These days it seems we get further and further away from the outdoors with all the electronic distractions we face in lives. One thing that I have realized is it's easier to make a personal connection to our kids, spouse and friends when we unplug and take a step back into nature.
The 14th annual Big Buck Expo, coming to the Lakeland Center Friday to Sunday, is the state's premier expo for hunting and the great outdoors. It features more than 250 hunting exhibitors and outfitter booths, interactive activities, demonstrations and informative "how to seminars."
Don't let the name fool you: There is a lot of variety at this Expo — from 2018 Ford F-150 test drives, chainsaw carving demonstrations by Mike Brownfield and the Trophy Deer Display. To keep your passion for the outdoors going, a complimentary one-year subscription to Field & Stream or Outdoor Life is included with paid admission. All attendees will be entered into daily drawings and dozens of door prizes.
Among the outdoor personalities fans can meet with is Eva Shockey, avid bow hunter, Outdoor Channel star, author and daughter to the famous hunter and outdoorsman Jim Shockey.
Eva is a down-to-earth, funny and an easygoing new mom. She began hunting at age 21, after she finished college in Australia and realized that her family's way of life was missing in hers. For the Shockeys, harvesting their own food supply was more normal than going to the grocery store.
Eva spoke to her father and declared she wanted to be part of the family business, and from that day on she started climbing her way to the top of the outdoor world.
Of course I had to ask if being a woman in the industry made it any harder hunting and filming.
"You are still hiking 10 to 20 miles a day in the freezing cold, sleeping outside, hungry, and trying to get that one shot you have been working for like anybody else," she said.
Eva is juggling a lot these days: A TV show, new baby, husband and now she is a published author with her book Taking Aim to be released Aug. 29.
"The No. 1 thing to me is inspiring someone to have the courage to get out of their comfort zone and push their limits to try something new," she said.
Misty Wells is host of the national radio and television show Let's Take It Outside and an outdoor pro-writer and adventure guide for fishing and hunting trips. She is founder of "A Reel Future," a non-profit organization devoted to sharing the knowledge and passion of fishing and the outdoors to future generations and foster kids in need. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.