Carson Wentz returned to North Dakota during the bye week for the first time since he became a national sensation while leading the Eagles to a 3-0 start to the season. He went hunting, spent time with friends and family, and attended North Dakota State's homecoming.

When he looked around the Fargodome, he noticed something different in the place he called home for the last five years.

"I've seen more Eagles jerseys in the crowd than I ever have," Wentz said.

Welcome to 2016, Carson.

The Eagles quarterback said it was "pretty much the same" being back in North Dakota, although he acknowledged that "people are aware of what's happening." He was happy to see friends and family and experience a Bison win. But the highlight of his bye week had nothing to do with football.

"Definitely going hunting," Wentz said. "My brother was with me, getting that buck with a bow, doing that, seeing some family and friends."

Wentz shot a buck with a crossbow - his first "bow buck," which he immortalized on social media. He returned to Philadelphia focused on Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions and trying to heed coach Doug Pederson's message of resisting all the praise that came during the bye week.

"I think everyone back home is excited about the success of myself, the Eagles, the Bison," Wentz said. "Everyone back there supports the heck out of me. . . . It was all really good. I'm very cautious about taking too much praise. It's only three games and we have a long way to go."

Wentz admitted that he had had enough of the downtime by the end of the week. He has programmed himself to operate on a quarterback's schedule. Pederson saw him in the team facility in the 5 a.m. hour Wednesday. He's back to his weekly schedule. So while the week back home was nice - it was his first time back in North Dakota since arriving for training camp - he is where he wants to be.

"We had that bye week, renew our mind, get away from the game, see some friends and family," Wentz said. "But toward the end of the week, I was champing at the bit to get back here. I was ready to go, and for me, once we're here and we're in football mood, it's really easy for me to be locked in."

When asked how Wentz has handled the week away, Pederson said, "We'll find out." He said it would be apparent during the week of practice and against the Lions.

Safety Malcolm Jenkins lauded Wentz for his approach, saying that the rookie hasn't bought into the "Wentz Wagon."

It has been a month since the Eagles promoted Wentz to starter. On Sept. 4, Wentz was hunting geese in New Jersey when the call came from Pederson informing him of the Sam Bradford trade. On Oct. 5, Wentz was preparing for his fourth game as a starter - and he still has not experienced a loss.

"It's been pretty fun," Wentz said. "I'm playing ball, I'm out there with these guys, I just love every part of this game - the preparation, coming in here, and being around these guys. There's not many things I'd rather do in the world."

If the Eagles continue on this path, the spotlight will grow even brighter. Neither the Lions nor the Washington Redskins, the Week 6 opponents, have winning records. An Oct. 23 game against Bradford and the undefeated Minnesota Vikings is looming.

In past years, Vikings jerseys would be among the most popular in North Dakota. Wentz witnessed how that's changing. And as he returned from North Dakota, he knows how much more can change by the next time he returns.

"Now it's one of those things that it's 13 straight weeks," Wentz said, "and hopefully more."

zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm