By HEATHER RUPPE
Recent sightings of wild coyotes wandering through some of Walterboro’s more suburban, busy neighborhoods are circulating through the community, and wildlife officials with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) say these sightings are not unusual.
According to SCDNR, coyote sightings have become normal throughout the Palmetto State.
“Coyotes are known to inhabit all 46 counties in South Carolina. They are very adaptable, habitat-wise, and have no trouble finding a niche in suburban, even urban areas,” said David Lucas, public information officer for S.C. DNR. “It’s no surprise that folks in or around Walterboro would be seeing them. At this point, they are widespread enough to be considered ‘common,’” he said.
According to Lucas, SC DNR biologists are not tracking or tallying individual sightings of coyotes in South Carolina.
Additionally, the state wildlife agency is not trapping coyotes or removing them from private lands or public spaces, like parks. Instead, SCDNR leaders are asking the public to contact a local animal control office or a private animal trapper.
“Coyotes are extremely wily and notoriously difficult to trap, so hiring a trapper experienced in dealing with them is often the most effective option,” he said.
Local coyote sightings are being reported to this newspaper by residents in several Walterboro neighborhoods, including those in the city and on the immediate outskirts, near Colleton County High School. One resident, who has lived on Josie Drive in Walterboro for about four years, said there is even a nearby coyote den that most people are aware of.
These coyotes are often seen hunting in a small patch of woods near this street, according to Miranda Stone, a resident who lives in this area.
According to the S.C. DNR, coyotes can be hunted throughout the year but only with a valid hunting license. Private residents can also trap coyotes during a designated trapping season, which is from December 1 through March 1st, but only with a valid commercial fur harvest license and a South Carolina hunting license. Any use of poison on coyotes is absolutely prohibited, according to S.C. DNR.
More tips on how to handle coyotes can be found under the Coyote Control tab on the SCDNR Web site, at www.dnr.sc.gov.
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