Watch just a few minutes of Driven with Pat & Nicole and it’s clear that Nicole Reeve is not acting. This is who she is, and it’s not a surprise considering her upbringing in Southern Illinois.
“Hunting was a big thing when I was growing up,” she said. “I shot my first deer at age 6. I didn’t know the difference of not going.”
Back then, Nicole and her two older brothers would hunt with their dad out of an old cabin that didn’t even have running water or electricity. Her mom didn’t hunt, but would be there, too, as the camp cook.
“Those memories are still instilled in me today,” she said.
The setting is different these days, but Nicole still enjoys spending time afield with her family.
In their travels for their show, she and husband Pat often have the company of kids. Four of the children are older, from Pat’s previous marriage. The couple has a toddler son, Cashton, whom they often take along.
“The best part for Pat and me is being able to travel together, and having our little guy along,” Nicole said. “He loves it.”
Nicole has always been focused on kids. After graduating from Southern Illinois University, she took a job as a third grade teacher. She loved it, but soon she met Pat at the Archery Trade Association show.
“He convinced me to move to Minnesota,” said Nicole, who jokes her husband that he is one of the older guys in the industry because he’s been doing it so long.
The popularity of their show is a testament to the couple’s chemistry. Although producing it, including the necessary travel, is a lot of fun, it’s also a lot of work.
“It’s not just ‘Here comes the animal, push the record button,’” she said. “There’s a lot of hard work and long hours that go into it.”
And it’s rewarding. Nicole says she is proud to be a role model, and she is humbled to meet fans.
“Being in the position I’m in now, I’m able to influence thousands of female hunters, from young girls to older ladies,” Nicole said. “I recently had a 77-year-old woman come up and tell me that she recently went hunting with her husband and got her first deer. That’s really neat and makes every second we put into this worth it.”
Even though the career isn’t exactly the one Nicole saw herself pursuing, it’s not far off.
“I always knew I’d be a teacher,” she said. “I just didn’t know what form it would take.”