COLUMBIA – For the second year in a row, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources has tagged and released 16 coyotes.
Four coyotes have been placed in each game zone as part of the coyote harvest incentive program. The incentive program was created by a Budget Proviso (47.10) passed by the S.C. General Assembly in 2016 and 2107. This proviso directs SCDNR to develop and implement a coyote tagging and reward program.
Anyone who kills one of the tagged coyotes, saves the carcass for verification and contacts SCDNR will receive a complimentary lifetime hunting license. This lifetime license may be issued to a designee of the winner’s choice.
Eight of the 16 tagged coyotes from last year have been reported thus far. Potentially, 24 tagged coyotes still remain that would be eligible for the lifetime license incentive.
Coyotes first appeared in South Carolina about 30 years ago and continue to expand greatly in numbers. Coyotes are negatively impacting our official state animal, the white-tailed deer, by preying heavily on deer fawns.
Since 2002, the S.C. deer population has declined by more than 30 percent.
“While our deer population is still healthy, we do not want to see it decline further,” according to SCDNR.
• Average adult coyote is 35 pounds, but can exceed 50 pounds.
• Coyotes are mostly grayish-brown to reddish-tan; nearly all black is not uncommon.
• Coyotes reproduce in late winter, have a 63-day gestation period and produce 5-7 pups per litter.
• As evidenced in other states with long-established coyote populations, expanding coyote populations are likely to impact local deer and small game. However, over time coyote populations are expected to stabilize allowing deer, turkey and small game to still exist in healthy numbers in South Carolina.
Where did they come from?
• SCDNR has NEVER released coyotes into the state for any reason, including deer management.
• Coyotes first appeared in the Upstate in 1978, they are now present in all counties of South Carolina.
• Coyotes were illegally imported into South Carolina for hound running. SCDNR and federal law enforcement has and will continue to prosecute for this activity.
• Eastern migration of coyotes has also resulted in natural expansion of the species in South Carolina.