-- "Hunger Games" heroine and bow hunter Katniss Everdeen became the anti-Barbie for a new generation in the book and movie series, and in real life, more women are jumping into the traditionally-male dominated sport of hunting.
Canadian-born Eva Shockey has become the face of that new trend.
“How crazy was that? ... it’s a huge, huge, huge honor,” Shockey said.
The number of female hunters has been steadily increasing, up 34 percent between 2006 and 2011, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, and the rise has caught the attention of several outdoor brands. On the market today are pink bows, and stylist form-fitting hunting gear that have appeared just in the last few years.
“We’ve been in the women’s hunting business for about four years, but literally in the last two years, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the business,” said Bryan Offutt, Under Armour’s senior director of outdoor marketing.
Eva Shockey is the daughter of Jim Shockey, the host of popular hunting shows, “Jim Shockey’s Uncharted” and “Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures” on Outdoor Channel. Growing up, she started going on hunting trips with her dad when she was only 3 or 4 years old. But she didn’t start hunting herself until she was 20, and never actually killed an animal until she shot a warthog during an episode of one of Jim’s shows.
“It was emotional,” Shockey said. “I was excited, I was nervous, I was worried.”
“As a hunter, if you don’t feel remorse, if you don’t feel reverence for that animal that just gave you a life, then I think you should maybe rethink it,” she continued. “That’s a living animal, and it’s now become food for people.”
Shockey insists she doesn’t kill solely for sport. For her, it’s a family tradition, and even the ultimate way to be health conscious because she knows where her food comes from.
But hunting is a controversial sport. Anti-hunting protests have been on the rise in the past few years, and female hunters have felt the worst of it.
“I think when they attack me, that’s just a form of fear basically,” she said. “They are used to … the hunter with the beard and the drinking beer...but that’s not what I represent.”
But Shockey’s enthusiasm and good looks have helped make her a star.
“When you see somebody like Eva Shockey gorgeous and young well educated, and she has the message, how can you not hook on to that and say hey she’s going to reach way more people then we will,” said Ronnie Strickland, the senior vice president of media services for Mossy Oak, an outdoor brand sponsoring the Shockeys.
“Women realize, we can say screw the political correctness,” Palin said. “Those who would say we shouldn’t be harvesting in the wild, God’s resources that he has provided … more and more women, quite independent, are saying, ‘nah, let me at it.’”