old,” she says. “There was no question of, ‘Do you want to be on camera?’ or ‘Do you want a cameraman on our family trip?’ That was not an option,” she laughs as she talks about their family TV show of 16 years.

A Google search of father Jim Shockey’s highlight reel might lead you to believe that Eva fell into the hunting spotlight naturally—but quite the contrary. Eva was 20 years old before she learned to hunt. And, like every other decision, as you’ll come to learn, she didn’t let anyone sway her choice to pick up the hobby. “I wanted to see what my dad loved so much. I wanted to fill my freezer up with wild game and know where my meat came from.”

Young, single, independent, and (mostly) free of responsibilities, Eva set off for hunting adventures, co-hosting her father’s TV show. “I really just had to pay my car bill and my tiny little apartment bill, which was really just a place I would stay every few weeks and unpack my suitcase and do laundry—and pack a suitcase and go back out on the road,” she reflects on the time in life that she traveled for 250 days of the year.

The outdoor industry quickly adopted her. Simply by loving what she was doing, she filled a void of a young female voice. “The outdoor industry had this spot where they were missing this person who didn’t know what they were doing; I was not an expert at hunting. I didn’t pretend I was. I took it seriously. I tried to learn and get better,” she says, explaining how her outdoor niche organically evolved. Eva admits that while she took learning hunting seriously, she intentionally didn’t take herself too seriously. She wanted people to be able to relate to her, to see themselves in her. She wanted to inspire them to try something new. Her strategy paid off, and she began to meet women who said they had been hesitant to try hunting until they saw her do it. The positive feedback fueled her fire, and in 2014 she became the second woman ever to be featured on the cover of Field & Stream in its 119-year history.

TIDES CHANGE

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A few years into her career, Eva was operating a booth of her signature gear at the Dixie Deer Classic in Raleigh. Being an outdoor enthusiast and a fellow Canadian, Tim Brent—an NHL player for the Carolina Hurricanes—stopped by the booth to say hi and to hear a familiar accent. 

After only a two-minute conversation, Eva had to move on to the next fan in line for her attention, but she turned to the gal working the booth with her and whispered, “He was really cute!”—which she claims she never says (wink). Even though she found his hockey profession interesting, Eva is not one to care about the who’s who scene and didn’t think much of it beyond that. Tim, however, walked away and announced to the friend he was with that he was going to marry that girl.

Fast forward seven months. Eva gets a message from Tim on Twitter, and the conversation began. “He knew what he was doing, but I was busy and just answering his questions.” Eva laughs as she describes how oblivious she was to his intentions. A couple of months later, in November, he sent Eva his phone number—and she didn’t use it until the following May, y’all! They went on their first date a week later when Eva was in Raleigh for an event.

“[My career] was really going great. I was really passionate, but I knew that something had to change. I couldn’t do both. I couldn’t see him every month for a couple of days and then go away again,” she reflects on the pivotal moment when she decided it was time to unpack that suitcase for a while.

She knew something had to change and that her self-made brand had to go on a different route in order to support her life’s new direction—and that her following might not like it.

“Yes, I love hunting. I love the outdoors. I love field-to-table and wild game and adventures—but I also love family,” she expresses, thinking back on the “hunt” for the man she dubbed her “forever person.” Eva resolved to let her brand grow with her life. She knew she had to be true to herself and to her dreams—her dreams of having a family.

The summer after their first date, Eva and Tim moved to Russia together for his hockey career. Eva powered through, proving her philosophy that you can do it all, that you don’t have to sacrifice one passion (career, in her case) for another (family). For the Field & Stream cover-shoot, she hopped on a 36-hour flight to New York, did the shoot (looking gorgeous and not jetlagged at all, by the way) and flew 36 hours back. So, don’t for a minute think that this girl abandoned her own dreams to follow a man. She made both of her dreams happen. Talk about a strong woman. Together, their lives unfolded, and she authentically rolled her journey into her content.

From engagement to marriage to their first child, Eva gave her audience a real-life look into her world. Her brand expanded to include all things lifestyle from linens at Cabela’s to protein powder and recipes. “I’ve grown and changed, and I’m sharing the real-life version of me, rather than trying to pretend I’m still in my early 20s and have no other responsibilities than just traveling,” she laughs as she, no doubt, thinks about the house being built, baby number two on the way, and the almost three-year-old from whom she is “hiding” during our interview.

“It’s not just about a hunting season. It’s about a 365-day per year lifestyle I’m living that involves hunting and involves the outdoors,” she explains how her brand evolved as her life took on a new form. “[Hunting and the outdoors] are a big part of our life, but there are all these other assets in my life that I care equally about—well, I care more about, because it’s my family,” she corrects herself. “I’m going to bring them along for the ride and share that with people.”

Eva found that as she continued to share her life just the way it is, many people could relate to her even more—being a busy mom, a wife, building a house, working, and on the go. “There’s so much more to grab onto,” she says, “because people are those things.”

Eva is not shy about what goes on in her world. “It’s not perfect,” she tells us. “Sometimes it’s messy, but generally, I have a positive attitude about it. This is life. This is what I look like, and it’s not perfectly curated.”

Eva believes that if you are true to yourself and follow your heart, people will respond in a good way—and for her, they have. Outdoor enthusiasts made up the majority of her initial followers. Admittedly some of her audience fizzled away as her brand evolved, but she gained more—a new audience for which she is filling a different void: the voice of courage to follow your heart.

Naturally, she empowered women to get outdoors, and now she’s inspiring them to get their families outside for adventures. But her mission runs much deeper than that. Eva’s book Taking Aim hit shelves in 2018. Judging by the title, you might assume the book focuses on hunting, but instead it hits the core of Eva’s mission—empowering women to be true to themselves, regardless of what everyone thinks they should be.

From being a woman who took up a “man’s” sport to an outdoor icon who chose to start a family, Eva has not let outside voices sway what’s in her heart. Even with new adventures that often take her…

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