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Wildlife Control Operators - WCO Permit

Frequently Asked Questions

Who needs a Wildlife Control Operator permit?

Businesses or individual engaging in wildlife control operation (removing animals causing damage, creating a public nuisance, or posing a public heath risk) on behalf of private property owners or others for a fee need a WCO permit. The applicant must be the owner of the company, or he/she can make a written designation (on company letterhead) to allow an employee to apply for the wildlife control operator permit.

A private property owner that chooses to lawfully remove an animal from his or her property needs an ODFW permit for certain animals, but not a WCO permit. Such permits are free of charge and can be obtained by contacting the nearest ODFW office.

However, ODFW recommends that private property owners unfamiliar with trapping wildlife seek the help and advice of professional WCOs before attempting to trap or remove wildlife, in order to best protect the welfare of the animal and the health of people.

What are the requirements to get a WCO permit?

Submit an application and staff will make an assessment as to whether criteria are met (see full Oregon Administrative Rules, Division 435) and the ODFW district staff determines the services are needed in their district.

The Department reserves the right to deny issuance of a Wildlife Control Operator Permit, to deny subpermittee(s), and to impose special permit conditions if the applicant or subpermittee is convicted of, or admits to, a violation of a wildlife law, or rule, or permit issued under the wildlife laws within the last five years.

Employees of businesses that already have a WCO permit can be designated as “subpermittees” and do not take the test. However, all employees engaged in wildlife control will need to sign a form indicating they have read and understand the WCO Training Manual (pdf). Employees also must indicate if they have been convicted, admit to, a violation of a wildlife law, rule, or permit violation, issued under wildlife laws in the last 5 years.

Once obtained, permits are renewed on an annual basis. However, not following regulations (including record-keeping, monthly reporting requirements and humane transportation and euthanasia standards) are grounds for a WCO permit not to be renewed.

How do I take the WCO test?

You will receive a letter letting you know if your application has been approved/denied. If approved; it will tell you what ODFW office to contact to schedule the test. An 80 percent test score is the minimum required to pass.

How much does the WCO permit cost and how often it is renewed?

Permits are free of charge and are issued for the calendar year. WCO permits should be renewed on an annual basis. ODFW will mail permitted WCOs renewal applications no later than 45 days before they expire.

Remember, not following regulations including monthly reporting requirements can lead to a permit being revoked or not renewed.

Where can I find more information?

More information can be found in the Oregon Administrative Rules for WCOs (pdf), ODFW's Wildlife Control Operator Training Manual (pdf), or the Living with Wildlife Web page or the Contacts page. To receive an informational packet, including training material, please contact Carol Turner at 503-947-6303 or e-mail.


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