Name: Matt Barker
Age: 34
Country: England
Hunting Since: 2000
Preferred hunting type: Deer staking
Choice of weapon: Remington 700 .243

Best hunting experience:
It would have to be my first ever outing deer stalking, stalking fallow deer in East Sussex and that was the day I had my first ever deer, and very heavy bodied pricket fallow and I’ve been hooked on stalking ever since.

More about Matt Barker

I’m going to run through a few things about myself. How I hunt, how I prepare for hunts and a few pointers.

So I began my journey as a hunter around 17 years ago. It wasn’t just a matter of even knowing what I was about to get myself into or just how much I’d love the world of field sports but here goes this is my journey.

17 years ago me and my girlfriend at the time, (now wife) was invited to a friends BBQ, we arrived to find our friends in the garden shooting tin cans with a rifle.

Up until then the only rifles I’d ever shot were the ones at funfairs with bent barrels, you know , the ones that miss everything and you don’t win a single prize and walk away with empty pockets because you tried again again to beat the darn thing.

Anyway there I was a lovely little sub 12 (uk legal limit) spring air rifle and, I loved it!

My friend was going to be buying the rifle which is why he was testing it out. He knew just how much I was hooked right from that moment , how I instantly fell in love with the whole thing, that he passed up the opportunity to buy it himself asked if I wanted to buy it instead.

So I jumped at the chance.

Matt Barker

I was happily shooting away at tins and targets in the garden, until by chance I met a guy at our field where my wife kept her ponies at the time. I saw this silhouette across the fields, this image of a man with rifle I couldn’t help myself, I ran over to find out more of this figure in the distance. I wanted to know where he was off to and what was he was going to be shooting.

He said he was out clearing rabbits off the paddocks next door. He said If I wanted to take things up a gear I should ask the land owner if I could clear the rabbits we had in our very own field. So, that’s exactly what I did. I couldn’t believe it, he said yes. I was so filled with excitement I wanted jump through the air.

Now I know I’d plenty of target shooting under my belt and felt confident enough to start shooting live quarry for the first time. So there it is, that’s how it all began. I’ve never looked back. To be honest I can’t remember what life was like before I became a hunter. All I remember is I grew up in London and once I moved to the countryside, my life changed forever. I’m proud of who I’ve become. My wife and children are too. It’s part of our family life.

So fast forward the journey, which so far, has been incredible. 17 years on I’m sitting here trying to blog, make films on my YouTube channel, reviewing products for some of the biggest brands within the hunting/shooting industry including Deerhunter. How crazy is that!

I’ve been testing Deerhunter clothing for a few months now. I’ve been blown away by how important it is to wear the correct clothing for different styles of hunting from the camouflage pattern clothing to the casual natural coloured clothing and how the style and design/technology that goes into Deerhunter clothing is purely to benefit the hunter. Not only does each piece of clothing have to conceal your presence but it also has to keep you comfortable whether it be keeping you dry, allowing your bodies temperature to breath through the material allowing you to feel comfortable and relaxed in any crucial moments while in the field.

Until I started wearing Deerhunter I honestly didn’t realise just how unhappy I was with what I was wearing. I didn’t realise some of my old clothing was either too hot too cold and there’s nothing worse than clothing sticking to you. This is just of the reasons why I’m so excited and proud actually, to wear Deerhunter for all my hunting.

My main type of hunting I’m focusing on at present is deer stalking.
It started around 18 months back when I got invited out on my first ever stalk. And although I’d Been shooting most quarry for many years this was a big deal for myself at the time, Id been using centrefire rifles for foxing this was another chapter to my hunting life, and my god the experience was and has been my most exciting and memorable hunt to date, we was stalking fallow bucks, and after a good few hours stalking dense woodland and seeing many does and bucks that saw us before we saw them bouncing off through he woods I finally made a sighting of an absolutely cracking pricket buck that had the wind behind him so was totally oblivious that we were 100 yards away and with him already in the sights, I was with a professional deer guide with 35 years of deer stalking behind him and boy the pressure was on and although my heart was nearly jumping out of my chest I composed myself, and just froze, I’d never been in this position before, it was like no hunt I’d ever been on, and in the back of my mind I just knew I couldn’t mess this shot up!

Matt Barker

And then I heard the guide whisper if your ready take the shot, the pricket was standing broadside and still grazing away still unaware we was there, and then i took the shot, the first 5 seconds after felt like a lifetime as the pricket took 5 steps as if nothing had happened, damn, I thought I’d missed, so the next round was in the chamber and then he dropped, no second shot needed and I just looked at the guide who put his arm around me as we both looked on, he asked how many deer I’d had, my reply that’s it, that’s my first ever species of any deer, he was just blown away by how cool, calm and collected I was and To this day I can still remember just how special that moment was to me, and just how important that shot needed to be and just how amazing deer stalking is, and I’ve been managing a couple of my own farms since that day helping with crop protection from roe deer and muntjac. So there we have it, that’s my most memorable hunt, a day that not only gave me my first deer but changed me as a hunter, in so many ways.

That day was not only my most memorable, but also the most challenging.

We had stalked deep into the Forrest, and it was late in the year, so Daylight was fading fast.

Now the hard part! Getting the fallow out of the dense woodlands. The drag uphill was easily the most challenging thing I’ve ever had too do whilst out hunting, baring in mind my adrenaline was still sky high so the first 200 yards uphill felt a breeze, then it hit me. My lungs had nothing left to give and I fell to the ground, with another 500 yards of brutal dragging left to get us back to a safe spot for the quad bike to pick us up I knew I needed to push on. Now I know 500 yards isn’t far, but on a 10% incline with a 75kg fallow and all my kit it was most certainly nearly the death of me. But we made it, we had the most amazing trip, and as I said before, one I’ll never forget.

So on to my kit, I’m a massive fan of the Remington 700 .243 calibre rifle, tipped with the wildcat evolution moderator, and I use 100gr federal premium rounds through it which are extremely accurate and have a good knockdown behind them, and that rifle combined with the Zeiss conquest were just absolutely perfect for the conditions in the woodlands that day, and I still use that very same rifle to this day, just with a different scope, the Leica Magnus which is hands down the best scope I’ve ever used.

I’m also planning on using this rifle on my dream hunting trip too the highlands of Scotland, there’s something extremely magical about stalking in Scotland, the fact it’s part of the United Kingdom and the landscape and scenery there is just breathtaking. And would absolutely love to go hunting stags there some time soon.

How I prepare for a hunt.. with many different hunting types I do from, squirrels to stalking deer I always feel it’s extremely important to prepare yourself for the day ahead, making sure you have the correct kit for that hunt it firstly the most important thing but also making sure the kit you are using is capable of doing the job at hand, so how do I do that? Well firstly I always make sure my rifle and scope are clean, there are no loose parts, and that it’s shooting well, (zeroed). It’s also extremely important to make sure you have any field tools with you that you may need, ie knife, gloves, torch, clean water, first aid kit, and adequate equipment if out stalking deer, or a decent game bag for the smaller quarry, it’s important to always check and keep and kit clean and well maintained, as these two vitals will ensure your tools will do the job they are needed to do.

And if you are only just getting into hunting my main advice would be to fully understand the ground you are hunting on. Make sure you know if there are public footpaths that run through the land, make sure you have plenty of time down the range or somewhere with a safe backdrop to get plenty of practice before you start taking aim at live quarry, and most importantly get permission to shoot on land and get insurance.

I’ve taken many new hunters out with me, some guys who have been target shooting for a few years and it’s most important that you know the boundaries of the rifle you choose for each hunt.

Just remember that all rifles serve their own purpose and although certain rifles are capable of doing the same job, ie air rifles for pigeon, squirrels and rabbits, rimfire can also do the same job as an air rifle yet can't be shot directly into treetops as an air rifle could be so it’s all ground level hunting with a rimfire, and the same goes for centre fire rifles, they can be used for many different quarry but fox and deer seem to be the most common practice as long as the Calibre above the legal cal in the uk for deer.

But with all rifles, whether air, rim or centre fire rifles they are all considered as a firearm and can cause serious injury and even death, so safety is paramount and as said before, you need to know the land you hunt on before even thinking of taking a rifle of any kind out hunting.

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