FARGO — The first shows of Wentz Bros Outdoors mostly consisted of Zach Wentz taking a camera and filming whatever he and his brother, Carson Wentz, were hunting. Zach Wentz, after all, went to North Dakota State to play baseball and become a high school teacher, not to try and hit the streets of Hollywood.
The charm of the shows was in the Wentz brother’s fledgling ability to take a hunt and put it into a 10- to 15-minute video that showed the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback doing something other than his day job in the NFL. Carson went from being a backup at NDSU for two years, to leading the Bison to two FCS national championships and now asserting himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
The outdoors show is also ramping up.
“We’ve slowly evolved,” Zach Wentz said.
It’s evolved now to the point the Wentz’s hired a full-time producer in Kyle Scott. And it’s also evolved to a one-hour special on Monday at 7 p.m. on the Outdoor Channel, a compilation of the best of Season 2. Season 3 consisting of 12 episodes begins in September and will mostly be found on the traditional social media platforms of YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, IGTV and WentzOutdoors.com.
The brothers first met Scott when he was hired to film the wedding of Carson and Maddie Wentz. Then they got to talking about the outdoors show, with Scott having produced other outdoors shows since 2015.
The marriage of Carson and Maddie turned into a marriage of Scott with Wentz Bros Outdoors.
“It’s as good as I could have hoped for,” Scott said. “They are as good of people as you’ll find anywhere. They’ve become good friends in the process and it’s awesome working with two of my best friends now.”
The current season has shows ranging from hunting deer near the ocean in Hawaii to the traditional bird hunts in North Dakota. Carson Wentz harvested a buck in Hawaii with a bow that on the show touts it as the seventh buck ever taken in that area in 19 years. Zach Wentz got one with a shot from about 60 yards. North Dakota shows included a walleye expedition to Lake Sakakawea that ended with Carson being part of a losing team in a contest with Zach and a snow geese and duck hunt that happened during an NFL bye week in the fall.
“Back to our North Dakota roots,” Zach Wentz said. “We’ve slowly learned on the water fowl scene that no matter where we travel, some weeks in North Dakota are about as world-class as you can get. If anything, we’ve realized how spoiled we were growing up there.”
With Scott on board doing the leg and camera work, Zach Wentz says hunting has become more enjoyable as opposed to worrying about camera angles and sound. He also did all the editing and production.
“Now someone else creates it into stories,” he said.
Those stories are a what-you-see, what-you-get proposition. Not all of them are successful and the Wentz’s want people to see that failure is part of the deal in hunting. For instance, Scott and Zach Wentz did a moose hunt in Canada that didn’t pan out.
“Most hunting TV shows and stories involve a culmination of stories from a great hunt or a big kill or a finality to it,” Zach Wentz said. “A couple of times this year we had great content but it wasn’t successful and that’s life. The more I do it, the more people know that happens. We spend a lot of time and energy and travel and if it’s unsuccessful, that’s life.”
The 12 episodes this year are basically broken down to six big game shows and six waterfowl or pheasant clips. One has Carson on a hunt in west Texas. The COVID-19 epidemic was an interruption but the shows for the most part still went on.
“It’s always a learning curve to get to know Carson and Zach as on-air personalities,” Scott said. “Everyone is different. As a producer, my job is to pick up on their tendencies, the direction they’re wanting to go and try to head them in that direction. The first year was a little bit of a learning curve — how they are as hosts, how they are on camera and be strategic about how we produce each segment.”
In addition to the video side, Scott also takes care of Wentz hunting property in Texas.
“We were looking for something more consistent,” Zach Wentz said of the shows, “and we found a guy we can trust.”