Best practices
for nuisance wildlife control operators in New York State

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Ch 3: Section two: State laws related to wildlife control

Getting and keeping a nuisance wildlife control license: the overview

To get a NWCO license, you must complete the application, pass the exam, and pay the license fee. The New York State nuisance wildlife control license authorizes you to act as an agent for a property owner or lessee. You must have a signed contract or written permission from that person stating that you have been hired to act as their agent to take nuisance wildlife on their property (this is a license condition).

When setting traps within 100 feet of a dwelling, school building, playground, or church, you must have the written consent of the owner or lessee of the property on which the trap is set. (This applies to anyone who’s trapping in those areas.)

You are allowed to take, temporarily possess, and transport any wildlife, except for those species detailed below, when that animal damages public or private property, or under conditions detailed in a permit issued by the DEC.

NWCOs in New York State shall NOT take, possess, or transport:

You may take wildlife only by lawful means, and only in a lawful manner. NWCOs must also exercise due care to safeguard the public from any animal they capture, possess, or move to another location.

After you’ve captured the nuisance animal, you can then: 1) release it to the wild; 2) humanely kill it, then bury or cremate it; or 3) if the animal is distressed or injured, transfer it to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. When appropriate, healthy wild animals may be released on site, or they may be relocated, if you have permission from the owner of the property on which you’d like to release that animal. This is true whether the preferred release site is public or private land. You may not release an animal into another county without prior approval from that county’s DEC Regional Wildlife Manager. Wildlife taken outside of New York State may not be brought into the state under this license.

If the animal appears to be diseased, it must be humanely killed and buried or cremated, or otherwise disposed of as directed by the DEC Regional Wildlife Manager or the local county health department.

NWCOs must follow the directives of their DEC permits and the local county health department concerning the handling and disposal of bats, raccoons, and skunks (rabies vector species), and any other directives about rabies.

Animals that are distressed or injured but are good candidates for rehabilitation, such as young that have been orphaned, may be transferred to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Bats, raccoons, and skunks may only be transferred to rehabbers who have special facilities and approval to accept these rabies vector species, unless the NWCO receives other guidance from the DEC or the Department of Health.

While you’re working as a NWCO, you are required to carry a copy of your license (showing all of the license conditions) with you, on your person. You must present this license on request. You must also keep track of all of your NWCO jobs each day, using the log supplied by the DEC. These records, and any animals in your possession, must be available for inspection by a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer at any reasonable time.

The NWCO license is good for one year. (It expires on the date listed on the front of the license). It’s issued to you, not to a company, so it cannot be transferred. The license may be renewed by sending a written request, your previous year's log, and the renewal fee to the DEC’s Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752, a month before your license expires (you can send the request any time during that month).

Whew! That’s a lot of information. Now, we’ll go over some of the points again, adding some details.

Next Section (Species you can or cannot handle)

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