by Cody McLaughlin - Tuesday, July 18, 2023
Former NFL quarterback and alum of both the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Commanders Carson Wentz was criticized last week for posting a photo to his Instagram account from the player’s recent black bear hunt in Alaska.
Surrounded by mountains and scenery that only the Last Frontier State can provide, Wentz’s excitement and respect for our mainstream American hunting traditions shone through in his post with a caption that read: “Got the opportunity to spot and stalk black bear in one of our new favorite places on earth—Alaska! Incredible trip and an incredible animal.”
Wentz’s “bucket list” harvest is not the first time he has loudly and proudly shared his love of hunting on social media. As this website reported in 2018, Wentz tweeted a happy birthday post to his dog and hunting companion, Mama Henley, featuring several photos of her with geese—as would be appropriate for a waterfowl hunting dog. Predictably, he immediately received heat from anti-hunting extremists, one of whom replied, “As a friend I wanted to quickly highlight that a man in your influential position might cause offence (sic) through the posting of your first picture [Henley with geese]. I support its sentiment however the context and content of the pic could offend.”
Wentz then gave a now well-known and bold reply, supporting fellow celebrities who hunt and retorting, “Appreciate that, but offensive and controversial? Two of the main things I tweet about are Jesus and hunting. That’s what I’m passionate about and that won’t ever change.” Further making his point, he added, “When you love something, you talk about it! Stay convicted about it and don’t worry what others think!” Wentz’s response was re-tweeted thousands of times and garnered nearly 30,000 “likes.”
Though keyboard warriors from the rabid, anti-hunting extremist crowd have called Wentz’s latest post regarding his recent bear hunt everything from “barbaric nonsense” to “pathetic,” Wentz is in good company as a black bear hunter in the 49th state.
According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s publicly available black bear species profile, “There are an estimated 100,000 black bears in the state of Alaska. Status and trends vary from region to region, and some highlights are provided. Information collected from hunters and harvested bears provides valuable insights into bear status and trends in Alaska.”
In fact, Alaska’s northern Kuiu Island in southern Southeast Alaska boasts among the highest black bear densities known, with a whopping 1,019 bears with a density of 1.51 bears/km2. And black bear populations on the mainland are, according to the science, remaining stable. While, according to the most recent science, hunters harvested an average of 97 bears per year in 2004-2006—a 13 percent decrease over the average harvest of 111 during the previous three-year reporting period—skull size, stability and age structure of harvests indicates that the black bear population may not have changed significantly.
In fact, harvest limits are so liberal for Alaska’s flourishing black bear population that some areas allow up to a whopping five black bears per regulatory year. I myself harvested a bruin in Alaska just a week before Wentz, days before the 2022-2023 tags expired and baiting in my area closed. I was in the stand a total of an hour before my black bear waddled out and I dropped it.
One thing is clear: Wentz seems to have no plans to kowtow to anti-hunting extremists. Good for him. Even better that he was blessed with what looks like a bear with some solid cinnamon coloring. Hopefully some footage makes it onto the Wentz Brothers Outdoors YouTube channel so we hunters can check out the ongoing adventures of Carson and his brother, Zach.
About the Author
Cody McLaughlin is a conservationist and conservative thought leader on public policy issues including hunting, fishing, gun rights, free-market tax and wage policy and the environment. He recently launched Trout Stream Studios as an executive producer for podcasts and livestreams in the hunting and veterans’ affairs spaces. He serves as an advertising consultant for conservative political causes, managing clients’ digital communications and online presence, and on the board of the Alaska Outdoor Council, the Last Frontier State’s NRA affiliate.
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