When you hear the name Carson Wentz, you probably think about football. After all, Wentz, after a standout high-school career at Bismark Century in North Dakota, attended North Dakota State, where he led the Bison to FCS National Championships in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, he was selected as the number two overall draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. Last year, Wentz led his Eagles to an 11-2 start before suffering a season-ending ACL injury on December 10. Up until the injury, Wentz’s 33 touchdown passes, 3,296 passing yards and 60.2 percent completion rate had him in the MVP mix.
Wentz also participates in another fall activity — bowhunting. He and his brother, Zach, share their passion for the outdoors and their faith in Christ through the Wentz Bros Outdoors digital original series with Outdoor Channel. And, after I reached out to the Wentz brothers, Carson agreed to an interview with Bowhunting World.
“Zach found bowhunting,” Carson said. “He kinda convinced me to get into it. I was very leery at first. I’ve never been the most patient guy in the world. We did grow up hunting, but it was rifle hunting for deer, and it only took up a couple weekends. Honestly, I didn’t love it. I was always busy playing sports and was fine with rifle hunting taking up such a small part of my time. Honestly, I would have rather gone to the park and tossed around the football.
“When college came around, I went pheasant hunting with my one of my best friends. He had an incredible chocolate Lab, and it was amazing. I was having the time of my life. There were birds everywhere. I don’t think I shot a bird that day, but I was hooked. I got a shotgun and started shooting clays. I swear that first time out I was like two for 70. I was awful. I also got a Golden Retriever and trained the dog to hunt. I was going all in. I started duck and goose hunting, and I just loved it. I was obsessed with it.
“During my junior year of college, my brother started bowhunting. I didn’t have much desire to go sit in a tree, but I did get a bow and start shooting. What I quickly discovered was how fun it was. Even if I wasn’t going to hunt with it, it was a blast just to go out and shoot targets. I kept shooting, and during my senior year I ended up shooting a doe with my bow. That was it. There was nothing like it. I had zero desire to hunt with a rifle any longer. I was hooked.
“I’ve been bowhunting for about the past three years now, and we’ve been fortunate enough to get some land just outside of Philly. We do the food plots, the management, the whole nine yards. We are running the trail cameras. It’s just a whole other level of excitement and enjoyment.”
It’s hard enough for most working bowhunters to find time to get out into the woods. So how does a top-tier NFL quarterback manage to balance a challenging fall schedule with his love for the outdoors?
“It’s tough,” Carson acknowledged. “But I’m a busy guy. I like to stay busy. Bowhunting in the fall is actually perfect because you just grind all week. If you don’t have something that breaks it up before going to the next week, it can become mentally exhausting. So, every off day that we have, which is usually Monday, I’m in a treestand or a ground blind. I need a few hours in the morning away from football, away from everything. Obviously, there is a lot of demand playing in the NFL, but also being a quarterback for a team like this in this city. There is just a lot of pressure, a lot of bright lights, a lot going on. Just getting out in the woods, being around animals and having my brother in the same tree right above me filming is literally the perfect escape for me.”
Carson Wentz also makes the most of the off-season.
“Spring is a great time for me to get into the woods,” he said. “Last year, Zach and I went to New Zealand with Sitka Gear, which was just crazy. This year we were supposed to go to Hawaii to hunt, but my rehab put the quash on that. We’ve stuck to more snow goose hunting, which doesn’t break my heart.”
First Bow Buck
Carson’s dedication to getting out as much as possible paid off last year when he took his first-ever whitetail buck with a bow.
“It was during our bye week, which happened early in the season,” he said. “We were bowhunting the farm of one of my dad’s good friends. The owner told us he had some good bucks on the property, but being I only had two days to get it done, I wasn’t about to be picky.
“We were situated over a food plot, and this nice 8-pointer came out. I decided it was a good buck for my first archery buck. I shot him with Zach running the camera, which was cool. We actually just purchased this $800 Sony camera on the way down to the hunt and decided we would film it. Now, of course, we are learning all about video cameras. The adrenaline of that buck coming in was just awesome, and he died within sight. That harvest is what really kicked off Wentz Bros Outdoors.”
When it comes to extreme hunts, Carson Wentz was quick to describe his New Zealand adventure as “epic.”
“We arrived 36 hours late, but it didn’t take us long to find a couple of tahr on the lower portion of this mountain,” he recalled. “Being late, we were scrambling. We hadn’t even gone to the cabin yet. In fact, we were scrambling to get our gear together.
“This mountain kicked our butt. I quickly figured out I was in a different kind of shape. Zach was right behind me with the video camera, and I was trying to keep pace with our guide, who was just crushing it up the side of this mountain.
“We ended up chasing these tahr for quite a while, but we were finally able to get within 40 yards. We came up over this ridge, and I let one fly on a really nice, mature animal. The hit looked good. In fact, I thought I drilled him. We did track him for a while that night, but found minimal blood and weren’t able to recover him that evening. I was freaking out. I was sure I’d screwed up.
“The next morning, we found only a little bit of blood, but by the grace of God, we were able to come across him (photo below). There was no way we should have found this animal, but we did, and it was the perfect ending to this very cool spot-and-stalk hunt.”
“Zach went after one with a bow as well,” Carson continued, “and we got 10 yards away from a tahr, but he was on the other side of some brush and we weren’t able to get a shot. It was still so sick — just being that close to that cool of an animal. Zach ended up killing a nice tahr with a rifle later that day.”
Carson was excited to tell me more about his plans to continue filming adventures with Zach and expanding Wentz Bros Outdoors.
“Zach and I are wired the same,” he said. “When we do something, we want to do it well. That’s just our mentality. Our goal is branding it and letting it grow. We want to continue to get eyeballs on it and find a few more sponsors like Sitka and Bowtech.
“Also, it gives people a chance to really see who I am. All I’m ever associated with is football, but this lets people see the personal side of me. Just me interacting with my brother and my buddies. I just want to be authentic and point people to Jesus.”
Football vs. Bowhunting
Carson Wentz finds a great deal of similarities between football and bowhunting.
“They both take patience. Having to learn how to miss was big. I missed a turkey last year with a bow, and that had me flustered. But just like in football, when you make a bad play, you just gotta keep going. Football and bowhunting require a lot of planning, and I love that. That’s just how my brain works. I’m always trying to think of a better or new way to do something. Honestly, though, I don’t try to compare the two very much. Bowhunting is my escape and release away from football. Hunting is one of the only things that gives me that adrenaline rush I get on the football field.
“I just love getting the chance to spend so much time with my brother. I think it’s just such a cool thing. We’ve been through a lot together. He’s three years older than me, and he went to North Dakota State and played baseball. He was such a good athlete, and whether he knows it or not, he always set the bar pretty high. He has always been a role model for me, and now we get to take that relationship into the woods, and I can’t think of many things more special than that.”
Carson Wentz has been rehabbing his injury and looking forward to regaining his starting role with the Philadelphia Eagles. At the time of the interview, he was already walking fast, almost at a jog, and working daily to get back to full strength. Of course, he has few spring turkey dreams to go after, and you can follow his quest by watching the Wentz Bros Outdoors digital original series with Outdoor Channel.