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Friday, May 9, 2014

Jim Shockey is a Patient Man.

Hal Shockey, Chuck Matasic and Jim Shockey in 2003.
Hal died last year - 2013 at 86 years old.
Dinner was over but the guides kept talking about the need to make a good shot on these Black Bears. "If your shot is just a little off, be ready because your guide will be ready with his rifle to quickly put a second shot in the animal." The concern was the danger associated with tracking a wounded animal in the thick undergrowth of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I listened and after the 3rd cycle going over the same information, I realized two things (1) they were serious (2) an incident must have focused these men on this subject. I didn't ask. Ten years later, I still remember that dinner discussion as if it was yesterday.
Earlier that day, Jim Shockey picked me up at the Vancouver Airport in his pickup truck. I was working with a firearms company at the time. (Actually, that firearms experience helps us make the great product that Kodabow is today.) For the next 4 hours, I talked with Jim about Bear Hunting. It was non-stop and question after question was presented. Jim offered answer after answer. We discussed bear behaviour in early Spring and how bears act, feed and think. He had a scrapbook on the front bench of his pickup and that only fueled our discussion. Jim was very successful ten years ago in the outdoor industry and since then, his career as a professional hunter has continued on a very high trajectory. He is a gentleman, a great hunter and  an all around "good guy" and that is the force behind his meteoric popularity. By the time we arrived in camp,I felt as if I might have discussed nearly every bear hunt , every scrapbook photo and nearly every other hunt in Jim's long hunting career - but he never tired. He is a patient man.

To make a long story short, I headed out with Jim the next morning and we stalked up on a nice black bear. The circumstances required an offhand shot because of a changing wind and the bear was immediately dropped on the spot with a single well placed shot with a .300 Winchester Short Magnum. It was an exciting hunt.

The next day, I was enjoying dinner with Louise Shockey (Jim's wife) and Jim at their home and we talked about family, the outdoor industry and hunting. The discussion eventually turned to our successful bear hunt and I had one final question for Jim. I asked, "Jim, the guides talked about the aggressiveness of these Vancouver Island bears and the need for the guide to be ready with a 2nd shot. I looked over when we were chasing that big bear and you left your rifle in the truck. What the heck was that all about?"

Jim leaned back in his chair and thought for a minute and said, "Chuck, you came a long way. We spent a lot of time together talking about shooting and hunting on the way to camp. You are the type of guy that really gets into the details. I just knew you would make the shot." I thought to myself ..... No one ever paid me a finer compliment.

Jim took this picture. The curse of  a big man.
I can make any animal appear smaller.
The passing years have taught me that there is magic in archery hunting but I still enjoy picking up a rifle, shotgun or flintlock from time to time. I have been on many firearm hunts where I wish I would have brought my bow. I have never been on an archery hunt where I wish I would have had a firearm. That is the difference.

I will head to Canada again this year for a bear hunt .... with a bow this time and  instinctively think about Jim and our hunt together. 

- Chuck Matasic @ Kodabow Crossbows