Nuisance Wildlife Control License
This license authorizes an individual to take/trap, transport and release wildlife whenever the animal becomes a nuisance, destroys property or threatens public safety. The individual can conduct these activities for commercial purposes or as an employee of a municipality. If you have a nuisance wildlife problem, please visit our list of Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators.
The General Commercial license is $50. There is no fee for the Municipal license.
The duration of this license is 1 year (from October 1 to September 30).
What This License Allows
- Taking, transporting and releasing, or euthanizing wildlife when such wildlife damages or destroys property or poses a threat to public safety.
- For a General (Commercial) License holder only: Charging a fee to provide wildlife removal services for a property owner or lessee.
What This License Does Not Allow
- Trapping or taking the following species without an additional special permit:
- Endangered/threatened species. Requires an endangered/threatened species license from DEC's Special Licenses Unit.
- Migratory birds (i.e. woodpecker, raptor, etc.). The homeowner requesting removal must acquire a federal migratory bird permit (Leaves DEC website) from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
- Certain wildlife species, including: white-tailed deer, black bear, beaver, otter, mink, muskrat, fisher, marten, bobcat, wild turkey, all native snakes and all native turtles. Requires special depredation permit from a regional DEC wildlife office.
How to Apply
You must pass the Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (NWCO) examination with a score of 80% or higher. There are two options for taking the NWCO exam:
- In person at a DEC office:
- Register for the exam: contact a regional DEC wildlife office.
- Dates and locations: Exam held at various times throughout the year at DEC wildlife offices.
- Fee: No fee to take the exam.
- Study Materials: There are two options for studying the training manual:
1. Study online with the Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator Training Manual (Leaves DEC website).
2. Purchase a New York State Nuisance Wildlife Control Training Manual (Leaves DEC website). This book is a great reference tool for NWCO's.
- If you pass the DEC exam, you will be sent a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator License Application. Complete the application and return it to the DEC Special License Unit along with the required license fee. You will receive your NWCO license in the mail.
- Online through the National Wildlife Control Training Program (NWCTP):
- Register for the exam at the NWCTP (Leaves DEC website). Click on New York State WCO Certification Training.
- Dates and Locations: You can begin the online course at any time and take the exam when you are ready.
- Fee: $200
- Study Materials: All study materials are provided online.
- If you pass the online course you will be given a certificate that you must send to the DEC Special Licenses Unit, along with your mailing address.. When the certificate is received, you will be sent a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator License Application. Complete the application and return it to the DEC Special License Unit along with the required license fee. You will receive your NWCO license in the mail.
- You can also purchase a New York State Nuisance Wildlife Control Training Manual (Leaves DEC website). This book is a great reference tool for NWCO's.
Renewing & Reporting
Licenses expire annually on September 30 each year. A renewal form will be sent by mail prior to the license expiration date noted on the license. If a license renewal form is not received at least 2-weeks prior to the expiration date, please contact us.
Laws & Regulations
Environmental Conservation Law (ECL)
Please visit New York State Legislature (Leaves DEC website)
- 11-0507 Liberation of wildlife
- 11-0511 Possession and transportation of wildlife
- 11-0513 Pigeons
- 11-0521 Destructive wildlife; taking pursuant to permit
- 11-0523 Destructive or menacing wildlife; taking without permit
- 11-0524 Nuisance wildlife control operators
New York Codes Rules and Regulations (NYCRR)
- Part 175: Special Licenses and Permits - Definitions and Uniform Procedures (Leaves DEC website)
DEC Special Licenses Unit
625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233