Mostly Trapping

Coyote: City proposes to pay people to pay trappers
Feb 9, 2019 14:36 ET

(Reprinted from above link)

Myrtle Beach city officials are expected to pass a resolution that includes reimbursing citizens part of their bill to trap and remove coyotes.

City Manager John Pedersen said the city council will be given a resolution in the Tuesday meeting that will answer some of the concerns voiced in a recent public meeting about the number and aggressive nature of coyotes in the city.

The proposal includes the city paying private property owners $75 if they turn in a receipt showing they have paid a trapper to remove a coyote. Pedersen said trappers, which are permitted by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, charge between $125 and $425 for coyote trapping and removal.

Several trappers at the public meeting said “removal” is another term for killing the coyote since relocation does not work to decrease the coyote population.

The first step is the city setting aside $5,000 to be used for the reimbursement, Pedersen said. Once the $5,000 is spent, the city council would review the program to see how it worked.

He also recommends the council set aside $10,000 for “any wildlife emergency” that could be used to address coyote dens found on public property and assist owners of large tracts of land where dens are found. The $10,000 could be used to pay DNR to respond to coyote issues if necessary.

Jay Butfiloski, a wildlife biologist with DNR, had told the more than 200 people at the recent coyote meeting that DNR did not respond to coyote issues because of staffing and funding.

Coyotes have killed several pets in the city. The animals have been sighted from golf courses and streets to patios and driveways in the city. City codes prohibit citizens from using guns, bows and arrows or other types of weapons on coyotes. City codes do allow for coyotes to be shot if there is imminent danger.

The resolution also includes developing a plan to hire a person to scope out food sources for coyotes such as people leaving food out, spills from curbside trash containers and commercial dumpsters that contain food. Pedersen said paying for the new hire would be reflected on utility bills.

There is also a recommendation on education using the city’s website, social media and in neighborhood watch meetings.

According to the resolution, citizens will be asked to document coyote sightings and encounters. The city is asking people not to call 911 unless it is an actual emergency. Pedersen said the sightings report would be sent to DNR to support action requests from the state agency.

There are also recommendations for city leaders to meet with state legislators to talk about the coyote issues facing the city.

State Sen. Stephen Goldfinch and State Rep. Alan Clemmons are introducing legislation to curtail the coyote population.

The city’s proposed resolution also includes guidelines for citizens.

People are asked to walk their dogs on six-foot leashes and eliminate food sources outside.

Butfiloski had said a person walking with a stick does deter coyotes from interacting.

“People could carry a stick, a small axe handle or anything they could get in a good lick,” Pedersen said.

The proposal also calls for citizens to “haze” coyotes with noisemakers such as air horns or whistles. He said the hazing serves two purposes – it frightens the coyote and alerts neighbors there is a coyote nearby.

Butfiloski had told the crowd at the public meeting that coyote populations tend to fluctuate and the state is seeing an upsurge. He had said 25,000 coyotes were killed in the state last year but it had not curbed the population to the extent hunters had hoped.

Kelsey Gilmore-Futeral, the state director for the Humane Society of the United States, released a coexistence plan stating killing coyotes do not decrease their population. The plan states coexistence can happen if, among other recommendations, pets are kept on a six-foot leash and food sources are not left outside.

The humane society plan also calls for consistent hazing so the coyotes never become comfortable around people.

The city council meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Ted C. Collins Law Enforcement Center off Oak Street and Mr. Joe White Avenue.

Janet Morgan is the editor of the Myrtle Beach Herald. Contact her at 843-488-7258 or at janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com.