For a mere $1,800 to $14,500 you can shoot a whitetail deer at the Candywood Whitetail Ranch in Vienna, Ohio – formerly known as the Candywood Golf Course.

Candywood – not to be confused with Bushwood of Caddyshack fame – also proposes to offer sheep, boars, bison and other various “game.”

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Local residents are not amused.  While bookings are currently being taken for “hunts,” the community is complaining that the “ranch” was approved quietly and without public knowledge or consent.

“This is basically a carnival shooting gallery with live animals. That’s basically what it is,” said Vienna resident Jon Aiken. 

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says the property has been inspected and meets state criteria.

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Nearby Indiana just passed a law (Senate Bill 109) that affirms the “captive hunting industry” after a 10-year legal battle. Many wildlife and hunting groups opposed the bill, which treats farm-raised deer as livestock.  If it’s any indication, one provision of the bill says no animal can be “hunted” within 24 hours of being sedated. That’s comforting.

Paying money to shoot domestically raised animals – canned hunts — continues to generate controversy – unpopular with hunters, conservationists, the humane society, animal rights activists and just about everybody.

Canned hunting has been banned or restricted in 20 states, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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Hunting groups such as the Pope and Young Club and the Boone and Crockett Club do not accept animals killed in canned hunts for inclusion in their record books. Boone and Crockett Club refers to the activity as a “canned shoot”, as there is no hunting involved.

However Safari Club International accepts animals killed in canned hunts for inclusion in its record books as well as in its award categories.

© Paul Farnfield | – Red Deer Stags