The coyote tagging and bounty program has been revived in the South Carolina Senate after it was vetoed by Gov. Nikki Haley, but it comes with some changes over the original proposal. The House also voted to override the governor’s veto of the plan.
Originally, the proposal called for the SCDNR to catch and tag 12 coyotes, then pay up to $1000 for each tagged coyote killed by a hunter. The thought of the state being responsible to pay up to $12,000 was enough to scare some lawmakers away from the plan, so the new proposal should be easier on the bottom line.
The new plan is for the SCDNR to catch, tag, and release 16 coyotes across the state. When a hunter kills one and turns in the tag, they are rewarded with a free lifetime hunting license.
One of Haley’s problems with the program was that she said if coyotes are so bad for the rest of South Carolina’s wildlife, it doesn’t make sense to release them back into the outdoors after catching them.
But Rep. Mike Pitts, as well as many hunters, disagree. Pitts said coyotes are “decimating the deer herd,” and that a program like this will encourage more hunters to shoot coyotes. In the end, the number of coyotes killed as a result of this program will far outweigh any negative impact the 16 coyotes would have once released, he said.
The fate of this latest proposal remains to be seen, but for now, the coyote bounty program is still alive and kicking.