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Wildlife Control Operators - WCO Permit

Frequently Asked Questions

Who needs a Wildlife Control Operator permit?

A WCO permit is required for any individual, business owner, or the business owner’s designee charging a fee to control furbearers, unprotected mammals (excluding moles) and western gray squirrels causing damage, creating a public nuisance or posing a public health or safety concern in incorporated city limits and associated urban development areas. 

A permit is also required for the offsite transportation of any live wildlife on behalf of private property owners or legal occupant of the property.

A WCO permit is not required for the onsite capture and the onsite euthanasia of species defined as “predatory animals”.  Predatory animals" means coyotes, rabbits, rodents, and feral swine which are or may be destructive to agricultural crops, products and activities (ORS 610.002 & 610.105).This definition is applicable where wildlife is taken under the authority of one who owns leases, occupies, possesses or has charge or dominion over the land.  Beavers, muskrats and western gray squirrels (Sciuris griseus) causing damage on private property are defined as predatory animals under ORS 610.002.

A private property owner that chooses to trap (excluding “Predatory animals”) and lawfully remove an animal from his or her property needs an ODFW permit, 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 and safety of people.

What are the requirements to get a WCO permit?

Submit an application (pdf) to ODFW for review of criteria in Oregon Administrative Rules, Chapter 635, Division 435.

If the application is approved, applicant will submit a $64.50 non-refundable permit fee valid for up to two calendar years. However, not following regulations (including record-keeping, reporting requirements and humane transportation and euthanasia standards) are ground for revoking or non-renewal of the WCO permit.

How do I take the WCO test?

A fee of $25 will be charged each time a person takes the WCO test.  A minimum test score of 80 percent is required to pass. Information and study materials for the test can be found in the WCO Training Manual (pdf) and in the Oregon Administrative Rules, Chapter 635, Division 435.

Please call a local ODFW office to make an appointment to take the test.

Who has to take the WCO test?

Anyone who is conducting wildlife control activities is required to take and pass the test with a minimum score of 80%. A business owner who does not conduct any type of wildlife control activities is not required to take and pass the test but must have a designee of the business that has successfully passed the WCO test.

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

Upon application approval, applicant must submit a $64.50 non-refundable WCO application fee.  WCO Permit is valid for up to two calendar years. To renew, a person must submit a renewal application and pay a $64.50 non-refundable application fee.  They also must either; retake the WCO test ($25 fee per test), or provide documentation that they have taken 12 hours of Department approved continuing education during the two previous calendar years. 

Remember not following regulations including bi-annual reporting requirements can lead to a permit being revoked or not renewed.

What animals are generally under a WCO permit?

“Furbearers” are beaver, bobcat, fisher, marten, mink, muskrat, otter, raccoon, red fox, and gray fox.

“Predatory animals" means coyotes, rabbits, rodents, feral swine, Starling, House sparrows, and Eurasian Collared Doves which are or may be destructive to agricultural crops, products and activities.

“Unprotected Mammals” means badger, coyote, gophers (Thomomys bottae, T. bulbivorus, T. mazama, T. talpoides and T. townsendii), moles (Scapanus townsendii, S. orarius and S. latimanus), mountain beaver (Apolodontia rufa), yellowbellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris), nutria, opossum, porcupine, spotted skunk, striped skunk, and weasel. For any person owning, leasing, occupying, possessing or having charge of or dominion over any land (or an agent of this person) who is taking or attempting to take coyote, gophers, mountain beaver (boomer), marmot, nutria, or porcupine on that property, these six species are considered to be predatory animals.

Prohibited species listed in OAR 635-056-0050 such as Nutria, Eastern Gray Squirrels, Eastern Fox Squirrels, and Virginia Opossum must be euthanized and cannot be released onsite.

What animals can I relocate with a WCO permit?

A WCO can relocate snakes listed in 635-435-0010 (2), Western Gray Squirrel, Marten, Ringtail, Fisher, Badger and Beaver with prior approval from the Department.  All other animals must be euthanized or released on-site. 

Prohibited species listed in OAR 635-056-0050 such as Nutria, Eastern Gray Squirrels, Eastern Fox Squirrels, and Virginia Opossum must be euthanized and cannot be released onsite.

Where can I find more information?

More information can be found in the Oregon Administrative Rules for WCO’s (pdf), ODFW’s Wildlife Control Operator Training Manual (pdf), or the Living with Wildlife Web page or Contacts us page. To receive an informational packet, including training material, please contact Wildlife Division at 503-947-6301 or email.


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