The state Department of Natural Resources is offering complimentary lifetime hunting licenses to anyone who kills one of 24 tagged coyotes on the loose throughout the state. Four were released in each of the four state designated wildlife management areas in 2017. Eight of the 16 released in 2016 remain on the loose, bringing the total to 24.
With DNR offering this incentive, manninglive.com thought it would be interesting to learn more about this animal, which is considered a nuisance to South Carolina wildlife.
* Coyotes first appeared in South Carolina about 1978 and continue to expand greatly in numbers. Coyotes are negatively impacting the state's official animal, the white-tailed deer, by preying heavily on deer fawns.
* Since 2002, the South Carolina deer population has declined by more than 30 percent. While our deer population is still healthy, DNR does not want to see it decline further.
* The average adult coyote weighs about 35 pounds, but can exceed 50 pounds.
* Coyotes are mostly grayish-brown to reddish-tan; nearly all black coyotes are not uncommon as well.
* Coyotes reproduce in the 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, overtime coyote populations are expected to stabilize, allowing deer, turkey an small game to still exist in healthy numbers in South Carolina.
* Coyotes are now present in all South Carolina counties.
* Coyotes were illegally imported into South Carolina for hound running. SCDNR and federal law enforcement officers have and will continue to prosecute for this activity.
* Eastern migration of coyotes has also resulted in natural expansion of the species in South Carolina.
* There is no closed hunting season on coyotes on private lands.
* No hunting license or permit is required to shoot coyotes on one's own property within 100 yards of one's home.
* Electronic calls are permitted while hunting coyotes.
* Night-hunting is permitted on registered properties, or with a depredation permit. Certain restrictions apply.
* Coyote trapping season is from Dec. 1 through March 1.
* Property owners with coyote damage are eligible for a depredation permit from SCNDR.
* No license or permit is required to trap a coyote within 100 yards of one's home. However, trapped coyotes may not be relocated.
* SCDNR law enforcement officers may issue a shoot-at-night permit with less stringent weapons restrictions under certain circumstances, such as damagesto personalproperty.