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How to Become a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator in Pennsylvania

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In the state of Pennsylvania, you must obtain a permit to become a nuisance wildlife control operator. This permit will allow you to take, transport, release and dispatch designated “pest and nuisance” wildlife, as defined by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. You may do this on your own property or for another person and you may solicit these services to the community. You will have to renew your permit every year.

Check your wildlife control record. If you were convicted of violating any portion of Pennsylvania’s wildlife management code within the last five years, you will be denied a permit.

Compile references, experience and qualifications. You will have to list previous employment, courses on nuisance control management that you attended or other experience pertinent to nuisance wildlife control on the application. Include the names and addresses of any businesses you previously worked for in the animal control industry.

Apply for examination. You will have to obtain an application form from the state game commission. For new applicants, you must pay a nonrefundable fee of $25 for each test. When you pass the exam, you will have to pay an additional $50 in order to receive your permit.

Study for the examination. New applicants are required to take a written exam provided and supervised by agents with the PGC. The exam will cover diseases and parasites, general biology such as life history and habits of pertinent wildlife, control methods, care and handling and euthanasia laws and regulations. The Game Commission does not offer any online preparation materials for the exam, so ask an agent with the Game Commission for recommendations when you apply for the exam. A good general resource is "The Wildlife Pest Control Handbook."

Pass the examination. You will have to obtain a score of 80 percent or higher to pass. You may take the exam three times in a year.

Renew your permit annually. If you allow your permit as a nuisance wildlife control operator to lapse for two years, you will have to reapply as a new applicant. This means you will have to take the exam again.

Apply for the white-tailed deer permit. This permit is distinct from the general wildlife permit and requires a separate examination. As before, you will have to obtain a minimum score of 80 percent. This exam contains the same topics as the general permit but is focused on whitetail deer, with the addition of a section on public relations.


Record all activities conducted as a nuisance control operator. Fill out reports on forms supplied by the Game Commission. You must keep all records of activities for three years. All records must be available for Game Commission inspection during game commission business hours. Submit monthly reports to your district wildlife conservation officer by the tenth day of each month.

  • Wildlife Pest Control Handbook; Philip J. Nichols

Aaron Samsel is the founding editor of He has been writing professionally since 2008.

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