Eva Shockey, one of the most well-known female hunters and daughter of hunting legend Jim Shockey, announced in 2016 that she was working on a new book and would be seeking input from her fans with a book launch team. After completing the online application, several members of the Huntress View team were selected to join the official Eva Shockey Book Launch Team. As part of the team, members were asked to provide feedback on cover image options, book titles and sub titles, as well as other aspects of the book. Additionally, all launch-team members were provided with an advanced copy of the book.
Title: Taking Aim: Daring to Be Different, Happier, and Healthier in the Great Outdoors
Author: Eva Shockey, with A.J. Gregory
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Convergent Books (August 29, 2017)
Preorder on Amazon; Kindle, Hardcover and Audiobook available
Although Eva Shockey is a hunter, and Taking Aim is centered around her hunting experiences, it would be an enjoyable read for anyone that is or is not interested in hunting. The book is broken into short chapters, each focusing on a different story spanning from early childhood memories to a fairy-tale wedding with wild-game meat to hunting elk in New Mexico while seven months pregnant. This book is the story of Eva’s personal journey into who she is today, and overcoming stereotypes to pursue something outside of the normal expectations.
The book gives readers insight into her childhood—hunting trips disguised as vacations, learning about and understanding other cultures, her family’s goal of living off the land and not buying anything from the store, eating only food that was homegrown or hunted—which was much different than that of the kids around her. But throughout this time, Eva’s dream was still to become a professional dancer like her mother Louise, never imagining that hunting would become her passion and primary way of life.
As someone who didn’t start hunting until adulthood, that also has a marketing degree, I could relate to Eva’s transition into hunting. One would think it was something she had been doing since childhood, but I was surprised to learn she had studied abroad in Spain and attended college in Australia, majoring in business marketing with a minor in event planning. It wasn’t until after college that Eva decided to pursue hunting, and eventually taking a role in the family business as an event planner.
As a hunter, I was able to identify with many of the personal experiences Eva describes in the book—difficulty with finding proper hunting clothes, the impact of a hunter’s education class, and the reaction of friends when they learn you hunted and harvested your first animal. I believe non-hunters would find these stories both educational and enlightening, as many people believe hunting is strictly about the kill and collecting a trophy. There is much more to it, and in this book, Eva describes the feelings that hunting brings—excitement, remorse, sadness, disappointment, fear, thankfulness and a deep connection to nature.
I found one of the most interesting chapters to be “Haters Hate,” where Eva describes the criticisms she endured throughout her teenage years due to her naturally muscular physique, insecurity about her body since she was a dancer, and the backlash she has received in the recent past on social media for her hunting-related posts. I think many people, whether they hunt or not, can relate to this topic, especially in the digital world we live in today where people use social media to lash out at those they don’t agree with. Many hunters have endured the same type of backlash, including messages of hate, death threats and vulgar and obscene comments about rape, murder and other violence. She discusses how she responded and how she has overcome this type of criticism through education, reinforcing the message of conservation and partnering with others in the hunting industry to continue to spread messages of positivity about hunting.
Overall, I found Taking Aim to be an easy, quick read, with messages of positivity and empowerment. It provided a realistic look at the struggles Eva endured as she created a place for herself in the hunting world, when she could have easily ridden the coattails of her famous father. It’s the story of a young girl with ambitions and dreams, that makes the choice to change her path, reject stereotypes and achieve the unexpected.
Here’s what a few other Huntress View team members had to say about Taking Aim:
"I couldn't put it down! It was like a peek inside Eva's life with details I had never heard before. I didn't want the stories to end and still find myself so fascinated by her mother, Louise! This book definitely has the potential for sequels and I sure hope that it does. A wonderful collection of raw stories filled with true emotion and great storytelling!" – Tammy Bashore @tlbashore
“As someone who didn’t start hunting until I was 20, I appreciated being able to read about Eva’s personal experience and decision to start hunting around the same age, despite her early exposure to hunting. The book explores how Eva has grown as a hunter and how her hunting adventures have earned her both positive and negative attention, and how she gracefully addresses both. From failed hunts and accidents in the field, to the intense emotion that comes with harvesting an animal, Eva describes how the hunting experience is so much more than just killing; it is a lifestyle.” – Jennifer James @thewoodsmanswife
“Eva Shockey's Field and Stream cover came out just as I was getting into hunting. I loved her photo and I was an instant fan. Her rugged beauty was captivating and although I am a lot older than her, I felt like she was someone I could look up to. I was thrilled to be selected as part of the launch team for Taking Aim because I really wanted to know her story. Eva does a great job narrating her adventures. She is thorough in her descriptions and simplifies the hunting vernacular so any reader, young or old will understand. I highly recommend this book especially for any women/girls that are interested in learning more about hunting.” – Erin Diegel @eaglediegel
"Just when the hunting world thought they couldn't possibly love Eva Shockey any more, she releases the book 'Taking Aim' and makes us fall in love with her all over again. The book puts you in her shoes for a short time, and puts to rest the stereotypes that surround growing up as Jim Shockey's daughter and the pre-conceived notions some may have about how Eva got started in the hunting industry. Hunters and non-hunters alike can appreciate the stories Eva shares about her personal life, as well as the hunting memories she recalls. This book is highly inspiring, not just to hunters, but to anyone who is looking to come out of their shell and find their true self." - Andrea Haas @andi_haas_
Sarah Honadel is an avid outdoorswoman from Kentucky, now living in Idaho, who enjoys hunting turkey, deer and elk. She is a Team Member at Huntress View and Brand Champion for ReelCamo Girl, two organizations that work to support, encourage and empower women in the outdoors. Follow her on Instagram @waddysarah and @arrowridgecreations.