The professional guide and outfitter won't stop his services, but won't be taking anyone but family and close friends hunting anymore.
The Safari Club International Convention held one of its many dinner and auction events Wednesday, but little did we know it'd be the last place anyone could buy a guided hunt with Jim Shockey.
One of the 20-some odd auctioned items at Wednesday evening's featured event was a guided British Columbia bear hunt with Jim himself, likely to be filmed for a future airing of Jim Shockey's Hunting Adventures.
The auction item was poised to be among the priciest of the entire evening, but that was before Shockey grabbed the microphone from the auctioneer and briefly explained the distinction.
To paraphrase, he told the crowd in attendance that this hunt would not be his last, but it would be the last opportunity that he takes to guide, individually, someone outside his inner circle of family members and close relatives.
He also emphasized that the outfitter service aspect of Jim Shockey's Hunting Adventures wouldn't end, but instead be carried on by hunters other than Jim.
In other words, if a hunt with Jim Shockey as your outfitter was on your bucket list, you might want to get used to the idea that it ain't gonna happen.
The trip earned the highest winning bid of the evening (by far), and the unknown bidder will now set a 2018 date for the end of Jim Shockey's professional guiding career.
Every hunter eventually gets to a point, whether by choice or by force, where they begin to slow down. I don't get the sense that Shockey is particularly limited physically, but when you reach grandparent status, the concerns about health and capability naturally surface.
It could also be, in a sense, Shockey and his team's way of "monitoring game time," to steal from a professional sports analogy. Superstars who have passed the prime performance stage of their career are sometimes benched for an extended period to "save their legs," or even given an entire night off here and there.
That kind of preservation can lessen the odds of injury, keep someone from getting burned out, and leave enough gas in the tank for at least a few more flashes of brilliance. I'm imagining this is the sort of scenario that's playing out.
The SCI Convention is the Club's largest annual fundraiser, with many of the profits from this and other such auction items going straight towards SCI's mission of preserving the right to hunt for ourselves and future generations.
Shockey represents SCI's crowning glory, essentially taking a passion for big game hunting and using it to reach a certain level, one in which he was able to educate folks around the world about conservation, ethics, and the amazingly great outdoors.
But if Jim Shockey really is hanging up his hunting boots (so to speak), that leaves room for the next big guide or outdoor personality to step in. Who it will be we're unsure, but those hunting boots are going to be awfully tough to fill for the time being.