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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 if a Nuisance Take if Damaging Property Take if Threatening Public Safety
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)
DEC permit needed DEC permit needed n/a
Black Bear
(More information on handling bear conflicts)
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 DEC permit needed DEC permit needed n/a
Chipmunk Yes Yes n/a
Coyote
(More information on handling coyote conflicts)
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)
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 DEC permit needed DEC permit needed n/a
Foxes -
Red Fox and Gray Fox
DEC permit needed Yes n/a
Hare - Snowshoe/Varying DEC permit needed Yes, refer to notes 1 and 2 n/a
Marten DEC permit needed DEC permit needed n/a
Mice Yes Yes n/a
Mink DEC permit needed DEC permit needed n/a
Moles Yes Yes n/a
Muskrat DEC permit needed Yes, refer to note 2 n/a
Opossum DEC permit needed Yes, refer to note 2 n/a
Otter, River DEC permit needed DEC permit needed n/a
Porcupine Yes Yes n/a
Rabbit - Cottontail DEC permit needed Yes, refer to notes 1 and 2 n/a
Raccoon DEC permit needed Yes, refer to note 2 n/a
Rats
(except Allegheny woodrat)
Yes Yes n/a
Shrews Yes Yes n/a
Skunk Yes, refer to note 2 Yes, refer to note 2 n/a
Squirrels - Gray, Black, and Fox DEC permit needed Yes, refer to note 2 n/a
Squirrels - Red Yes Yes n/a
Voles Yes Yes n/a
Weasels DEC permit needed Yes, refer to note 2 n/a
Woodchuck/Groundhog Yes Yes n/a
Birds Commonly Causing Conflicts (in alphabetical order)
See Definition of "Nuisance" and "Damaging"
Animal Take if Only a Nuisance Take if Damaging Property
Blackbird, Red-winged No if destroying crops, may be taken without a permit during June - October
Canada Goose
(More information on handling Canada goose conflicts)
Federal permit needed Federal permit needed
Cormorants
(More information on handling cormorant conflicts)
No Federal permit needed
Cowbirds No if destroying crops, may be taken without a permit during June - October
Crow Yes, if on cultivated lands Yes
Ducks Federal permit needed Federal permit needed
European starling Yes Yes
Grackle No if destroying crops, may be taken without a permit during June-October
Great Blue Heron Federal permit Needed Federal permit Needed
Gulls
(More information on handling gull conflicts)
Federal permit needed Federal permit needed
House (English) sparrow Yes Yes
Pigeon without leg band Yes Yes
Pigeon with leg band No No
Snow goose Federal permit needed Federal permit needed
Mute swans DEC permit needed DEC permit needed
Turkey DEC permit needed DEC permit needed
Woodpecker Federal permit needed Federal permit needed
Reptiles 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
Snakes No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed Contact a local DEC Wildlife Office
Turtles No DEC permit needed DEC permit needed Contact a local DEC Wildlife Office

Notes

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

  • Note 1 - May not use ferrets, fitch-ferrets, or fitch to take
  • Note 2 - If taking during the closed hunting or trapping season, the animal must be buried or cremated immediately

"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.