Editor’s Note: Eva Shockey combined the two lifestyles of both her parents – dance and the outdoors. Besides her extensive dance background, as far back as Eva can remember, she’d gone on hunts with her dad as an observer to spend quality time with him. According to Eva, “I didn’t think that girly-girls shot animals, until I saw the first ‘Hunger Games’ movie, and then I was hooked.” Today, Eva co-hosts the "Jim Shockey's Hunting Adventures" TV show and represents the Shockey family at outdoor trade and consumer shows. “I love to go to the shows and meet other hunters. Then I can enjoy the serenity of the woods when I’m there and the socialization of the shows.” Eva has been wearing Mossy Oak for the last 3 years, and the Mossy Oak family is proud to have she and her dad as a part of it.
Another of my favorite hunts was when I went elk hunting with my dad during the rut in Colorado – the first elk hunt I’d ever had. Since my dad doesn’t do much elk hunting, going on this elk hunt with him was a big deal. We went to a friend’s ranch in Colorado, and he told us, “There are elk bugling everywhere. You should see a lot of them, when you get here.” But when we arrived and talked to some of the other hunters, they weren’t seeing or hearing elk anywhere. So, I wasn’t really confident that I’d see an elk that first morning. However, as soon as we got out of the truck before daylight to start hunting, elk were bugling so loud that I couldn’t hear any other sound in the woods. As we walked through the woods, I had a big smile from ear to ear. I felt like a little kid who just had been dropped off in Jurassic Park only to see dinosaurs all around him. I thought I could hear hundreds of elk bugling all around me from every direction. When we finally got halfway up the top of a mountain, we sat down beside an aspen tree. Light was just beginning to dawn. In that dim early morning light, I started seeing the elk. I was able to listen to them bugle and watch them, as the sun came up. I thought to myself, “This is one of the coolest things I ever have done.” I was hunting with a Thompson/Center .50 caliber muzzleloader on this hunt. Because those elk had bugled so loudly, I was pumped, full of adrenaline and nervous, before I took the shot, but I did get a shot that morning.
On the third morning, we returned to the spot where we’d seen all the elk. Because we were hunting in the middle of the rut, the herd bull was busy all morning trying to round-up his cows and keep them all together. I could hear the cow elk mooing, and I could see the herd bull looking for his cows to push them back into his herd. We sat and watched this mating courtship for about an hour. We continued to watch the herd bull, hoping he would come in and present the shot. Once the herd bull had all his cows rounded-up and together in one group, our guide began to call to the bull. We were across a small river from him. But he finally decided to come and round-up this one lone cow that he thought had wandered out of his herd. He came up to the bank of the river and stood there looking away trying to find his cow, only 80-yards away. When I took the shot, he only went 20-yards before he went down. We field dressed the elk right there on the edge of the river and cut up the meat. Then the guys started packing the meat out. The guys seem to think they’re doing me a favor by giving me the cameras and all the other equipment to pack out, while they are packing out the meat. But honestly, I really believe the cameras and all the other gear is much heavier than the meat they are carrying.
I fell in love with elk hunting on this trip, and I just can’t get enough of it. I’m so addicted to hearing those big bulls bugle, listening to the cows moo, and watching the bull trying frantically to keep his herd together that I want to go as often as I can. By the time you read this story, I probably will have been on my Roosevelt elk hunt for this season.