S.C. releases tagged coyotes in incentive program

South Carolina wildlife officials say coyotes have caused a 30% decrease in the state’s deer population. Credit: Shelly Provost

South Carolina has released 16 more tagged coyotes throughout the state with an incentive for hunters to harvest them. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources created the Coyote Incentive Program in 2016 to try to relieve predation pressure on the state’s white-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus) population. Each year, the state traps, tags and releases 16 coyotes (Canis latrans). Hunters who take a tagged coyote can get a free hunting license for life. Officials say the predators have caused a 30% decrease in the state’s deer population over the last two decades. Only about half the 96 coyotes tagged since the program started have been claimed. Biologists say the state coyote population has decreased 28% since 2011.

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