Finally, a state that gets responsible wildlife management.
South Carolina made the bold first move this week to advance legislation that would place an all-out bounty on coyotes. Tree huggers are screaming. True conservationists are applauding. What this boils down to is a state taking responsibility of a non-native invasive species. It’s no different than spraying roadside ditches for wild parsnip. Coyotes are not native, nor welcome, on the SC landscape.
First, a few facts, according to the trained biologists within the SCDNR:
- The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources 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.
- As evidenced in other states with long established coyote populations, expanding coyote populations are likely to impact local deer and small game. However, overtime coyote populations are expected to stabilize allowing deer, turkey and small game to still exist in healthy numbers in South Carolina.
According to The Herald, The S.C. House approved Wednesday a coyote-bounty program as part of the state budget. The bounty program would make hunters eligible for at least a $1,000-reward if they killed a tagged coyote. The budget, including the bounty proposal, now goes to the state Senate for consideration.
The bounty does not mean total extermination. It’s goal is to provide a real and tangible incentive for trappers and predator hunters to up their efforts in helping that state manage its wildlife populations to goal. It’s a brilliant idea, in my opinion, and one that should be considered (gasp) in areas with oversubscribed deer densities.
But that’s a topic for another day.