Bill aims to curb coyote population in South Carolina

Bill aims to curb coyote population in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Coyotes, you may have seen them in the woods, on the farm, or maybe even in your own neighborhood.

One South Carolina lawmaker wants to keep them at bay.

Senator Stephen Goldfinch (R-Georgetown) said its time to fight back against the invasive species. “They’re bad for our environment. They’re bad for our pets. They’re dangerous for our kids.”

Sen. Goldfinch introduced a bill that would establish a coyote bounty program. The state would pay licensed hunters $75 for every adult coyote they lawfully remove.

A one dollar increase to state licenses will fund that program. The bill also aims to allow coyote trapping year round.

“I have a lot of constituents that say they don’t want to let their kids in the backyard to play. That’s just not a place we ought to be in South Carolina,” Sen. Goldfinch said.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is still reviewing the bill.

They met with us to talk about coyotes. They say the species first appeared about 30 years ago in the Upstate.

Since then, the coyote population has continued to grow and spread to all 46 counties. Furbearer and Alligator Program Coordinator, Jay Butfiloski said in rural areas coyotes have caused some problems. “We have some issues with livestock. A lot of sportsmen are concerned with coyote depredation, especially with fawn. There’s also concern with quail and turkey.”

DNR says since 2002, the deer population in South Carolina has decreased more than 30%.

They also say during the winter time, they see a peak in coyote sightings in urban areas. “Food gets scarce so sometimes, especially in suburban areas. They may be looking for food, maybe rummaging through trash.”

Wildlife officials say hunters kill 25,000 coyotes per year.

In South Carolina, you can kill a coyote if it is on your property. Anywhere else, you’d need a license to hunt or trap the animal.

The bill is currently in committee.

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