What can be done to control coyotes in South Carolina?

Coyotes first appeared in South Carolina a little more than 30 years ago and continue to expand greatly in numbers, according to biologists with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Studies show that coyotes are negatively impacting the white-tailed deer by preying on deer fawns.

For information on coyotes in South Carolina and the rules and regulations associated with controlling them by calling (803) 734-3886.

Coyotes will never be eliminated; they are here to stay, according to Jay Butfiloski, Furbearer Project supervisor with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Coyote numbers may be lowered in local areas through diligent trapping/shooting or naturally after a disease setback, such as distemper. However, coyotes are not a threat to people—they are not pack animals like wolves and are very shy around people. There are no documented cases of humans being hurt by coyotes in South Carolina. They can be a threat to small pets, though.

The DNR frequently gets calls from constituents concerned about what they can do to control coyotes.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the legal methods available:


There is no closed season for hunting coyotes on private lands during the day—they can be hunted at any time. Hunting license required.

Night hunting is permitted with certain weapons restrictions. Hunting license required.

Electronic calls are permitted.

No hunting license or permit is required to shoot coyotes on your property within 100 yards of your home.
However, check local laws and firearms ordinances.


Trapping season is open from Dec. 1–March 1. Trapping license required.

Property owners with coyote damage are eligible for a depredation permit from DNR.

No license or permit is required to trap a coyote on your property within 100 yards of your home.

Trapped coyotes may NOT be relocated and must be destroyed.


DNR Law Enforcement may issue a shoot-at-night permit with less stringent restrictions under certain circumstances, such as damages to personal property. Contact DNR for more information.
Control of food available to coyotes around residences, such as pet food and garbage, may reduce coyote problems around the home, according to Butfiloski.

Coyotes, native to much of the Western United States, first appeared in the Upstate in 1978 and are now present in all 46 counties in South Carolina. Contrary to popular belief, the DNR has NEVER released coyotes into the state for any reason, including deer management. Nevertheless, coyotes have been illegally imported into South Carolina for hound running, and this practice may have accelerated the establishment of the species in the Palmetto State. However, the establishment of the coyote in South Carolina was inevitable, as the coyote has expanded its range to the extent that it occurs in all of the continental United States and much of Canada.

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