(QUEEN CITY NEWS) – You hear them howling in the night, and they’re a threat to your precious pets and deer population. Now, South Carolina Wildlife officials want you to help catch and kill coyotes.

“They really don’t have a predator other than humans,” South Carolina Department of Natural Resources spokesperson, Greg Lucas told Queen City News.

Coyotes first appeared in the Palmetto State about 30 years ago. One of their favorite meals is deer.

“Coyotes do have an impact on deer populations, especially on fawns,” Lucas said.

Since 2002, the state’s deer population has declined by 30 percent. Which is why the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources wants to sweeten the deal for hunters.

SCDNR recently caught, tagged, and re-released 16 coyotes into the wild; think of them as the golden ticket. If a hunter happens to shoot and kill that coyote, they get a free lifetime hunting license. That’s roughly a $600 value.

“If you got a chance of getting a lifetime hunting license in South Carolina, yeah, he’s going to take it,” said Bruce Eisenmann, owner of The Lone Coyote Gun Works. “and he’ll switch stands and go somewhere else to hunt deer the rest of the day.”

There are four game zones in the state, and the DNR released four coyotes per zone in hopes it’ll incentivize all hunters to get in the game.

“We’re never going to get rid of coyotes, but it helps to keep their numbers down,” Lucas said.

To date, this program has helped reduce the coyote population by 28 percent, but there’s a reason the crafty creatures are so difficult to catch.

“They’re smart,” Eisenmann said. “They don’t call them Wylie Coyotes for nothing.”

For more information on the hunt, click here.