Day 1: Jim Shockey Remembers People Told Him a Hunting Adventure Travel Show Would Fail
Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak’s national Pro Staffer, Jim Shockey (www.jimshockey.com), officially began hunting when he was 2-years old. “I started off hunting bugs and collecting them,” Shockey says. Next he graduated to hunting mice, gophers, rabbits, squirrels and then coyotes. By the time he was 14, he’d started hunting whitetails and has been hunting them ever since. Shockey now travels the world hunting exotic game species on every continent. “According to my wife, Louisa, who keeps up with this kind of thing, I was on the road 305 days this past year.”
Question: Jim, how did you get into the hunting/TV business?
Shockey: Right after my wife, Louisa, and I got married, I bought a 3,000-square mile hunting territory in British Columbia. I owned the deed to the land’s usage. But before then, my goal was to become an outdoor writer. When I saw how much money outdoor writers made and how little they had to work. I thought, “Geeze, I can do that.” (grin) Before I bought the hunting concession in British Columbia, I was actually selling magazine articles. I had planned for outdoor writing to be a marketing tool for my hunting operation in British Columbia.
Question: Jim, how did you evolve from being an outfitter/writer to a TV host?
Shockey: One of the first clients I guided in my outfitting business was Mark LaBarbera, then head of the “North American Hunter” TV show on ESPN. So, I started co-hosting TV shows from the very beginning of my outfitting business. I'm not a television personality. I live the life of a guide and outfitter. When the cameras started showing up from different TV shows, I was just myself. I didn’t know how to act. North American Hunting Club got fairly high ratings on that first TV show I did with Mark LaBarbera. So, my hunt with the people from North American Hunting Club became an annual event. Because I was an outdoor writer, I already knew many people in the outdoor industry. The requests for me to guide and co-host TV shows increased rapidly. I was essentially co-hosting a number of TV shows with the TV producers who came to film hunting shows in British Columbia.
Question: When did you start “Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures” on TV?
Shockey: We launched our own show in 2002. I identified a niche in the TV market that at that time no one was filling. On almost all the outdoor shows, the main theme was to teach hunters how to hunt. But at that time, there wasn’t TV programming for adventure, travel and hunting big game worldwide. And, those were the kind of hunts I enjoyed best. I decided to roll the dice and see if that kind of TV show could pull in viewers. Back then, as today, I felt like a hunter was a hunter, was a hunter. He didn’t just have to hunt white-tailed deer and turkeys. A hunter would be interested in a good hunt, regardless of where the hunt took place or the animal being hunted. When I first started trying to put “Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures” on television, a lot of people told me that my show would be a flop. But I still believed that hunters always were interested in adventure.
Question: Jim, how many television shows do you currently produce?
Shockey: We produce four. The newest one is in production right now, and I can’t give out any information about it. We produce “Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures,” Jim Shockey’s UNCHARTED,” and “Live 2 Hunt with Cody Robbins.” The new show will roll out on July 15, 2015.