Popular Beach Town Targeting Coyotes, But Won't Reimburse Residents

Officials in a popular South Carolina beach town are targeting problem coyotes, but dropped a proposal to reimburse citizens for part of the cost of trapping expenses.

Popular Beach Town Targeting Coyotes, But Won't Reimburse Residents

South Carolina's beaches and coastal marshes are great for golfing, fishing, paddling and getting away for an enjoyable vacation.

They're also home to coyotes, which adapt to the dunes and developments to take advantage of food and lack of hunting. Within the beach towns and some communities, prohibitions on hunting and trapping help the adaptable songdogs thrive. Refuse, garden fare, pet food and pets all become fair game for coyotes that take up residence in the tourist towns.

Myrtle Beach officials are fighting back after having their fill of phone calls, emails, complaints and problems from coyotes. City officials approved an 11-part plan at their Feb. 12 meeting that includes asking residents to report sightings and sounds (such as someone hearing a coyote howl or pack). It also set up a $15,000 fund to pay trappers for consultation, management and removal services.

The original proposal included reimbursing citizens for part of their cost to trap coyotes. That plan was scrapped, and the proposed payout amount of $5,000 was rolled into what became the $15,000 total. Trappers have explained to officials and the public that coyotes will not be eradicated.

“They’re here,” Todd Metz of Trutech Wildlife Service said. “You’re not going to get rid of all the coyotes.”

Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune was honest about the expectations, but believes some in the public may not understand the situation.

“What I worry about is the unrealistic expectation of the public that we can get rid of this problem,” Mayor Brenda Bethune said. “We cannot. I mean, we can do things to help and that’s what we’re trying to do. We are not going to get rid of the problem.”

According to MyHorryNews.com, Myrtle Beach "city codes prohibit residents from using guns, bows and arrows or other types of weapons on coyotes. City codes allow for coyotes to be shot if there is imminent danger. The city animal control officers do respond to coyote sightings if the animal is injured or aggressive. However, the department does not take action if it is behaving normally by seeking prey."

Three trappers working with the city said they have caught five coyotes in four months.

Myrtle Beach officials are helping "educate" citizens to live with the coyotes, too, including walking dogs on 6-foot leashes and carrying a stick to "deter" a coyote. They also recommend citizens "haze" coyotes with noise-makers or air horns. The recommendations are part of those urged by the Humane Society of the United States, which is against all forms of hunting and trapping.

Statewide Bounty Plan?

State officials also are targeting coyotes but with a broader and more lucrative approach. A proposal in the South Carolina Legislature would establish a $75 bounty for each coyote killed and submitted.

Sen. Stephen Goldfinch introduced the bill. Hunters may not like it, though, as it would add $1 to each hunting license sold as a way to pay for the bounty. The bill also would open the trapping season for coyotes year-round.

“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, according to WMBF. “This is now about going to war with the coyotes. They’re eating our cats and our dogs and our deer and turkeys.”

Hunters still would have to follow state and local laws and regulations.


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