South Carolina is one step closer to going to war officially with Wile E. Coyote.
The S.C. House approved Wednesday a coyote-bounty program as part of the state budget. The bounty program would make hunters eligible for at least a $1,000-reward if they killed a tagged coyote.
The budget, including the bounty proposal, now goes to the state Senate for consideration.
The proposal directs the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to tag and release at least 12 coyotes across the state. The tagged coyotes would have a bounty of at least $1,000 each, payable to any hunter who bags them.
The proposal provides incentives to hunters so that they will target the predators, not native to South Carolina. Coyotes are blamed for killing young deer, and domestic cats and dogs.
Critics say the bounty program would encourage reckless hunting.
The House also passed the coyote-bounty program as part of a hunting bill. That proposal, which requires Natural Resources to neuter any coyote before it is released, now is before a Senate committee.