Proposed SC bill looks to put bounty on coyotes

Bill would put bounty on coyotes in SC

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A newly proposed two-part bill would attempt to combat coyote issues in the state.

The bill would put a $75 bounty on coyotes killed in South Carolina and it would extend coyote trapping season.

Sen. Stephen Goldfinch said coyotes have been an issue in the area for 20 years and it’s time to come up with a solution.

"The state’s perspective is every coyote needs to be a dead coyote. Trap them, shoot them, kill them, however you want to get rid of them. We need to get rid of them,” Goldfinch said. "This is now about going to war with the coyotes. They’re eating our cats and our dogs and our deer and turkeys.”

The $75 reward would come from a $1 increase for the price of a hunting license.

"It’s enough for a $300,000 bounty every year and if you do the math that’s 4,000 to 5,000 coyotes that we can take out of the system,” Goldfinch said.

The law wouldn’t automatically make it legal to shoot coyotes anywhere. Goldfinch said people would still need to follow hunting restrictions set by individual counties, cities, and neighborhoods.

Goldfinch added S.C. would model this reward after a law in Utah. The state passed similar legislation in 2013 with a $50 incentive for killing coyotes.

“Utah came up with a simple solution,” he said. “You have to take a picture of the dead coyote and then your phone geotags where it was so to make sure it’s in the state at the time that it was.”

The bill would put an end to trapping season and instead make it year-round.

"There’s just no reason to have a season for it anymore. We need to open it up and take the gloves off,” he said.

Goldfinch said they’ll hold a subcommittee meeting on the bill in the next two weeks. He added that’s when legislatures will be taking testimony from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and stakeholders.

According to Goldfinch, the measure could be passed by June.

Officials with SCDNR said they’re aware of the bill and they plan to study it if it moves forward in the state house.

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