Topic Archives > Member Interviews

Peter C Iacavazzi


Real Name: Peter C Iacavazzi
TG handle:Peter C Iacavazzi
Home State:Montana
TradGang member number:5256

(TG)- Tell us about yourself. I live in Bozeman, Montana.

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- I could tell you alot about myself but the most important thing to know is this...I'm a father and that's the best job ever!

(TG)- What do you do for a living?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- I own a company called Combative Skills Group LLC. I teach defensive tactics to multiple law enforcement agencies across the nation. I also work with several of our countries elite military fighting forces,
most noteably the US Navy SEAL's and the US Armed Forces Delta Team. I also teach a specialized program for women called "Rape Escape" see  I currently teach the Rape Escape program to multiple high schools across the country but I stay busiest in my home state of Montana. I also co-own a mixed martial arts academy in Bozeman, Montana called Ultimate Martial Arts Academy see  Our academy focuses on all aspects of the combat arts which include striking, grappling and "No Holds Barred" fighting.

(TG)- How long have you been bow hunting with traditional gear?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- Since the fall of 1985

(TG)- Any heroes? Any role models?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- Hmm...My father is probably the one man I admire most in this world. He is a former high school football all american and a college football all american. He played professionally for the New York Jets and recently was inducted into the college football hall of fame. He is an amazing man. But of all his accomplishments he is most proud of being a father. He has always taught me to believe in myself and to never forget the importance of God, family and friends! I am now a father myself and my goal is to be to my son what my father is to me.

(TG)- What got you started bowhunting?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- I started bowhunting when I was around 15 years old. I grew up in the Princeton, NJ area and did not come from a hunting family. In my house you played sports, primarily football and wrestling. I had a little recurve bow when I was a kid and I loved shooting in my backyard. In fact I was pretty tuff on the local squirrel and "tweety" bird population as a young boy. I was always interested in hunting deer so I took my bowhunter saftey class and just went hunting. I had no one to help me but I just loved it. Every saturday in the fall (after my high school football games) I would grab my bow and head out into the woods. I had no idea what I was doing but every so often I'd get lucky and actually kill a deer. Eventually I started to figure the local deer herd out and by my senior year I was pretty tuff on the area whitetails.

(TG)- Who first helped you get involved in traditional bow hunting?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- In the spring of 1985 I flew to Montana to visit my friend Gene Wensel. Gene took me everywhere that week. We went to Kalispell where Gene introduced me to Paul Schafer. "Schaf" and I instantly hit it off and by the days end I was shooting a Schafer Silvertip Recurve! In fact I applied to The University of Montana that fall and Paul Schafer built me my very own Silvertip recurve as a welcome to Montana gift.

(TG)- Do you remember the first animal you took with a traditional bow? Tell us about it!

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- Your gonna love this one! It was November 11th 1985 and I was a freshman at The U. of Montana. My friend Paul Brunner had gotten me permission to hunt a private ranch in archery area 290 along the Black Foot River just outside of Ovando, Montana. He even loaned me a prototype Screaming Eagle stand. I would leave school every Thursday after class and head out to Brunners house where I'd stay and hunt till I had to be in class on Monday morning. Well it was a Saturday morning and with the snow falling I climbed into that little Screaming Eagle stand and as I was climbing up I could hear a buck grunting in the timber behind me. I barely had time to get my bow ready when this big buck followed a doe right under my tree. As he stepped under my stand I drew and shot, next thing I know this huge whitetail is lying under my tree paralized from the back down. I wish I could say I made a great shot but truth is I hit him right in the spine. I was so nervous that I proceeded to shoot every arrow in my quiver at him. After 4 arrows I was empty! Luckily he died quickly and by the time I climbed down I was standing over a 160" class P&Y whitetail. He weighed over 250 lbs and was definitely alot bigger than any deer I had ever killed in NJ. I was so excited that I dragged him the 300 yards to the roadside without ever stopping. Then I got to my truck I realized that I couldn't possibly get him in the truck by myself. This was in 85' so the miracle of cell phones didn't really exsist. Luckily this old Montana rancher happened to drive by. He pulled over and together we loaded this buck into my GMC pick up. He was as excited as me. I'll always remember him reaching into his glove box and offering me a sip of bourbon right there along that old gravel road. That was over 20 years ago and I remember that day and that taste of bourbon as if it was yesterday.

(TG)- Do you prefer a glove or tab?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- I shoot with a glove and a tab over the glove. I shoot 2 fingers under. Its a style I learned from a video called "Dead On Traditional". The video was done by an archer named Scott Antczak and as strange as it was at first once I figured it out I have never shot better

(TG)- Do you have any favorite memories or kills that stand out? Tell us about it!

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- Wow, that's a tuff one. I have alot of memories. I've been very lucky to share many a camp fire with some very special people. I've shared alot of hunts with Paul Schafer, Paul Brunner, Gene and Barrey Wensel, Duane Jessop and my great friend John "Rosey" Roseland. There all my favorite. When I think about some of the best moments of my life they seem to involve a bow and a hunt with friends. As far as a favorite hunt goes? In August of 94' I traveled to the North West Territories to hunt Dall Sheep with Greg Williams of Nahhanni Butte Outfitters. This was a hunt I was originally supposed to do with my friend Paul Schafer several years earlier. Unfortunately my college football schedule prohibited me from going on that hunt. Schaf and I had planned that hunt for several years and I just couldn't get away...I really regret that. Paul died before we could do that hunt together. I always promised myself that I'd go on that hunt and I'd bring Pauls memory with me. Greg arranged for me to come and hunt for as long as I would like. I made plans to stay for a month. Greg sent me into a spot that hadn't been hunted for years and one that he felt had the best rams in his area. He said it would be tuff but that if I was willing to hunt long and hard I'd have a chance at a monster. Well, I killed a monster. I shot a 41" Dall ram at 9 yards with my 80 lb Schafer recurve. After I killed that ram I sent an arrow out over that valley in memory of my friend. You know for just a moment I felt Schafs hand upon my shoulder. I'll never forget that hunt and I'll never forget my friend.

(TG)- Can you tell us a bit about your preferred hunting combo?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- I've been switching back and forth between recurves and longbows for the past 8 years. I love longbows. They're simple, light and smooth. I've been shooting Duane Jessops "Thunderhorns" and Neil Jacobsens "Bears Paws". Both are fantastic bows and I love em'. But truth is I shoot a recurve better. I have always shot Schafer Silvertips both Pauls and Dave Windauers. Lately however I've been shooting a Neil Jacobsen recurve. He and Paul Schafer were great friends and I really think if Schaf were still alive he'd be shooting his bows and Neils. I have been shooting a 82 lb Bears Paw recurve that my friend Rosey Roseland gave me last year. I really love this bow. I can't quite explain it but I just seem to kill alot more with this bow than any other. I shoot carbon arrows. My favorite is the new Beman Max4. Its heavier than most and seems to spine well from my heavy bows. I prefer feathers to vanes and I shoot off of a rest rather than the shelf. My broadhead of choice is a razor sharp 4 blade. I also shoot Wensel Woodsmans and I think they are by far the best 3 blade head in the world. But my favorite broadhead is a 150 grain Magnus Stinger. This past fall several elk and deer and antelope fell to my Bears Paw bow and Stinger head.

(TG)- What is the one piece of advice you would give a new hunter to aid him on his hunting ventures?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- Be willing to learn. And be willing to learn from your mistakes (which we all make alot!) Forget about record books and just hunt. rather than read all the how to articles and watch all the tasteless videos out there, just get out in the woods and hunt! Great hunters are made in the field not in front of the televison.

(TG)- What is your favorite animal to hunt?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- I love em all, but elk are my favorite.

(TG)- Do you have or prefer a certain method of hunting?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- Yes, hunt hard, hunt often, and hunt smart.

(TG)- Does any of your family hunt or fish?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- Not really but my 2 year old already has a bow and a fishing pole!

(TG)- Do you have any bowhunting goals or plans for the immediate future?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- I hope to hunt all over the world and even though I'm not big on records or titles I'd really like to kill the grandslam of sheep. Dall, Rocky Mtn Bighorn, Desert Bighorn and Stone sheep.

(TG)- Where is the one place you would really just love to hunt?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- I'd love to spend a month in Alaska. Africa is high on my list but there is something about the wilds of Alaska that really excites me.

(TG)- Do you primarily hunt private or public ground?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- Here in Montana we have some great public land but more and more I find myself hunting private ground.

(TG)- Do you normally use anything like scent covers or attractants, camo, or calls?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- I'm not big on scents. I think the idea of "Forget the wind just hunt" is stupid!" I never forget the wind, its the one thing that can ruin a hunt quicker than anything. I believe in camo and my favorite is ASAT and Predator. I'm not a big call guy. Years ago you could actually bugle in an  elk in but here in Montana those days are few and far between. Too many guys watch a video and then buy a bugle, cow call and start blowing. They don't realize that those video guys (no names needed) hunt very exclusive private big dollar ranches. The elk they hunt are almost tame or at the very least have no idea what pressure is like. I occasionally will use a cow call but very sparingly and lately not at all.

(TG)- Do you do any small game hunting?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- Here in Montana we have a lil' critter called a Columbia Ground Squirrel. Us Montanians call em' Gophers. They make great target practice and there is never a shortage of them. Ranchers love when you come out to shoot them, however they tend to laugh when they see a wooden bow...they would prefer a 22/250!

(TG)- Tell us what your dream hunt would be.

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- Can I be a little nostalgic? I would like to chase elk one last time with Schaf somewhere up in the Montana wilderness. Thats my dream!

(TG)- You have hunted with the Wensels, Paul Schafer, Paul Brunner. Some of the truly big names of our sport. What is one thing they all have in common?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- Have I hunted with the "big names?" Yes, I have hunted a tremendous amount with all of them. In fact when I was a freshman at the U. of MT Gene Wensel and I used to hunt together quite often at a ranch in the Bitteroot Valley of Montana. In the fall of 89' I lived for several weeks with Barry Wensel in a motel in Glascow, Montana. I was one of the camera men on "High Noon Bucks" and "October Whitetails II". Let me tell haven't lived until you've shared a motel room with a Wensel! They are world class snorers! But also world class friends. I have grown up with the Wensels and have watched all thier children grow up as well. Together we have shared over 21 years of friendship, I have dozens of great hunting stories containing one or more wensel but the stories of friendship far exceed the hunts. Paul Schafer and I shared many hunts. In many ways it was "Schaf" that taught me how to hunt elk. Hmm...It was Schaf that taught me alot of things. I met Paul in the summer of 1985 I was a kid fresh out of high school and Paul was the first man other than my father that I truly idolized. I think the teenager in me saw Paul as a man I wanted to be like. We had so much in common. We both wrestled, played football, lifted weights, hunted and of course we both really loved girls! I mean we really loved girls! Schaf and I spent many nights chasing women as much as elk. Sometimes we even caught a few. Looking back now I realize that Schaf taught me alot about life. I loved the way he looked at life. He was definitely a glass is half full kinda guy. Everytime I did something with Schaf it was like a mini adventure. I could tell you about the night in Kalispell at the Outlaw Inn and me and schaf and way too much Tequilla and a couple of really cute girls...but instead I'll let ya use your imagination. I miss Paul, sometimes I miss him so much it's hurts! As for Brunner. I love that guy! Paul Brunner and I have shared alot as well. In the fall of 1985 he gave me a key to his ranch in Ovando, Montana. He told me to make myself at home and to always feel welcome. During my entire college career I called Brunners place my second home. In fact it was very common for the Wensels, Schaf and I to meet there periodically throughout the hunting season and have group hunts for the numerous whitetails that lived on Brunners ranch. Only thing was every big buck was "Karens" buck. Karen is Brunners very understanding wife. Brunner used to tell us that we could kill any deer we wanted except the really big bucks because he was saving them for Karen. well lets just say that Karen didn't get all the big ones...

What do all these guys have in common? To me they all posess a level of excellence that is rare. They are all amazing hunters, but not just because they hunt great spots. I think more importantly they all set thier sights high and they worked hard at acheieving those hieghts. But the thing they all have in common at least to me is this: They all are my friends, long before they were famous in the hunting world. Long before the books, videos, and legends were created they we just the guys I hung out with. I never saw them as "bigshots" I saw them and got to know them simply as men, and as friends.

(TG)- What is your favorite memory of Paul Schafer?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- What is my favorite memory of Paul Schafer? much time you got? I am fortunate to have so many memories of Schaf that I get to visit them all the time in my heart. But the one that really stands out is this: In the summer of 1986 my father and I went to kalispell to visit Schaf. My dad had yet to meet him. As you probably now know at that time in my life and even today they were the two biggest influences on me as a young man. I remember sitting in the Outlaw Inn in Kalispel over a great steak dinner and ice cold beers as my father and Schaf talked and talked for hours about thier athletic carees. Here I was this teenage boy sitting with his two heros and just having a steak and a beer. It was the first time I felt like a man. My father and Schaf really hit it off that night. I just sat and listened as two very special people in my life shared an evening of great stories. I remember Schaf pulling me aside and telling me what a great man my dad was. I also remember my dad pulling me aside and telling me how happy he was to know that Paul Schafer was one of my role models. That was a great night. God, I wish I could do that again.
When my father learned of Paul Schafers death he wept.

(TG)- Tell us what led you to pen this. -
"...and in the end, when I can no longer draw the bow or watch the arrow embark its flight; When alas, I possess only the spirit of the hunter, I will hunt...if only in my dreams...because the hunt is born amidst my soul, and I... I am the hunter."

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- What led me to pen that? I don't know. One day I was just sitting at my desk drinking a cup of coffee and it just kinda came out. I have had so many people contact me regarding that quote. I'm so deeply flattered. I guess every so often we have thoughts that just need to be written. I'm glad people love that quote and I'm humbled to know that its had such an effect on people.

(TG)- Any other writing you would like to tell us about.

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- Any other writing? Yes, I wrote a story for Traditional Bowhunter Magazine a few years back tilted "A Beautiful Sunset". I'm most proud of that story. Not because I wrote it but because of the impact it has had on so many other people. It was written about a true event and it was written about an experience that really happened. I have recieved so many e-mails and letters from both men and women who have read it and have related to it. Its about how losing the people we love impacts our life. Its about friendship. Its about why we never really let go. Its about why friendship and love are the things that make us who we are. I have found great peace in my memories and great comfort in the relationships I've been fortunate to have. We all get the chance to be a friend and we all share in the sadness of losing someone we love. Its what makes us human. But we also get the chance to remember, its our memories that keep those we've lost alive. And maybe in the end we never really lose them we just get to keep on loving them.

(TG)- What is one thing I haven't asked that you would like for people to know about you?

(Peter C Iacavazzi)- What would I like people to know about me? My dad once told me that it wasn't until I was born did he really know what "unconditional love" really was. I know he's right. I now have a son. He was born on October 21st, 2003. His name is Tanner. I love him so much that everything about my life is better because he's in it. I have always had a strong faith in Christ. But like many of us I have had my moments of doubt. I used to pray that Christ would come to me so that I would know he was real. Anyone else have that prayer? I can say now without doubt that everytime I look into my sons eyes I know that Christ is real! I guess what I want people to know about me is this, I'm a father and at least for me its the one thing I hope to succeed at.



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