January 10, 2017
Jim Shockey, the Outdoor Channel television superstar, is one cool customer, at least on the outside.
Even when the rugged Canadian TV man is in front of recent technology that he isn't always quite sure of.
Take, for example, the moment early on during the first day of action at the 2017 Archery Trade Show (ATA Show) in downtown Indianapolis at the Indiana Convention Center.
As the show opened its doors to thousands of shop owners, big store buyers, industry reps and media types, Shockey – host of multiple shows on Outdoor Channel and its sister network Sportsman Channel – was front and center at the Outdoor Sportsman Group (OSG) booth.
Doing a live-streaming appearance on Outdoor Channel's Facebook page.
When the light went on and the unseen producer pointed at Shockey and whispered 'Go!," the renowned big game hunter smiled his trademark, easy-going smile and smoothly slid into his role of introducing the watching world to the ATA Show and all of happenings taking place around him.
"We're live streaming onto a zillion different live streaming thingys, whatever that is," chuckled Shockey. "I'm socially apt, I'm just not (very apt) with social media."
Without any hint of nerves, Shockey hit the first question tossed his way out of the park as he was asked about his travels and hunting during the recently departed calendar year.
"2016 was a blur of travel all around the world for me," said Shockey, the host of UNCHARTED, Jim Shockey's Hunting Adventures and Jim Shockey's The Professionals.
"We started back in Pakistan and flew into Islamabad," he added. "Then we took the Karakoram Highway up to a (little town), and then climbed into the Himalayas to go after the Kashmir Markhor, which may be the greatest big game animal in the world, that or the Suleiman Markhor, depending on who you talk to."
In Shockey's mind, there's not much question the species he pursued definitely deserves a spot in that conversation due to the absolute rugged and sheer vertical nature of the hunt for a spectacular animal featuring a beautiful thick coat and sweeping, curling antlers reminiscent of an African kudu.
That belief was intensified after his hunt in Pakistan where the government allows for conservation-supporting hunting licenses to be sold for the purpose of chasing mature old bulls past their breeding prime.
If the Kashmir Markhor is a striking animal, its beauty is only enhanced by the difficulty in getting close enough to put the crosshairs on one.
To playback Jim Shockey’s Facebook live-stream interview from the 2017 ATA Show, click here. (Photo courtesy of Outdoor Channel’s Facebook page)
So much so that as far back as 1862, author Arthur Brinckman wrote in his book The Rifle in Cashmere that "... a man who is a good walker will never wish for any finer sport than ibex or markhoor shooting..." Click here for the reference source.
Shockey certainly has no argument: "I can definitely vouch for the fact that it (the Kashmir Markhor) lives in the steepest, nastiest country that I've ever been in."
In short, the adventure in one of the world's most rugged and potentially dangerous spots proved to be one of the most epic hunts in Shockey's long and storied career.
So much so that by the end of his trip, Shockey's hunt had included rated technical climbing in the mountains, dodging huge boulders sliding and avalanching their way down those peaks and getting out of town just before a rockslide wiped the highway out for the better part of a month.
"I got an ancient Kashmir Markhor, which was great, but I would have been happy just because the journey was so incredible," said Shockey, who has won multiple Outdoor Channel Golden Moose awards for his various shows over the years.
If that hunt at the beginning of 2016 was memorable, then so too were Shockey's four trips to Russia last year in search of such big game species as moose, sheep and even Pacific walrus.
And along every mile, the globe-trotting Shockey noted his hunting and travel adventures were being driven and defined by the same single word that had the 2017 ATA Show full of early-morning energy during its opening hour.
"Passion is an amazing thing," said the television star, hunter and outfitter. "Passion is the natural drug that will keep all of us going."
Even if that hunt happens to be nothing but a so-called ordinary bowhunt for local whitetails on a small farm near a person's home.
"Why do we get up at four in the morning to sit on a stand and hope that a deer comes in before 7 a.m.?" asked Shockey. "And then get to work, work all day and then go home and sit on the stand again for a couple of hours and do that day after day after day and scout all season?
"That's passion," he continued. "And passion is something that everyone at this ATA Show has, that everyone watching this (live stream) right now has."
Shockey said that, yes, the surroundings on his hunts are beautiful and, yes, the game animals are spectacular, but ultimately, it's just passion that drives and fuels all hunters, from Iowa to Islamabad.
"It's passion for this hunting pastime and tradition that all of us partake of and love so deeply," said Shockey, longtime husband of Louise Shockey and father to daughter Eva Shockey-Brent and son and TV show producer Branlin.
"We would walk, we would crawl naked across a hundred miles of broken glass to just hunt," he added. "That's what hunters are. We're passionate, passionate about the animals, passionate about the conservation of those animals."
As his social media live streaming duties wound down, Shockey smoothly transitioned from world hunting adventurer to soon-to-be grandpa as he acknowledge the imminent birth of Eva Shockey-Brent's first child any day now.
"Any day?," he laughed at the question. "It's not any day, it's any minute. (In fact), I (need) to double-check (my phone) and see if I'm still allowed to be here. (When she goes into labor), it's see you, bye-bye."
For such a rugged globetrotting adventurer, it was about the only moment in his interview that there appeared to be even the slightest trace of anxiety.
"It's a little girl, they know that," said Shockey. "The name is 100 percent sure Jim-alina. I'm 100 percent sure about that but I'm not so sure that it (the name) made the top-10 list of names for Tim and Eva.
"I tried to buy naming rights but they know that I'd choose Jim-alina (and they aren't going for that either). I offered them a lot of money (though)."
While the birth of his granddaughter will happen right in the middle of the hunting industry's show season with the Dallas Safari Club convention and show, the ATA Show and the SHOT Show, Shockey's bags are packed for one of the greatest adventures of his life.
"(She's) due any minute and Louise left me five days ago in Dallas at the Dallas Safari Club show; she dumped me like a hot potato," he laughed. "But Eva's due any time. It's any minute now and I'm just waiting for the call (to get out of here)."
But before he did that, Shockey made one more smooth transition, this time into a salesman for the future of outdoors programming, the MyOutdoorTV.com app owned by Outdoor Sportsman Group, the parent company of Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, World Fishing Network and Major League Fishing.
As one of the faces of that new technology push, Shockey is excited about the future of his and other shows.
"Recently, I was in Russia and I was picking through the channels and there's our show, in Russia, in the far east of Russia," said Shockey. "Outdoor Channel is starting to be around the world as well. But MyOutdoorTV is everywhere, that's online."
When asked about a special promo code, Shockey smiled and said that it is his last name: Shockey.
"Now if they (MyOutdoorTV viewers) put in Eva Shockey, they won't get anywhere," chuckled grandpapa Jim. "They've got to put in Shockey. Even though I'm sure most people tune in to see Eva.
"(MyOutdoorTV), it's a great, great network and I love it," he added. "Finally, we're online and I'm so proud to be a part of that."
And with that, perhaps the world's most interesting hunter bid adieu to his online audience and prepared for a quick day on the ATA Show floor.
While anxiously waiting for some of the biggest news of his adventurous life, the birth of a grandchild.
"We've got our fingers crossed (for the safe arrival) of baby Jima-lina," he smiled.
He's one of the world's greatest hunters and TV showmen ... and the guess here is that he'll be one of the world's best and most doting grandpas, too.