Horry County, S.C. (WPDE) — Kill a coyote and get a prize. That's the incentive behind a new South Carolina program that just started.
The goal is to encourage hunters to prey on coyotes to decrease the population of the animals across the state. They are considered nuisance animals and destructive.
Some where out there a winning coyote roams and hunters across South Carolina are now vying to find one of 16 tagged coyotes.
"This is a first for me," Nate Hutson, with SCDNR, said. "In my ten years of being a game warden."
Hutson is with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the agency in charge of the program and prizes if a hunter gets one.
"They will notify us and we will either come out to them or they will come to us," Hutson explained.
Four tagged coyotes have been released in each of four game zones across the state.
They are all male coyotes. DNR biologists have captured them and put a tag inside their ear so it can't be seen from a far. Each one has specific contact info on it, so you can't fake it.
And now those winning coyotes could be anywhere.
"Deers always been here and coyotes haven't, so we want to keep it that way," Hutson said.
Remember last December when a coyote went running through Myrtle Beach International Airport?
"We're seeing them coming into neighborhoods and urban areas and taking small dogs and cats," Representative Alan Clemmons, said.
The original bill Representative Clemmons proposed would reward each hunter with $1,000 dollars if they were to kill a tagged coyote.
"When it got to the senate, the senate changed it," he explained. "Take out the monetary award and replace it with a lifetime hunting license. Quite frankly, I like the idea."
The program has been met with some opposition, but Clemmons said the death of a coyote is a small price to pay to rid the state of their destruction.
"There's coyotes in this area, yes," Hutson said as he walked through a wooded area in Horry County.
It's not required, but if you register for the hunt you could win a new rifle or a Yeti cooler.
To register for the coyote hunt, click here.