“The first time I had the opportunity to watch Ivan Carter hunting it was on the DVD set Boddington on Elephant. Unfortunately I made the mistake of loaning out that DVD but I watched it for several years. I had the opportunity to ask Ivan one time about the video series. In almost every circumstance Ivan places his hand on the back of the hunters when they are hunting elephant. I asked him whether that hand was to steady the hunter, let the hunter know he was there or keep the hunter from stepping back. His answer did not surprise me when he stated that it was a little bit of all three. Ivan has been steadfast in his commitment to conservation organizations and he is as passionate about hunting, Africa, wildlife and his family. I am super excited to provide his interview below and we will always be fans of Ivan Carter and the work he is doing for conservation.” – Kevin Paulson
What’s one rookie mistake you’ve made hunting?
This list can go on and on, but if you want just one, last year I came across Cape Buffalo tracks and thinking it would be very close, I left the truck without my backpack, water, first aid or satellite phone. We walked eight hours for that bull, harvested him and needless to say we had a very, very thirsty walk back to the vehicle. We spent the next day recovering him. If I had brought my backpack, we would have had water, snacks, skinning knives, radios, etc. and the whole thing would have been a lot more comfortable. Luckily nobody was hurt and it all ended well – but it could have been bad!
What’s the hardest lesson you have learned while hunting?
That no matter how hard you work and how hard you think you can hunt, you have to slow down and go at the pace of the game. Be in tune with that pace and slow down – rushing while hunting seldom ends well. In our crazy modern lives, we are driven to rush and do and achieve more in the field – slowing down and taking notice of every detail pays great dividends.
What one hunting skill that you most want to improve?
Tracking and attention to detail. Working with trackers in Africa every day in the field makes me realize how little I really see and I would love to have the skills that they have.
Who do you admire most in the hunting and conservation world and Why?
I admire the people who are happy – I mean truly happy – to return empty handed and still talk highly of the experience. The reason is obvious: these are the true hunters who are part of the chase for all the right reasons.
How were you introduced to hunting?
It is in my blood – as long as I can remember I have wanted to pursue things. As a child, it was rats with a BB gun, and then I pursued falconry for almost 20 years alongside a growing passion for rifle and shotgun hunting. Indeed it’s always been a part of my life, I guess I was just made that way.
Who were the influencers in your life that helped you get into hunting?
My grandfather and parents were always very supportive and always encouraged me to get outdoors.
Tell us about your first hunt?
It was a bow hunt and I was probably three years old. I had been hunting for what seemed like forever, but more likely probably a few days, obsessed with my pursuit of this one particular creature. I was encouraged by my family, endured some physical, mental and emotional hardship. Imagine my confusion when I finally succeeded and was rewarded with a spanking for putting an arrow in my grandmothers prize white turkey (it was free range).
What advice would you give someone just getting into hunting?
Do not focus on the kill – become absorbed by the journey and never underestimate the responsibility that accompanies the ability to kill a wild animal.
What species would you most like to hunt?
Any species where a specific method of hunting is required for success.
What gear do you carry that you could not live without?
My binoculars, hat, walking shoes, rifle and great ammo. If I had to say just one thing, if I had to be naked in the field and choose one item it would have to be binoculars. We can make do with all the rest but the ability to see well is crucial.
What is your perfect big game rifle and bullet set up?
For big game in Africa, in tough weather conditions I would have to say a Nosler with synthetic stock, stainless barrel and action and a Trijicon 1-4 on top. As far as bullets go, based on the fact that I would likely be in elephant country I would want Nosler solids. This combination will require zero maintenance, will never fail, will be accurate at almost any distance and will be able to get you out of a jam pretty darn easy at any range – be it something trying to kill you or a wounded animal I am trying to dispatch.
What is your most memorable hunt?
I am the most blessed person you will ever meet, I have had so many incredible memories, based on the fact I have guided hunts across the continent of Africa for 25 years I would have to say my own personal most memorable hunt would have to be a marco polo sheep in Tajikistan , purely because it was an experience that was the polar opposite to anything i had done , the weather altitude , shooting distance, caliber, living conditions …everything was such a cool adventure !
What five pieces of gear do you carry with you on every hunt that you could not live without?
Binoculars, shoes, hat, gun and ammo.
What conservation organizations do you support with your time and money?
Dallas Safari club, Safari Club International and Tusk Trust.
What three tried and true tips do you have to offer hunters for small game?
Aim small miss small – be extremely patient and watch your shadow.
In all of the years of hunting what is the most important lesson you have learned from the outdoors?
It is a great equalizer and nobody can do it for you; if you want to make a good shot you have to practice, to think through it and do it yourself. Nobody can walk the mountain for you – you cannot be efficient and proficient without practice and when luck comes your way, you can make the very most out of that moment.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Where and when can folks tune in to catch your show?
My new show “Elephant Country” will be airing on Outdoor Channel in the 4th quarter of 2015. This is a brand new project that we are very excited to be creating.
What would you like other hunters and non-hunters to know about you as a hunter?
That it’s never about the kill, in fact, the moment the bullet is in the air it stops being a hunt, the killing starts and the real essence of the hunt is over. I would like everyone to realize that I am there for the hunt, every aspect of the hunt and I will train, prepare and think about the final shot but not at the expense of the great experience I will have while pursing that moment.
When youngsters and their parents come up to meet you for a quick photo or autograph, what message do you hope to convey?
That I am a conservationist first and that even if they don’t realize it I appreciate every single hunter out there who loves their game and whose dollars end up truly impacting the future of that game.
Have you been personally been attacked by anti-hunters and how has this influenced you? Where do you believe such hate comes from and why do you think it is aimed at you in particular? What do you feel is the most appropriate response to such personal attacks?
Yes indeed I have very much so. I think a lot of emotion is generated and fueled by the kill shot – the fact that we kill things and there is a misconception that we love to kill – not just that we love to hunt. As wrong as this maybe that’s the perception. I usually ignore the very violent ones – they are angry people that will always be haters and I am always extremely polite and elegant in my responses. I don’t think it’s aimed at me in particular, I think we live in an age where all hunters are under fire! It has influenced me in that now I always explain if I post a trophy shot and I am very selective to make sure that the picture is justified and includes a “lesson” for the uninformed!