CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Hunters across South Carolina have an opportunity to earn a lifetime license for harvesting a tagged coyote.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources announced this week it has released 16 tagged coyotes statewide as part of its Coyote Harvest Incentive Program.

They said any hunter who successfully takes and reports one of the tagged coyotes can earn a free lifetime license.

According to SCDNR, the initiative was created by the SC General Assembly in 2016, giving the agency the ability to develop and implement a coyote tagging and reward program.

Only the uniquely identifiable SCDNR coyote tags are eligible for the lifetime license.

“Annually, SCDNR traps, tags and releases four coyotes per game zone (16 total). Anyone who successfully takes and reports a tagged coyote will be rewarded with a free lifetime hunting license,” said officials with SCDNR. “The person reporting the tagged coyote has the option to designate anyone for the lifetime license such as a child, relative, or friend.”

State wildlife officials said 96 coyotes have been tagged and released over the past five years, including the 16 that were recently released.

They said about half of the tagged coyotes have been reported taken.

“Coyotes tagged in any year are eligible for the lifetime license incentive,” said SCNDR. “The specially marked tags provide contact information directly on them. Only the uniquely identifiable SCDNR coyote tags are eligible for the lifetime license as there are potentially some coyotes that have been tagged for research purposes.”

Those interested in learning more about the program can contact the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.