S.C. Senate revives coyote-bounty program

The S.C. Senate revived a coyote-bounty program overriding Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto on Wednesday.

The Senate reconsidered the proposal after earlier sustaining Haley’s veto. The S.C. House also voted to override Haley’s veto.

The program requires the state Department of Natural resources to tag 16 coyotes across the state. If a hunters bag a tagged coyote, they would receive a reward – a free lifetime hunting license.

Previously, lawmakers had proposed a $1,000 reward for killing tagged coyotes.

Haley said the proposal didn’t make sense. State Department of Natural Resources officers should not be capturing coyotes and then releasing them “back into the wild.”

She urged lawmakers to sustain her veto “in the interest of common sense and public safety.”

However, Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, defended the proposal, saying coyotes are "decimating the deer herd."

Other have complained the non-native predators are killing pets.

The pilot-bounty program was designed to increase the number of people hunting coyotes, Pitts said.

Cassie Cope: 803-771-8657, @cassielcope