VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – The soon-to-be Candywood Whitetail Ranch is one step closer to opening after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources granted the property owners a permit to operate as a hunting reserve.
The former golf course on Scoville-North Road in Vienna passed multiple requirements from ODNR’s standpoint, including meeting the requirements for fencing and signage around the area designated as a “licensed hunting preserve.”
A spokesperson with the agency told WKBN that after several on-site visits and careful review of the application, Candywood met all of the legal requirements.
The owners of Candywood plan to turn the land into hunting grounds for animals like deer and elk.
Animal advocate Holly Justice said she was disappointed by the news. Justice had a rally planned April 4 against turning the former golf course into a hunting preserve.
“Well, obviously we were disheartened and frustrated by the news, but we kind of anticipated it was gonna happen, so it wasn’t a surprise for everyone involved,” she said. “Right now, we’re looking at our options as to what we do next.”
Others who live nearby said they aren’t opposed to the idea.
“We really didn’t want multiple housing or light industry over there, and those seem to be the only alternatives for a piece of property that big,” a neighbor said.
Now, the property has to get approval from the Department of Agriculture before it can open for business.
According to ODNR, there are currently a total of nine licensed, private hunting preserves in Ohio.