SCDNR reports a decline of deer population, rise in coyotes

Florence coyote problem

FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is reporting a decline in the deer population in the state. Wildlife experts contribute this decline to the influx of coyote and changes in vegetation.

A report from last year's hunting season shows there is a four percent decline in the amount of deer harvested last hunting season. That same report shows more hunters are reporting harvesting more coyote.

"While you're hunting you do see them on occasion. But more so right at dark you will hear them howling," said Todd Stewart, owner of Irby Street Sporting Goods.

Wildlife experts said coyotes are not indigenous to South Carolina. Experts added they are not sure how or why coyotes are in the state.

"The first coyote I ever caught was about 18 years ago in Timmonsville and when I saw him I said where did you come from, "said Dennis Matherly.

Matherly said he has been keeping the Pee Dee's wildlife in check for more than 30 years. Matherly said within the past ten years he has been receiving more nuisance calls stemming from the increasing coyote population.

An SCDNR spokesperson says it is rare that a coyote attacks a human. Coyotes are not protected by the State of South Carolina, meaning they can be hunted throughout the year.

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