Core Stories

Jim Shockey is Relentless

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Hunting Legend

Many call Jim Shockey the most experienced, decorated, and recognized hunter in the world, which might still be an understatement. A legendary outdoor writer, professional big game outfitter, as well as the producer and host of “Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures,” “Jim Shockey’s Uncharted,” and “Jim Shockey’s The Professionals,” the man is an icon. He has received numerous accolades for his work in the outdoor industry and is a longtime member of the Leupold Pro Team. Outdoor Lifecalled him “the most accomplished big-game hunter of the modern era.” Simply put, Jim Shockey is relentless.

While you might know a lot about Jim Shockey’s life, we thought we’d dig up five things you might not know about our era’s most celebrated hunter. And if you want to dig even deeper, check out our Core Insider Podcast.

1) He’s only ever used Leupold optics… except for one time.

Shockey himself has said “I’ve never had a gun that didn’t have a Leupold on it. I have no intention of changing.” It’s true that we jumped on board with Jim decades ago, long before he was an iconic figure within the hunting world – but he’s chosen to stand by our brand the same way we’ve chosen to stand by his. The top-tier optical performance and rugged reliability that we’re known are the very traits that a diehard, relentless hunter like Jim demands from his gear. We’re proud to be the optic of choice for a man with Shockey’s experience, savvy, and know-how – and our team works hard every day to ensure that we never let him – or any of our consumers – down.

2) He started his career as an antique dealer.

Though Shockey has always felt the call of the wild (killing his first deer at age 14), one of his first ventures after leaving University was opening an antique business. He knew he wanted to enter the outdoor industry, but he needed capital – and so he sold antiques. Jim has always been a collector and historian, which is evident by the extensive collection he has on display at his Hand of Man Museum of Natural History. Leupold team members had the opportunity to tour the Hand of Man museum last year, and you can get an inside look with this video.

3) His trademark look happened by accident.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a photo of Jim Shockey that didn’t feature a dark cowboy hat and a red bandana (although we’ve laid our hands on a few over the years – check out our Instagram page for more). Interestingly enough, the legendary look came together by accident. Last year, Shockey told Outdoor Lifethat he once borrowed a guide’s black cowboy hat for a photo – he liked what he saw, and so he bought a hat of his own. The red bandana made its debut when another outdoor writer suggested that he needed more color in his trophy photos. Piece by piece, his signature look came to be.

4) He travels more than you do.

Being a “full-time” hunter may seem like a dream job, but to deliver the quality of content that Shockey and his team are known for, it takes incredible time and effort. It’s not uncommon for Jim to spend more than 300 days a year away from home, on the road. It’s true that different members of his family sometimes come along for the ride – but we’d challenge anyone to make that schedule work as well as he has over the years. There’s commitment, and then there’s relentless commitment. It’s not hard to see where Shockey lands.

5) He’s a Weatherby Award Winner.

Earlier this year, Shockey was honored with the legendary Weatherby Award. To qualify for the award, potential recipients must be invited to submit a ballot to an existing Weatherby Award selection committee member. To even be recognized, a prospective winner has to have ethically hunted and taken many of the world’s most highly-regarded game species. Three categories comprise the awards submission document and are ultimately reviewed: a potential recipient’s hunting accomplishments, conservation and education, and character and sportsmanship. Anyone that’s met, watched, or even heard of Jim knows full well that there’s no one more qualified for such an honor.

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