Could this be the answer to the state’s coyote problem?
South Carolina Sen. Stephen Goldfinch (R-Murrells Inlet) has introduced a bill that he believes will help curb the coyote population in the Palmetto State. Or at least give hunters an incentive to kill as many as possible. His proposal calls for the state to pay out a $75 bounty on coyotes. Hunters would collect that fee for each coyote they kill. The money would be generated by a $1 hike in S.C. hunting license fees.
“I think it’s time for hunters and other sportsmen to go to war with coyotes. There has to be some incentive to keep them engaged,” he said.
According to SCDNR estimates, S.C. hunters kill about 25,000 coyotes each year. About 350,000 coyotes live in the state, and each female produces up to six pups each year. The animals are found in all 46 counties across the state. According to SCDNR studies, they kill a large number of deer fawns every year. They also kill turkeys and other game animals.
But the deer population isn’t the only reason Goldfinch introduced this bill. He said his constituents along coastal communities see coyotes as a costly nuisance. And a threat to pets.
SCDNR officials, other organizations are studying the proposal
David Strickland, a spokesman for Carolina Wildlife Syndicate, which advocates for public land hunting, agrees that coyotes are out of hand. But he believes in some limits to killing them.
“I support any stance that takes aggressive measures, not including poison, to control the population densities of the coyote,” Strickland said.
The SCDNR has loosened restrictions on coyotes to the point that hunters can kill them any time of year. And any time of day or night. And with few weapons restrictions. They’ve tried incentive programs themselves, including tagging, releasing, and awarding a lifetime license to hunters that kill any of those coyotes. So far, hunters have turned in 20 of the tagged creatures.
According to SCDNR spokesman Robert McCullough, the agency is studying Goldfinch’s proposed bill. So far, he said, they aren’t ready to comment on it.
Click here to read about the first hunter to win a South Carolina lifetime hunting license for killing a tagged coyote.