Last week I talked with Big John Barker and his father about how Big John Outdoors got started and what the future holds for them.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to the founders of Big John Outdoors: John Austin Barker, also known as Big John Barker, and his father (who is also named John). Big John Barker became famous several years ago when his father filmed a heartwarming video of him finding a doe he shot in Louisiana that went viral.
After the unexpected success of the video, Big John’s father (who will be referred to simply as John Barker for the rest of the interview) founded Big John Outdoors. Since then, Big John Barker has been on several hunting adventures all over the United States with even more planned for the future. Last week, we talked about the humble beginnings of Big John Outdoors and what the future holds for Big John Barker.
Does everyone in the Barker family hunt?
Big John Barker: “Yes, everybody.”
I’ve seen the videos of you two hunting, and your brother, sister and grandpa as well. Does mom hunt too?
John Barker: “Mom dabbles in it, but I wouldn’t call her a dedicated hunter. One thing that she does, she is a fine cook and she loves to prepare what we bring in and put on the table, so that’s a pretty good contribution.”
So what would you say that your favorite meal of wild game that she cooks for you?
Big John Barker: “Deer.”
John Barker: “We’re a big fan of homemade biscuits with fresh backstrap. As soon as the deer is cleaned, we usually pull tenderloins out and cut them up. She fries them with a plate of fresh biscuits, and that’s hard to beat.”
How did you guys get started hunting?
John Barker: “My dad started taking me when I was four years old, just as soon as I was old enough to go he started taking me. I remember hunting on cold rainy days. I wanted my kids to go hunting with me, and I remember when John Austin was born in 1994 and we realized the issues the he had, I very distinctly remember praying that no matter what happened, that he would be capable of going hunting with me.
Little did I know that things would turn out they way they did. As it turns out, I always wanted him to go with me, but now I’m going with him! He’s taking me places these days!”
What was your most favorite hunt ever?
Big John Barker: “The one in Texas.”
Can you tell me a little about the hunt and why you liked it so much?
Big John Barker: “I killed one.”
John Barker: (laughter) “That always makes for a good hunt. He missed out on a big buck that was probably every bit of 22 inches one evening. But the next day he took a very nice 8-point buck out near Sterling City, Texas. This was a late season hunt, just a couple of months ago.”
How old were you when you shot your first deer?
Big John Barker: “12 years old.”
Was that the famous video of you finding the deer?
Big John Barker: “No sir, it was not. My first deer was a small buck.”
How many deer have you shot? Bucks? Does?
Big John Barker: “6 deer, 3 does and 3 bucks. And 1 oryx.”
Wow, where did you shoot the oryx? Texas or New Mexico?
Big John Barker: “Cisco, Texas, Three Nails Ranch.”
John Barker: “Last year we gave a little presentation about Big John and ourselves at an outdoor expo close to where we live in Louisiana. When we got finished with our presentation, they presented him with a 3-day oryx hunt at Three Nails Ranch out in Cisco, Texas.”
Awesome! So, what weapon do you like to hunt with more: your rifle or crossbow?
Big John Barker: “My crossbow.”
John Barker: “They recently changed the law in Louisiana and now anyone can use a crossbow during the general and archery only deer seasons. He has trouble handling a regular bow, but the crossbow is just about perfect for him, since it’s so similar to a rifle to operate.”
Can you tell me a little bit about Big John Outdoors, and what your goals are for the coming months and years?
John Barker: “It’s something that slowly developed as a way for people to keep up with him. I started the Big John Outdoors Facebook page as we were preparing to go on the hunt with the Drurys. Almost immediately, we started getting messages from people through Facebook saying that they wanted to see more from Big John because they enjoy the genuine happiness and passion that they see in the videos about him.
I’m somewhat technically inclined, so I started making videos about him. The idea is to keep making quality, enjoyable videos of us hunting as a family and see where it goes. I get all my enjoyment out of following Big John around and making videos of him hunting.”
What is the next big hunt you guys have got planned?
John Barker: “This September we’re going on a pronghorn hunt in Wyoming. Then in October were going out to Sterling City, Texas to hunt deer with the Texas Trophy Hunter Association on the Outdoor Channel. Then next spring we’re going out to the same general area to go after Rio Grande Turkey and hopefully get Big John his first turkey ever.”
Be sure to keep up with Big John Barker and see how things are going on his hunting adventures!
Like what you see here? You can read more great hunting articles by John McAdams at The Big Game Hunting Blog. Follow him on Twitter @TheBigGameHunt.