The Buzz

Senate panel nixes plan to offer $1,000 reward for killing S.C. coyotes

Coyote populations are increasing in South Carolina.
Coyote populations are increasing in South Carolina.

COLUMBIA Wile E. Coyote has friends in the S.C. Senate crafting the $7.5 billion state general fund budget.

The Senate budget-writing panel killed a proposal to offer a $1,000 reward for killing tagged coyotes.

The proposal would have directed the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to tag and release at least 12 coyotes across the state. The tagged coyotes would have a bounty of at least $1,000 each, payable to any hunter who bags them.

The same coyote bounty program also is in a standalone proposal, which the S.C. House has passed.

Critics said the coyote bounty program would encourage reckless hunting.

State Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, chaired the budget panel subcommittee that recommended killing the program through the budget.

At least $12,000 would be spent on the coyote program, and that S.C. taxpayer money would be better spent on other state needs, Setzler said citing underfunded education and local governments that are underfunded, the poor condition of S.C. roads and increased healthcare costs.

There are higher state priorities than paying people to shoot coyotes when S.C. hunters can voluntarily kill them, he said.

Cassie Cope: 803-771-8657, @cassielcope