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Ask Ivan

Destinations. Tactics. Gear and More.
This Week's Question

What a great addition to Outdoor Channel's website. This is more a statement than a question, but one I wanted to make to you as it is relevant in my mind. As a long time fan of Tracks Across Africa I have enjoyed, especially since you took over as host, the time spent explaining the conservation of habitat and wildlife that happens because of sport hunting. This is especially true when it comes to elephant hunting. I doubt if finances will ever allow me to hunt elephant, but you have been a fine ambassador for elephant hunting, as well as elephant conservation through information. I have learned a great deal about this creature from you on TAA, as well as your elephant hunting DVD, as you separate fact from fiction on this species. So many of my friends say “Is it still legal to hunt elephant today?” I'm sure you have heard that too. There are a lot of uninformed folks out there as I am sure you are aware. People like yourself, who know the game from years of ‘boots on the ground' continue to be the only voice of reason when the topic of elephant hunting comes up.

Keep the great shows coming, and please accept my congratulations for a job well done on your show! Keep safe Ivan.

-Donald R., Big Lake, MN

Thank you very much for the kind words. Outdoor Channel is indeed a great platform to inform the public of the realities of safari, especially the positive impact sport hunting has on sustainable wildlife utilization and conservation. Elephant hunting, as well as the elephants themselves, are misunderstood topics to the general public, a fact I am all to aware of. Information, especially info generated from scientific studies as opposed to pure emotion, is the key. Where he has value through hunting, the elephant is doing fine in Africa. In fact, his numbers are exploding in some countries. Loss of habitat and uncontrolled ivory POACHING - NOT SPORT HUNTING are the elephant’s worst enemies today. Hunting is the only hope this species has, although that statement is seemingly lost of the non- hunting public. We will keep spreading the word, and we will continue to assure that we as hunters open our wallets, not just our mouths, to ensure this wonderful animal continues to roam Africa’s wild spaces.

Thanks for the open mind Donald.

- Ivan

African Savannah - Ask Ivan

More Questions and Answers

  • As a follow-up to another poster's question, which Trijicon RMR are you using on your double(s)? It looks to be the dual illumination version. Green or amber? Dot or triangle? Thanks, and keep up the quality shows!

    My favorite RMRs are the models that have a triangle. I am not fussy about color. The reason I like the triangle is because you can have an infinitely small aiming point, whereas with a dot, it’s quite large and not as "pinpoint" accurate.

    Thank you so much for watching Outdoor Channel!

    Good Shooting.

    - Ivan

  • I thoroughly enjoyed your elephant hunting movie. You have given me the fever to finally get serious about setting up my first elephant safari. I was wondering with your career so closely tied to elephant hunting, do you keep records on how many elephants you have guided in your career? Just curious. - Ben W. Walker S., Boston, MA

    Yes, my professional career is very linked to this wonderful creature. In fact, I have kept fairly accurate records and they tell me I have guided over 300 elephants. Keep in mind, many of these have been cows, as in my native Zimbabwe we have used sport hunting to help control numbers. The hunting of elephant in Africa is so misunderstood that few people realize how overpopulation of elephants affect entire districts. Sport hunting generates revenue, provides protein to local people, and continues to be the only viable population control method in existence.

    I hope you invest in the adventure that is elephant hunting. There is no finer undertaking in the hunting world!

    Good Shooting.

    - Ivan

  • I will be at the Dallas Safari Club convention with the specific goal of booking a Tanzania safari with a mature, well-maned lion as my primary goal. What areas, in your opinion, offer the best chance in this country for the kind of lion I am looking for? The same question as for time of year? This will be my third lion hunt, and although I have enjoyed them all, I have yet to have a chance at the kind of cat I described above. I know you are experienced in Tanzania and welcome your opinion. - Jackson J., Hartford, CT

    Tanzania is indeed a fine destination for a big lion, but not all areas are equal. We have filmed many lion hunts there over the last several years, and we have come away without Mr. Simba on several of those hunts. But I have learned much along the way! Masailand can be a great place to find a big cat, but my experience there tells me to go early in the season. My other favorite area is the central-western part of the country, but go late for the best lion action. Tanzania can be very affected by the rains, as cats follow the game. My friend Harpreet Brar, owner of Rungwa Big Game Safaris, has great hunting in both of these top areas, and he would be a great place to start your search. We have had excellent luck filming lion in Harpreet’s areas and they hold exactly the kind of mature lion you are rightly looking to hunt.

    Tell your outfitter to build your hunt around the lion, not a general bag, and stress that you will sacrifice other species on your 21 day license to concentrate on the cat. By doing that, you stack the deck in your favor.

    Please let me know how you do, and I wish you the very best of luck. - Ivan

  • I've been fortunate enough to hunt Africa twice and it was truly awesome. The fire burns brightly to return as least once more. But I have an incurable brain disease which is slowly taking away by ability to walk and talk. Are there any places in Africa you could recommend for hunters who cannot quite get around like a normal hunter would? Love to watch your shows and what you bring into my home each week! - Terry H., DePere, WI

    Hi Terry,
    First of all, thank you so much for the compliment - I am pleased you enjoy watching! Yes, indeed there are some ideal destinations for folks that have some difficulty getting around. I would highly recommend some of the destinations in South Africa that we book - they are very comfortable accommodations, very good road networks and with good quality and populations of wildlife. You will have the ability to collect some excellent trophies and have a true African experience. Many of these places require minimum walking ability. My advice would be GO and GO soon - you won't regret it and you'll understand the spell of Africa that we have all fallen under...
    I wish you favorable health and blessings,
    - Ivan

  • Tracks Across Africa continues to be my favorite show on Outdoor Channel and it has lit a fire in me to book my first safari in the near future. My sons and I record every episode and we all enjoy the passion you bring to the hunt. It is obvious you truly love both the land and the game.
    Our question is this “How long does it take you in the field to produce the typical show as we see it on Outdoor Channel?” I am sure there are many factors that go into that, but we would be curious hear some behind the scenes information as we always debate this issue.
    Keep up the great job your team is doing! - Cecil L., Hot Springs, AR.

    Boy you are correct that there are many factors that go into this question. There's not a “typical time per show,” is the honest answer. I have filmed 21 day safaris that resulted in three individual, action packed episodes, and I have done 21 day safaris (and this hurts mentally and financially to admit) and come away with no show at all. Africa, in a good area, is a great place to gather film and tell a story, but things happen. I am currently in camp in Zimbabwe as I write this and a hunter has just wounded a big leopard. We are filming it and the shot showed the bullet hit it very low. The PH will continue the dangerous follow up in the morning, in fact I plan to be on hand to help, but the outlook is not good. No one is in good spirits tonight. It is day 12 of his 14 day hunt, so if we do not recover what looks to be a lightly wounded cat, we will have no show. A sad and expensive reality in outdoor television production.
    I know this is not a definitive answer to your question, but it is the reality. Some come together like a dream; others are tough start to finish. Just like hunting!
    Thank you and the boys for tuning in!
    - Ivan

  • I've seen you carry your Heym with a Trijicon RMR. Did you have to modify the rib on your double to ensure that the sight does not slip due?

    Indeed there are two small grooves milled into the sides of the rib and a small 1mm hole drilled in the top of the rib, between these anchor points the RMR can be removed quickly and replaced accurately - the RMR is simply the best solution for enlarging the distance that one can shoot with a double yet maintaining the classic feel of a double rifle!
    Thanks for watching our shows and kind regards.
    - Ivan

  • My wife and I enjoyed your presentation at the February Dallas Safari Club monthly meeting. You are obviously a young man living the dream most men cannot- a professional hunter in Africa. You went into detail about certain aspects of your training and career, but I am curious if you had, or have specific men in your profession who have impacted your career and outlook on our sport? I have been very fortunate in my life to have mentors to guide me along, and I was wondering if you have been impacted by other members of the professional hunting fraternity?
    All the best to you Ivan. You are a fine ambassador for hunting sir!
    - Adrian F., DeSoto, TX

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I am humbled to count myself in the company of so many truly great men who came before me, and an associate of those practicing the craft today. Yes, there have been many who have taken the time to share their hard lessons learned in the bush with a skinny kid from Zimbabwe. All have been men of high integrity who place ‘doing it right” as more important than being famous or wealthy. My list would be too long to mention, as so many have helped encourage and train me. But you asked a question, and I will answer it like this. I will pick one retired hunter and one practicing PH as the men who have had the deepest impact on young and adult Ivan Carter.
    Richard Harland is one of the real hero’s of my youth and continues to be so today. One of Africa’s all time great elephant hunters (and authors) Richard has been kind beyond words to give advice throughout my career. It has always been spot on, and has always been given freely and from the heart.
    Johan Calitz is a living legend in elephant hunting circles and not only do I count Johan as a dear friend, I consider him the role model for the modern day hunter \ conservationist. Johan is a modest man, but there are few hunters practicing today who have the wealth of experience of this good man.
    Johan has been a role model for so many young professionals who have learned and perfected their craft under his steady hand, and you can proudly count Ivan Carter in that number. Just to be associated with men of this caliber is an honor.
    Good Hunting.
    - Ivan

  • I have hunted Africa only once and not for dangerous game, but I have a question that I would like to hear your thoughts on. On a recent episode, you shot a charging lion almost at your feet. I did not see the client anywhere during the follow-up and was wondering why? What is your policy on client participation on the follow-up of dangerous game, in particular, wounded game? - Garry R., Joplin, Mo

    So many factors to consider here, as no two situations are the same. Sometimes the PH, who has his hands full already, wants to go in alone with one tracker to sort out a wounded animal without having to worry about the clients’ safety being at risk. Many times cover dictates how many go in on a follow up. In open country, it is far easier to go in with the client than it is to crawl into a dark hole, on hands and knees after a wounded leopard. And it depends on the client. If you are with a trusted guy who you know will stand firm if things get nasty, then by all means, take him in. On the other hand, if the guy hit the perfectly positioned leopard through the back leg at 70 yards off a dead rest, then the odds of him being a big help on a cat coming Mach 5 at six feet are slim indeed. The bottom line is that the PH has the final word here. If you are asked to go in with him, then go. If you are asked to stay put while he sorts out a dangerous situation, then put your ego aside and let him do his job. Ego has got a lot of guys hurt and dead in this game, but egos mend far faster than bites and broken bones.
    Good question Garry.
    - Ivan

  • I want to tell you how much we are enjoying the Ivan Carter presence on our favorite Outdoor Channel show, Tracks Across Africa. You have raised the bar on safari programming my friend. Ivan, realizing that you are in the business of guiding other hunters to their dream animals, I was wondering, if you personally could hunt for any animal in Africa, what species would you like to put in your own trophy room? From one hunter to another.
    - Weston A., Meers, OK

    Great question and one I have thought of myself. Actually there are two, and they are far and away the two animals and hunting experiences that appeal to me the most. The Lord Derby eland has always been a dream for me. A beautiful animal and a walking hunt generally considered one of the most demanding tracking jobs in all of Africa. The second is a forest elephant. This sub species has always interested me as a hunter, especially when you consider how closely my career is tied to the savannah species. To track these elephants in the dense forest, where visibility is measured in feet, would be of great interest to me. I have been around them some, but never on a serious hunt for them. One day maybe….
    Thanks for the question Weston - Ivan

  • Thank you and Outdoor Channel for this opportunity to reach out to a professional. A wonderful addition to their website. Ivan, I have hunted Africa four times, in three countries, and have shot most of the species that I most prized. One glaring exception is a big sable. I would dearly like to take one really good sable bull in my career and wanted to get your advice on the best areas for this majestic antelope.

    We really enjoy your work and wish you the very best in your hunting and television efforts. Thank you for your expertise and opinion.
    - Richard M., Toledo, Ohio

    I agree that a big, jet- black sable bull is the most handsome of all the glamour game in Africa. Finding a really good one is getting harder in many areas, and the demand for sable exceeds the availability in much of their range. In South Africa, you will find big sable, but they will be on a game ranch. The best sable come from Western Zambia. My partner Dave Fulson took a brute with Pete Fischer’s Nchilla Wildlife Reserve a few years back and was stunned by the number of big bulls he saw. I would look hard at outfitters in Western Zambia if a really big sable is your goal. Of course a big bull can pop up anywhere sable are found. Zimbabwe used to be “the sable mecca” before the land invasions. Still, there are some good bulls to be found there though. Mozambique has good areas, although the horn length is generally smaller than in Zimbabwe, or Zambia. It just depends what your idea of BIG is? Come to the Dallas Safari Club Convention in January and spend your time talking to outfitters who offer sable. The DSC convention is always a great place to start a hunt quest.
    Good luck on your safari!
    - Ivan

  • We are considering a buffalo\plains game hunt in either Mozambique or Zimbabwe in 2013. We have talked to several outfits in both countries to compare rates, areas, and game available, but one constant is the seemingly high cost of charter fees. It will be just my wife and myself, and each charter, with the longest flight being one hour and 15 minutes, is in the $2,300-2,500 range. I did the identical flight in Alaska last September in a Cessna 186 and it was over $1000 dollars cheaper. Are these rates (round trip) high in your opinion? Thank you and keep the shows coming.
    - William and Beth P., Lawton, OK

    Unfortunately those rates seem well within the normal range I pay for similar flights around Africa. And into very remote areas, those rates are very reasonable. Aviation fuel and its transport are very expensive in Africa, and charter aircraft is often the only way to reasonably access safari areas. Many flights that last two hours would take two or more days over land in a vehicle on difficult roads to reach your area. Believe me, “wings are the way.” Africa is Africa, and it is not always the easiest or cheapest place to move around in. The charter fees you mentioned are well within the norm and they are just a part of the price to see wild Africa.

    My advice is to budget accordingly and enjoy the flight into the hunting area. And take lots of pictures!

    Wings Away!
    - Ivan

  • I've booked a hunt for Cape buffalo in Mozambique. I have hunted them in Zimbabwe before, but this hunt will be in the swamps. I know you have aired several of these type hunts on your show, and the shots look to be, on average, quite a bit further than I experienced in the heavier cover in Zimbabwe. I was planning on taking a new double rifle on this hunt, but have been told it's an impractical choice. I know you are a double rifle man and welcome your opinion.
    - Herman L., Leesburg, VA

    I have not had much experience in the swamps of Mozambique, but I agree that the shots are, on average, much longer than you will find on the typical buffalo hunt. A well regulated double rifle is capable of surprising accuracy at ranges that would shock most shooters. The problem is when shooting open sights, it is often our own limitations, not the rifles, that make longer shots impractical and even dangerous. I use a Trijicon RMR sight on my personal rifle in more open country, and it extends my accurate shooting range far beyond my ability using open sights. A conventional low power scope will do the same thing, although some think it diminishes the traditional look of a classic double.

    That is a personal thing, but I will choose accuracy over looks anytime.

    With a scope you will be fine, but I would reach out to your outfitter, and or PH to get their opinion, as they know best what you can expect on your hunt.

    Best of luck in the swamp!
    - Ivan

  • My son and I met you in the Jo'Berg airport last July. We had just completed a plains game safari on the Eastern Cape and you were arriving and on your way to Zimbabwe. We are both big fans of TRACKS and it was a pleasure to meet you in person. Kyle still talks about you sitting down and showing such interest in the photos of his trophies, and he wears the ball cap you autographed all the time! You said upon your return to the states you were looking forward to a bison hunt in, I believe, Wyoming. Did you go, and did you get a bull?

    Thanks for your time that morning. It made a big impression on both father and son. I gave you my card and was serious about having you down for a whitetail hunt the next time you are in Texas.
    - Bill and Kyle B., Waco, TX

    It was my pleasure to visit with you both that day. I saw a lot of myself in young Kyle, and it was wonderful to hear your young man’s excitement as he told me of your adventure. He is ruined now, and dad is going to be doing a lot more hunting in Africa!! Yes, I did get the chance to hunt your American bison, a dream I have had since childhood. It was a horseback hunt with Brush Creek Ranch and it was like going back in time. I even used my double rifle. In Africa, Brush Creek has used a conservation model where sport hunting a renewable resource allows a species to prosper and grow while providing the rancher much needed capitol necessary to keep a big ranch together. As I often say where game is concerned “If it pays-It stays” Thanks so much for your letter men, and I will take you boys up on that whitetail hunt! Wishing you many more great safaris.
    - Ivan

  • My safari operator suggested that I purchase one of the medical evacuation policies. Is that normal for hunters booking in Africa? This is my first safari and I am sorting through a lot of information. The agent said it was my choice, but he strongly recommended I look into it. Your thoughts?
    - Anton B., Lewiston, Id.

    I personally agree that a medical evacuation policy is one of the best investments a hunter can make, no matter his destination. Accidents are rare, but they do happen, and in remote destinations like Africa, a quick evacuation including on board medical attention can literally be the difference between life and death. I use Global Rescue myself, and my wife would simply not allow me to travel without it. Getting a hurt or sick person out of the bush is expensive in the extreme, not to mention impractical in many areas. Global Rescue will come “anytime-anywhere” to assist their clients, and your policy kicks in once you travel just 160 miles from your home. You can purchase shorter term policies to cover you for a single trip, or get year round protection. Global Rescue is like your PH’s backup rifle. You hope you will not need it, but it is sure comforting to know it’s there. A wise investment for any traveling hunter.
    - Ivan

  • I am considering a new scope for my 2013 leopard hunt. Is a lighted reticle really worth the extra expense? I will be shooting a Remington 30:06 as my rifle choice. Your thoughts on the scope will impact my decision.
    - Oscar R., Phoenix, AZ

    In a word YES! A lighted reticle is worth it’s weight in gold when your cat comes in at last light, or is already on the bait at first light. Dark crosshairs against the dark outline of a cat will be invisible to your eye making an accurate and fatal shot very difficult. And this is not a shot you will want to take a chance with! I like the Trijicon 3X9 AccuPoint for cats and it has accounted for many a big tom leopard for my clients over the years. No matter the brand of scope you buy, you will be very glad that you invested in a lighted reticle. Hit him on the shoulder.
    - Ivan

  • I am sure you've been asked this countless times, but I would like to have you rate the dangerous game of Africa from most dangerous to least dangerous. I'm sure personal experience weighs heavily in the answer, but I am curious as to your thoughts on the Big Stuff.
    - Dan A. Antigo, WI

    Big topic, and yes, personal experience will determine how different pros will answer this question. I have answered it many times and here are my personal thoughts as to rating the BIG 5. (1) Tuskless elephants and cow elephants in general. They are herd animals, extremely intelligent, fast, and protective of their herd members. No doubt as to my number 1! (2) This is cheating I guess, but elephant bull is number two. They are massive, can be aggressive, and present a terrifying sight when charging. The frontal brain shot (the only choice) is difficult under stress and missing means disaster. (3) Cape buffalo, especially old dagga boys are aggressive by nature as they are harassed by lions constantly. When wounded, they are terrible opponents who come fast and with deadly intent. (4) Lions and leopard are about the same for me. Both are lightning fast, can hide anywhere, and are determined creatures when they charge. The lion is far more likely to kill you if he gets through, while the leopard is more likely to actually make contact. Both are scary as hell in a charge. (5) Hippo and Rhino round it out, with the hippo being the most dangerous of the two. All must be hunted with respect.
    - Ivan

  • I have seen you use an aiming device on your double rifle. It's not a traditional scope; what is it? Keep up the good work!
    - Keith P., Dallas, TX

    The product you are referring to is an RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) made by Trijicon. Keith, it is a great aiming device which allows much quicker target acquisition and accuracy with a double rifle than most folks can achieve with open sights. I have a lot of clients shooting doubles these days and most would frankly shoot better with an RMR in my opinion. Some folks don't care for the look of a traditional scope on a double, but the Trijicon RMR is small, detachable, and does not change the “look” of a classic double gun. Check out www.trijicon.com to see the features for yourself. The RMR is one cool piece of gear that you are going to be seeing a lot more double gun shooters go to.
    - Ivan

  • I'm considering a safari to Zimbabwe with my 18 year old son. I hear different accounts regarding the safety of travelers there. I know several people in our local SCI chapter who have been there with no problems, but your thoughts would be most welcome as I know you hunt there on a regular basis. Help me convince his mom!
    - Chuck W., Memphis, TN

    It is a good question and one with an easy answer. While Zimbabwe has more than it’s share of political issues and problems, the government is still exceedingly protective of the safari business because of the huge amount of currency it brings into the country. Any reputable safari operator will have people on the ground to safely steer their client through all arrival to departure issues. As in any country, there is crime, but the vast majority is in urban areas. Put your self in the hands of a good operator and you will have no problems. Zimbabwe is a wonderful destination and you should plan your safari with confidence. Tell mom Ivan said ‘no worries.'
    Here’s wishing you and your son a great adventure!
    - Ivan

  • I've been bitten by the elephant bug pretty bad. I've taken a couple of buffalo, and being around elephants on those hunts makes me want book a hunt within the next two years. I'm thinking about buying a reasonably priced double gun. What do you shoot? What do you recommend for a person looking for their first and last double rifle?
    - Gerald P., T.R.C NM

    Welcome to the brotherhood of elephant hunters! As you know, elephants are my favorite animal on the planet to both hunt, and simply enjoy being close to. A double rifle is both a pleasure to own and a very practical choice when hunting elephant. My personal doubles are both made by Heym, and are the.450 3\4 and a .600 NE. The .600 is my stopper and probably more gun than most men need or want in the role of a client. My .4503\4 is a joy to shoot, very accurate, and has minimal recoil. A great choice, as is the very popular .470. All will do the job and provide a lifetime of fun and dependability.

    You do not need to break the bank on a double gun, so enjoy the search and your new ‘two pipe.' Keep the wind in your face!
    - Ivan

  • I booked my first Cape Buffalo hunt in Mozambique for 2013. I am considering both the .375 and .416 as caliber choices. Do you lean towards one over the other?
    - Craig A. Richmond, VA

    Both are perfect for buffalo and either are excellent choices for the longer shots Mozambique can offer at times. The .375 is such a popular caliber, and for many reasons. It has taken more big game in Africa over the years than all the rest combined. It shoots a 300 grain bullet and has wonderful penetration. The recoil is slightly less than the .416, if that’s an issue. Not a STOPPER rifle in my opinion, but plenty of rifle for even the toughest Dagga Boy provided the shot is well placed. If recoil is not an issue, I do like the extra punch and bullet weight of the various .416s. I've seen a lot of buff taken with both, and there is no doubt the larger WHUMP of the .416 makes a difference. Also, if bull elephant are in your future plans, I would step up to the .416.

    Really a can’t lose choice for you Craig. Both come in several action types, offer a large choice in bullets, making both solid choices for you. Try to shoot each and buy the one that "speaks to you!"
    - Ivan

  • Our entire family enjoys your show, in fact, Tracks Across Africa is a must-watch every Sunday. Hunting with the camera over your shoulder must be difficult, especially on hunts for dangerous game. What's the toughest part of filming game from your point of view?
    - David W., Atlanta,GA

    Well, the camera can be a pain from time to time no doubt, but without it, we could not share our passion with the people at home, so it is just part of the process. I will say this, it’s the guys behind the camera that make it easier for me. Our Tracks camera team members are fearless, artistic, skillful, and experienced hunters and bushmen in their own right. They are a huge part of what we do!

    The cameras themselves cause an endless deal of pain. Africa is very tough on cameras, and we go through these things at a shocking rate. A camera meltdown during a hunt is a problem, as repair is impossible from the bush. Back up cameras are a necessity. Another problem I face is making sure both the hunter, and cameraman are both on the same animal and have as clear a view as possible. Very difficult at times. But when it all works, it is a very satisfying feeling, as we know it will be enjoyed by our friends each week on Outdoor Channel!
    - Ivan

  • In your DVDs and TV series, I notice you hunt a lot of tuskless elephants in Zimbabwe. It looks like a very exciting hunt and I am considering doing it myself. Are any part of these animals legal to import into the states?
    - Warren L., Miami, FL

    Yes, any part of these tuskless elephants can be legally imported into the states. Tails, feet, skin panels are all nice by-products of the hunt, and can be used to make many attractive trophies to remember your adventure by. Elephant leather is some of the toughest on the planet. These hunts are primarily in the Zambezi Valley area and one of the most exciting in all of Africa. Do the hunt – you will enjoy it!
    - Ivan

  • I'm going to attend the Dallas Safari Club convention next January with the goal of booking my first Cape Buffalo hunt. I've narrowed my choices down to two operators, both in the lower Zambezi. My question is “Which is the best option, early in the season or later? I have seen both on TV, but would love to get your two cents worth.
    - Mike F. Houston, TX

    You will enjoy a buff hunt no matter when you go, but here are a couple of thoughts to consider. Early season there (April thru mid June) finds the buff in big breeding herds. This means bulls will be present, but so will more eyes, ears, and noses. The bush will be very thick and this makes it tough to scan the herd at times. Lions also tend to follow big herds, making the buffalo even more spooky. The tracking is easier however, and you will contact buff each day in this area.

    From mid June to late September the bulls tend to pull away from these herds and form small bachelor groups. This is a great time to track these old ‘Dagga Boys.’

    Water is drying up, making water pans good spots to find spoor that you will follow. The weather is best, or coolest at least, making a long track a bit more fun to follow. The bush has thinned by mid June in most cases, making visibility better. Mike, I love hunting old bulls, so with that said, my personal favorite time is late July and August. But in this area, you should get a nice bull whichever time you book.
    - Ivan

  • My wife will be joining me on her first safari in Namibia next year. We have a 10 day plains game hunt booked. She is new to hunting, but shoots my Ruger 7mm well. Is this enough gun for this safari? Her largest game will be a zebra. - Ronald F., West Monroe, LA

    In short, you bet! The 7mm’s are perfect for this type of hunt. I do recommend that you use a heavy for caliber bullet, and buy the best premium soft point you can get your hands on. Zebra in particular are tough animals, so shot placement is critical. On our safariclassics.com site you will find a DVD titled ‘The Perfect Shot’ that would be a real good investment for your wife, as it points out the various shot locations on most of Africa’s game. Make sure she practices off shooting sticks too, as they are a reality on safari and take some getting used to. But she will do just fine with your 7mm. Good hunting!
    - Ivan

  • I'm a big fan of your show and your presence on Tracks Across Africa has been a refreshing change to my favorite show. My question is “where do you go if a leopard is your primary goal?” Tanzania is out of my budget, so I'm considering Zimbabwe and Zambia. Your input would be appreciated.
    - Paul J., Cleveland, OH

    I would take a real close look at Zimbabwe, especially along the Zambezi Valley. Zambia has good cat hunting places, but is far more expensive than Zim. I have hunted extensively with Chifuti Safaris in their Chewore concessions and had wonderful success. The hunts there are classic baited hunts, and they happen in daylight since the use of torches is illegal in this area. The success is over 90% on Chifuti’s leopard hunts and multiple cats on bait is common. Hunting a leopard is one of my favorite hunts, but pack some patience in with your gear, as it can take time. Best of luck on Mr. Spots!
    - Ivan

  • I'm planning an elephant hunt in Zimbabwe in 2013. I've heard that the use of even the best premium soft points is to be avoided in favor of solids. Can you weigh in on this? I want to start shooting my new .470 Heym as soon as possible, but with the same load I will be hunting with.
    - Dan P. Austin, TX

    Elephant hunting is a game for solids only, and for good reason. The penetration necessary to reach the vitals, both brain shots as well as heart \ lung shots, is beyond even the best premium soft point ammo’s capabilities. There are a lot of great solids on the market for your .470. I shoot Hornady DGS and have put my life in the hands of this bullet many, many times. Best of luck on your first elephant safari!
    - Ivan