Imagine waking up, going to your phone or computer, checking Facebook or Twitter and then seeing 5,000 comments flinging some of the most vile things imaginable at you.
Welcome to the life of Eva Shockey.
Shockey, 26, is the rising face of hunting: she co-hosts the Outdoor Channel show, “Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures” with her father (Sundays at 8 p.m. ET), has sponsorships from some of the biggest brands in the industry, and was recently featured on the cover of Field & Stream magazine. Her fresh face and spunky personality are quickly becoming a must-watch for hunting enthusiasts.
But not everyone is a fan. As TheBlaze was first to report on Saturday, this past week Shockey spent time in North Carolina with her dad going after black bear, where she bagged a massive, 510-lb. bruin she called the “biggest bear of my life.” Soon after posting pictures of the trophy on social media, she started receiving backlash from the anti-hunting crowd. One, she said, told her she should “kill that little worthless dog you have instead.”
Shockey told TheBlaze that’s actually one of the more tame comments she deals with on a daily basis.
“I don’t want to show the really rude ones and I also try to keep my site [and social media] really G-rated,” the Florida resident explained, understanding that she has become a role model for many young hunters, especially girls.
“Some days I’ll wake up and I’ll literally have — I’ve had 5,000-plus death threats in one day,” she said. When it happens, she blocks, bans or deletes the comments so others don’t have to see them.
So what’s the worst thing someone has said to her?
“Definitely not the puppy comment,” she said chuckling. There’s the one where someone attacked her mom and said “she should have died instead of giving birth to me.” Another said her dad should “shoot me instead of shooting the bear.” And finally, there’s one where someone suggested she just “shoot herself.”
“I don’t take it personally,” she said of how she deals with the hate. She said it “saddens” her more than angers her.
The larger idea she hopes to convey to those who attack her, she said, is that she’s actually helping animals and the environment.
“Some days I’ll wake up and I’ll literally have — I’ve had 5,000-plus death threats in one day.”
“I know as a hunter that what I’m doing is the right thing, I’m doing good, I’m positively benefiting wildlife populations and adding to conservation,” she said, talking about hunters aid in much-needed population control and habitat protection.
Anti-hunters, then, actually do harm to the very animals they say they help by opposing such efforts, she said: “They don’t realize how much [money] hunters actually put toward conservation.”
That’s reflected in her advice to other hunters who encounter backlash for their own hunting practices and pictures. Instead of striking back, she said, it’s important to not “stoop down to their level.”
“That’s not going to do anything to help the situation.” Instead, she challenges hunters to use a lesson taught to her by her famous father: “What he’s always showed me and what I really try to live by every day is just rise above. You don’t need to go down to what they’re doing. … And the best thing to do is, if anything, to just educate them. Show them you’re not this redneck who drinks beer and shoots animals illegally.”
It’s something she said her dad prepared her for from the beginning when he said she would be a target.
To her, it’s all worth it.
“I’ll take the anti-hunters if I get a few more pro-hunters,” she said.