By Chris Potter, Daily Reporter
BELMONT — “They make it look so easy.”
How many people have watched a hunting show and thought some variation of that line?
What doesn’t make it to the screen, though, are countless hours of preparation and pursuit, long stretches of patience-testing inactivity, and maybe a few missed opportunities.
In other words, the typical hunting experience.
It was somewhat fitting, then, that CJ Gantos and Tyler Sutton’s visit to Belmont this week didn’t go exactly as planned. Gantos and Sutton are hosts of Final Draw, a hunting show that will air on the Pursuit Channel and CarbonTV.com this summer.
The show’s stated mission is “To portray the reality of the average American outdoorsman. Our hosts and staff hunters are life-long outdoorsmen and women who truly know what it takes to make a clean kill and put meat in the freezer.”
Part of being an outdoorsman is knowing when to pass up a shot, and that’s what they did this week in Allegany County.
The television show was in town turkey hunting with Belmont native Bob Dewey, who sponsors Final Draw through his deer attractant company, Tingley’s Northland Hunting. After two fruitless days calling for gobblers on several properties around Belmont, the pressure was on Thursday morning.
With a road trip to Ohio looming, Final Draw’s visit to New York was in danger of passing by without any video fit for the show.
“If you don’t have video, you don’t have a show,” Dewey said. “It does happen quite often, not getting anything. Hunting is never a sure thing. It got to the bottom of the ninth inning by Thursday morning.”
The group arose at 4 a.m. and hit the woods one more time before Gantos and Sutton had to depart. Finally, the birds cooperated.
“They got a lot of video. There’s going to be a show, but they chose not to shoot,” Dewey said. “They weren’t mature birds and they figured since the population is down they’d let them grow for another year. They got real neat video, though. It will be on TV.”
New York’s turkey population has declined from its peak of the early to mid-2000s. Dewey speculated the warm temperatures in March might have also added to the challenge of the hunt this year.
“The turkeys just aren’t gobbling so it’s hard to locate them,” he said. “It might be because of the early spring with the lack of winter. Maybe they’re done. We’ve seen a lot of hens out in the fields by themselves. We covered a lot of ground trying to locate turkeys.”
Sutton and Gantos hit Allegany County after North Carolina’s turkey season came to a close. They left Belmont Thursday hoping to get in the woods for a few hours in Ohio, where turkey hunting is open until sunset. The season closes there today.
The whirlwind tour is part of the job for Gantos and Sutton, whose show debuts in July. While the duo travels all over the country on one hunt or another, they were impressed with what Allegany County has to offer.
“They loved it. They’re going to come back and hunt deer with us in the fall,” Dewey said. “They filled up their afternoons with some fishing and stuff.
“It promotes the tourism in Allegany County a little bit. We have such good hunting, fishing and outdoor opportunities that it’s nice to have it go nationally and let the people around the country know where we are and what we’ve got.”
This summer’s episodes will also feature a duck hunt in Niagara County. When the date is finalized, the Sunday Spectator will announce when the show will air the episode featuring Allegany County. Stay tuned.
'Final Draw' films turkey hunt in Allegany County