There are some real pests roaming across all areas of South Carolina, and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources has taken another step in the fight to curtail their numbers as much as possible.
Through July 1, wild hogs, coyotes and armadillos can be hunted at night as long as the hunters notify S.C. DNR 48 hours in advance of the hunt.
The three non-native species can be hunted at night with or without the aid of bait, electronic calls, artificial lights and night-vision devices. Hunters can use any legal firearm, bow or crossbow.
All three species have caused trouble in a variety of ways across the state.
Wild, or feral, hogs are a true pain for private landowners and state wildlife workers alike.
Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto is credited with first introducing hogs in what is now Florida in the 1500s. From there, they have become well-entrenched in the Southeast and, being prolific breeders, are very difficult to get rid of.
The hogs are digging and rooting machines, and cause trouble for farmers, hunters and on protected lands and wildlife management areas.
Armadillos are a newer nuisance, having moved into the state from the south and west in recent years. Armadillos, too, have a digging problem and cause issues for farmers and homeowners in their search for food such as grubs or insects.
Coyotes pose the biggest threat to the state's wildlife.
An S.C. DNR study on fawn mortality being conducted on the Savannah River Site in Aiken and Barnwell counties over the past five years has determined that coyotes are having a major impact on the survival rate of newborn fawns.
Data from the study indicates approximately 70 percent of all fawns in the study area are dying by the age of 10 weeks with coyotes being responsible for approximately 80 percent of the deaths.
Coyotes likely first appeared in South Carolina in the late 1970s, and have since spread to where they are prevalent in all 46 counties. They kill fawns from birth until they are about 10 weeks old, when they become too big and fast for coyotes to handle.
Cases of coyotes killing pets have been documented, plus they occasionally prey on domestic poultry and livestock, particularly sheep, goats and calves.
“What we're trying to accomplish is to open the amount of time property owners have, to give them more of an opportunity to deal with these invasive species,'' said Brett Witt, spokesman for S.C. DNR. “We've opened up another time during the non-deer hunting season. We want to give property owners another avenue for dealing with these species.''
Notice to S.C. DNR is required once per season for each property. The names, dates of birth and hunting license numbers of each person participating in the hunt must be made available for registration.
Applicants will be asked to provide information regarding the location of the property including road names and numbers that border the property.
Hunters using center-fire rifles during this time must be at an elevated position at least 10 feet from the ground. Call the S.C. DNR Dispatch Center at (803) 955-4000 to register a property for a hunt.
All three species can be hunted year-round during daylight hours by those with a hunting license.
Coastal Saltwater Anglers Fishing Seminar
The CCU club will host its seminar Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Coastal Science Center, located at 301 Atlantic Ave., in Conway.
Admission is $10 and includes lunch.
• Jodie Gay of Bluewater Candy Lures on offshore trolling
• Jacob Frick of Ocean Isle Fishing Center on inshore fishing
• Jack Bracewell of the Erins Addiction Too Fishing Team on King Mackerel Fishing
• Paul Pancake on near-shore fishing for Spanish mackerel, spadefish and cobia.
Contact GREGG HOLSHOUSER at 651-9028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.