Professional Nuisance Wildlife Control
Information for Connecticut's Home and Business Owners
Connecticut's Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator Program
Each year, the Wildlife Division receives several thousand calls concerning conflicts with wildlife. A majority of these problems involve small mammals, such as squirrels, raccoons, skunks, woodchucks, opossums, and bats, as well as some birds, such as house sparrows, starlings, pigeons, and woodpeckers. Problems caused by these species vary, but they often involve animals establishing dens and nests in or under homes, decks and sheds; damages from holes, burrows, nesting material, and feces; and associated safety and disease concerns. Other species commonly reported as causing conflicts include beavers, coyotes, foxes, and Canada geese. Some of the conflicts include threats and damages from flooding; attacks on pets, poultry and livestock; fecal damages to lawns and recreation areas; and associated disease and safety threats to people and pets.
Compounding these conflicts are the loss of wildlife habitats caused by residential and commercial development and an increasing human population that often lacks a basic understanding of common wildlife and the prevention and control of damages.
The Wildlife Division provides wildlife damage control information over the telephone or through information provided on our website to assist Connecticut residents in resolving wildlife conflicts, but some residents require more assistance.
In 1985, the Connecticut State Legislature established a license for Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators (NWCOs). Licensed NWCOs must complete a comprehensive training course and pass a state exam which assesses their knowledge of NWCO regulations, policies and procedures; animal identification, habits, and life histories; recommended wildlife control practices; and humane handling and euthanasia. NWCOs can advertise services and charge fees for the purpose of controlling nuisance wildlife. They must keep accurate, up-to-date records of their activities and report their activities annually. Though not DEEP employees, their activities are governed by DEEP regulations, policies, and procedures. By instituting these requirements, DEEP is certifying that NWCOs have reviewed the procedures, guidelines, and expectations of the NWCO Program. (How to Become a NWCO)
If you are experiencing wildlife-caused problems and are unable or unwilling to resolve the situation yourself, you will most likely be referred to a NWCO. The DEEP, through regulation and policy, determines which animals the NWCOs can handle and which methods they can employ (Brochure: Nuisance Wildlife Control Program, Rabies, and Client Notification). However, some decisions must be negotiated between you and the NWCO. After contacting a NWCO, you should discuss the following issues before action is taken:
- Determine the nature of the problem.
With the NWCO's assistance, identify the offending species, the number of animals involved (if possible), and describe the extent and types of damage.
- Determine which methods will be used to resolve the problem.
Ask the NWCO to recommend possible methods of control, the estimated costs, and the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
- Establish the conditions which will constitute a solution to the problem.
Let the NWCO explain how much, if not all, of the problems he or she expects to be able to resolve within the limits of his/her methods and abilities.
- Establish a fee or rate of payment.
DEEP does not regulate rates charged for NWCO assistance. Such payments should be agreed upon ahead of time between you and the company you want to hire. Fees charged may vary between individual companies.
Bureau of Natural Resources / Wildlife Division
CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106-5127
By administering the NWCO program, DEEP is implementing a mechanism to address the growing number of nuisance wildlife complaints. This program is particularly applicable in urban and suburban areas where traditional hunting and trapping are not practical methods of wildlife population control.
List of licensed NWCOs
Things to consider when hiring a NWCO
Nuisance Wildlife Control Conflicts Involving Rabies Vector Species
Homeowners are strictly prohibited from trapping and shooting wildlife outside regulated seasons, unless the animal has been actively causing property damage or is an obvious threat to public health and safety. If this course of action is taken under such circumstances, you must still comply with state trapping laws and local firearms restrictions.
Relocation of rabies-vector species (raccoon, skunk, and fox) is prohibited under Connecticut General Statutes Section 26-47(b) and 26-57. This restriction is necessary to prevent human-assisted spread of this disease and is an important component of the state’s nuisance wildlife control program.
The trapping or removal of rabies-prone species by a NWCO is encouraged only if the animal is causing property damage, appears to be sick or diseased, or is posing a public health and safety threat. Strongly recommended alternative controls include eviction from buildings using harassment or one-way doors, followed by animal proofing and eliminating wild animal access to food and shelter.
Do you need help and advice concerning nuisance wildlife? Check out www.wildlifehelp.org and select "Connecticut" as your state to get started. This website is supported by the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Northeast Wildlife Damage Management Cooperative.
Content last updated in December 2022.