No hunter has completely escaped the recent wave of anti-hunting sentiment, but professional hunter Ivan Carter has received an inordinate amount of hatred.

Carter, an African PH famous for guiding elephant safaris, has posted pro-hunting statuses on his Facebook page several times a day in response to recent criticism of hunting, especially trophy hunting. While some hunters have flaunted their African trophies online to cause an uproar, Carter has relied on facts and figures to show the benefits of hunting on African—and the world’s—game species. 

For instance, Carter posted on August 2 that an average of 9,000 hunters a year visit South Africa and spend an average of $17,000 each—a $153 million a year benefit to wildlife. Comments were expectedly mixed, with some saying Carter implied hunting was the only way wildlife could be benefitted.

One commenter’s reply asked what tourism did for South Africa. Many opposed to hunting believe ecotourism and photo safaris would bring in as much money or more than hunting, making the killing of animals unnecessary and obsolete.

So Carter responded with the ultimate challenge to anti-hunters: he offered them their chance.

Carter posted a status update August 6 offering to take anyone interested on a safari for Cape buffalo, complete with the up-close stalks that hunters routinely make. The participants would close to within ethical shooting distances, set up, and “shoot” a buffalo—with a camera.

In return, they would pay the same amount a hunter would expect for a similar hunt: $3,000 for the trophy fee, roughly $1,250 per day for the actual trip, plus the anti-poaching and community fees that are required.

In total, the photo safari would cost between $20,000 and $25,000.

Whether anyone will take Carter up on his offer is unknown, but the gauntlet has been thrown.

Hunters jump at the opportunity to hunt with Carter, who has hosted African television shows such as Dallas Safari Club’s Tracks Across Africa and Hornady’s Africa, but those who don’t hunt might not recognize the PH. Carter was born in Southern Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe) and began his guiding career as a photo safari guide for elephants. He studied their behavior and completed his PH training to become one of the foremost experts on elephant hunting.

He holds guiding licenses in several African countries and spends an average of 200 days a year in the field.


Cover image: Ivan Carter


– Taylor J. Pardue