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Disclaimer

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added a link to a translation service developed by Microsoft Inc., entitled Bing Translator, as a convenience to visitors to the DEC website who speak languages other than English.

Additional information can be found at DEC's Language Assistance Page.

Remove or "Take" Nuisance Animals Legally

Identify If You Need a Permit or License

This page is intended to help you identify whether a permit is required to legally "take" an animal that is causing a nuisance, damaging your property or threatening your safety. "Take" or "taking" means to pursue, shoot, hunt, kill, capture, trap, snare or net wildlife and game-or perform acts that disturb or worry wildlife. Taking an animal is only suggested if other best practices do not help alleviate the problem.

Taking During Recreational Sporting Seasons

Game animals may be taken during their specified hunting or trapping seasons with the appropriate recreational sporting license.

Relocating an Animal

If you need a wild animal removed from your property, contact a Wildlife Control Operator. Relocating an animal can create problems for neighbors, can move diseases like rabies or ticks and can cause unnecessary stress to the animal, so please leave this task to a trained professional.

Use the Tables Below to Identify if You Need a Permit

For a DEC Permit - Contact a regional DEC Wildlife Office. DEC may deny a permit if the nuisance, destruction of property or threat to public health and welfare will not be effectively abated by taking the animal.

For a Federal Permit- Contact the US Fish Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program (External link) at 413-253-8643 or by email permitsR5MB@fws.gov

Mammals Commonly Causing Conflicts (in alphabetical order)

See Definition of "Nuisance" and "Damaging"
Animal Take Anytime Take if Only a Nuisance Take if Damaging Property Take Under Special Circumstances
Bats Please contact a DEC Wildlife Office or a NWCO when dealing with bats. Some bat species are protected and require experts to identify them. For some helpful tips on safely removing a bat from your home, visit the little brown bat webpage
Beaver
(More information on handling beaver conflicts)
No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed n/a
Black Bear
(More information on handling bear conflicts)
No DEC permit needed If destroying livestock or an apiary, no permit is necessary to take a black bear; however, you must promptly notify the nearest Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) to make arrangements for delivering the carcass (find an ECO near you). Also, DEC may issue a permit for a landowner to take if there is proof that the bear is causing property damage DEC may issue a permit for a landowner to take if there is proof that the bear is threatening public welfare or safety.
Bobcat No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed n/a
Chipmunk Yes Yes Yes n/a
Coyote
(More information on handling coyote conflicts)
No DEC permit needed Yes DEC may issue a permit for a landowner to take if there is proof that the coyote is threatening public welfare or safety
Deer
(More information on handling deer conflicts)
No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed n/a
Eurasian Boar
(More information on handling wild hog conflicts)
Please contact a local DEC Wildlife Office
Fisher No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed n/a
Foxes -
Red Fox and Gray Fox
No DEC permit needed Yes n/a
Hare - Snowshoe/Varying No DEC permit needed Yes, refer to notes 1, 2 and 3 refer to note 4
Marten No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed refer to note 4
Mice Yes Yes Yes n/a
Mink No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed refer to note 4
Moles Yes Yes Yes n/a
Muskrat No DEC permit needed Yes, refer to note 3 refer to note 4
Opossum No DEC permit needed Yes, refer to note 3 refer to note 4
Otter, River No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed refer to note 4
Porcupine Yes, refer to note 1 n/a
Rabbit - Cottontail No DEC permit needed Yes, refer to notes 2 and 3 refer to note 4
Raccoon No DEC permit needed Yes, refer to note 3 refer to note 4
Rats
(except Allegheny woodrat)
Yes Yes Yes n/a
Shrews Yes Yes Yes n/a
Skunk No Yes, refer to note 3 Yes, refer to note 3 refer to note 4
Squirrels - Gray, Black, and Fox No DEC permit needed Yes, refer to note 3 refer to note 4
Squirrels - Red Yes, refer to note 1 n/a
Voles Yes Yes Yes n/a
Weasels No DEC permit needed Yes, refer to note 3 refer to note 4
Woodchuck/Groundhog Yes, refer to note 1 refer to note 4
Birds Commonly Causing Conflicts (in alphabetical order)

See definition of "Nuisance" and "Damaging"
Animal Take Anytime Take if Only a Nuisance Take if Damaging Property Take Under Special Circumstances
Blackbird, Red-winged No No if destroying crops, may be taken without a permit during June - October n/a
Canada Goose
(More information on handling Canada goose conflicts)
No Federal permit needed Federal permit needed refer to note 4
Cormorants
(More information on handling cormorant conflicts)
No No No n/a
Cowbirds No No if destroying crops, may be taken without a permit during June - October n/a
Crow No Yes, if on cultivated lands Yes refer to note 4
Ducks No Federal permit needed Federal permit needed refer to note 4
European starling Yes, refer to note 1 n/a
Grackle No No if destroying crops, may be taken without a permit during June-October n/a
Great Blue Heron No Federal permit Needed Federal permit Needed na
Gulls
(More information on handling gull conflicts)
No Federal permit needed Federal permit needed n/a
House (English) sparrow Yes, refer to note 1 n/a
Pigeon without leg band Yes, refer to note 1 n/a
Pigeon with leg band No No No n/a
Snow goose No Federal permit needed Federal permit needed refer to note 4. There is also a special snow goose hunting season for select waterfowl zones
Mute swans No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed n/a
Turkey No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed refer to note 4
Woodpecker No Federal permit needed Federal permit needed n/a
Reptiles Commonly Causing Conflicts (in alphabetical order)

See definition of "Nuisance" and "Damaging" below
Animal Take Anytime Take if Only a Nuisance Take if Damaging Property Take Under Special Circumstances
Snakes No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed Contact a local DEC Wildlife Office
Turtles No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed - refer to note 4
- Contact a local DEC Wildlife Office

Notes

The following notes apply to specific areas in the tables above.

  • Note 1 - Hunting license is required to take with a bow or firearm
  • Note 2 - May not use ferrets, fitch-ferrets, or fitch to take
  • Note 3 - If taking during the closed hunting or trapping season, it must be buried or cremated immediately
  • Note 4 - may be taken during the hunting or trapping season for that species.

"Nuisance" or "Damaging"

  • Nuisance Wildlife - A wild animal that may cause property damage, is perceived as a threat to human health or safety, or is persistent and perceived as an annoyance. Examples include a skunk or fox living under the porch or shed. If an animal is not causing any concern, for example, it is simply passing by, is observed only once or twice and does not cause any harm, then it should not be considered a nuisance.
  • Damaging Wildlife - A wild animal that damages property, for example, digs up your yard, eats your landscape plants or vegetable garden, kills or threatens your livestock or pets, fouls your lawn, eats the fish in your pond, damages your home, etc.

If you are unsure of whether an animal is a "nuisance" or "damaging" in any circumstance, please contact your local DEC Wildlife Office

Additional Resources

Visit DEC's main Nuisance Species webpage with information and links to multiple helpful resources.