SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — This time of year, people may be seeing more coyotes around the area.

“A lot of times, they may be roaming, looking for a place to settle in, or they may stay a transient animal and they may just kind of wander,” said Jay Butfiloski, the furbearer program coordinator for SCDNR. 

While this is common, Butfiloski said it’s a wild animal and can be alarming to see, if it’s too close to home. 

“It’s really common in the summer, when they have their young because there’s increased food demands, so there’s a lot of movement,” said Butfiloski.

 If people see a coyote, Butfiloski said people shouldn’t panic.

“If you just see it, that’s just like seeing any other wild animal, unless it’s causing you some particular issues,” said Butfiloski. 

Thousands of coyotes have roamed South Carolina since the late 1970s.

“Attacks, especially in the southeast, are pretty rare,” said Butfiloski. “You’re more likely to have some incidents involving your pets. There’s been a few incidents in the state that have involved people walking pets, not necessarily the person themselves.”

If people are concerned about coyotes near their homes, he said there are ways to manage the coyote population.

“There’s a lot of tools, if you want to try to control the coyotes on your property, that the state will allow you to do,” said Butfiloski.

Coyotes can be hunted year-round, with a valid hunting license in South Carolina. People can also trap coyotes December through March. While these options are available, Butfiloski said people may not always want to remove the animals in the area.

“Having a core group of coyotes around that don’t cause problems, may not necessarily be a bad thing, because you could be replaced by some that may cause you more issues,” said Butfiloski.

In 2016, a coyote harvest program was also created to help control the population. Every year, DNR tags and releases 16 coyotes.

Anyone who successfully hunts a tagged coyote will receive a lifetime hunting license.