The proposed bounty program for killing tagged coyotes which was previously passed by the House has been defeated by the Senate budget-writing panel. Critics of the program cited safety concerns, and said the money should be spent elsewhere.

Sen. Nikki Setzler (D-Lexington) said the state would spend a minimum of $12,000 on the coyote bounty program, and she said with South Carolina’s underfunded education, local governments, and poor road conditions, that money could be spent on those needs instead.

The proposal called for the SCDNR to capture at least a dozen coyotes, neuter and tag them, then release them back into the wild in various places across the state. Each tagged coyote would carry a bounty of $1000. This would encourage some hunters who don’t normally shoot coyotes, which are considered a nuisance animal, into pulling the trigger with the hopes of pocketing a thousand bucks.

The bottom line for Setzler, he said, is that the state has higher priorities than paying hunters to shoot coyotes, especially when they can shoot them voluntarily anyway.

Although this does create a roadblock for the coyote bounty program, it is possible that it will still become law. The same program is also in a standalone proposal that is outside the Senate budget-writing panel’s reach. That proposal has been passed by the House, and is still awaiting a vote from the full Senate.