Section V-127 – Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator Program
1. The purpose of this Section is to establish guidelines for the permitting of Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators (NWCO’s) and the procedures to be used by the NWCO’s in controlling nuisance wildlife.
2. NWCO’s are defined as individuals who offer commercial services for the control of nuisance wildlife.
1. All NWCOs must have a valid NWCO permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) in their possession while engaged in nuisance wildlife control activities. NWCO permits are issued only to individuals and each individual engaged in NWCO activities must possess a NWCO permit issued in his/her name. This rule does not provide for or authorize any NWCO to name a subpermittee.
2. In addition to the NWCO permit, all NWCOs must possess a valid Louisiana trapping license and valid Louisiana basic hunting license (or equivalent) in their possession while engaged in nuisance wildlife control activities. Additionally, any NWCO servicing non-protected reptile and amphibian nuisance calls must possess a valid basic fishing license or equivalent.
3. NWCO permits will be issued on a calendar year basis (January 1-December 31) and must be renewed annually.
C. Permit Requirements
1. All applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
2. The applicant must achieve a minimum score of 80 percent on the LDWF NWCO examination. The examination shall consist of questions relating to wildlife biology and behavior, nuisance animal control methods and procedures, and nuisance wildlife control laws, rules and regulations. Any applicant who fails to pass the examination may take another examination no earlier than 30 days from the date of the prior examination. Applicants may not attempt to take the NWCO examination more than three times per calendar year.
3. Anyone who has been convicted of a Class II or greater wildlife violation in Louisiana, or the equivalent in another state within the past three years, or has been convicted of a felony in Louisiana or another state, shall not be eligible for a NWCO permit. Also, any person whose hunting or trapping license privileges have been revoked and is prohibited from hunting and trapping in Louisiana shall not be allowed to possess or operate under the authority of a NWCO permit.
4. All applicants must attend a LDWF sponsored NWCO training class prior to or within 6 months of receiving their permit. A class registration charge may be applied. Those NWCOs with valid permits at the time this rule becomes effective will have one year from the effective date of amended regulations to complete the training class requirement. All NWCOs are required to attend six hours of LDWF approved continuing education every three years after attending the NWCO training class. Failure to attend the training class or obtain the six hours of LDWF approved continuing education every three years will result in revocation of the NWCO permit.
1. Employees of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services are exempt from all NWCO permit requirements while they are on duty and carrying out official business of their respective agency. Also, city, parish, or local municipal government employees assigned to animal control duties are exempt from permit requirements while on duty and carrying out official business of their respective agency. It is recommended that exempted agencies adopt a policy requiring euthanasia of all skunks, raccoons, feral hogs, coyotes, and nutria. Animals that are not euthanized may not be released on LDWF owned or managed land such as wildlife management areas or refuges and may not be sold, bartered or exchanged.
E. Reporting and Renewal Requirements
1. All nuisance wildlife complaints that result in a site visit by a NWCO must be fully documented on Nuisance Wildlife Complaint Forms or in a format provided by LDWF.
2. Nuisance Wildlife Complaint Forms for the permit period must be submitted to the LDWF no later than 30 days following the expiration of the permit and NWCO permits will not be renewed until these forms are received. Reports will cover the period from December 1 of the prior license year to November 30 of the current license year. However, the 30 day grace period that follows expiration of the NWCO permit, applies to report filing only and does not authorize NWCOs to engage in nuisance wildlife control activities without a current NWCO permit.
3. Any NWCO who does not submit his/her report by the 30th day after the expiration date of the permit, or who submits a false or materially incomplete report shall be issued a citation for violation of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission rules and regulations. If the citation does not result in a conviction, plea of guilty, or plea of no contest, the NWCO will be considered for reapplication upon receipt of the late Nuisance Wildlife Complaint Form(s).
4. Report forms must be current and shall be available for inspection at all times by Wildlife Enforcement Agents or any other authorized representatives of the department. NWCOs must maintain copies of all Nuisance Wildlife Complaint Forms for three years.
F. Procedures and Guidelines
1. The NWCO permit authorizes the holder to capture, euthanize or relocate designated species of wildlife by safe and effective means at any time of the year and without limits provided the operator is acting on a valid, documented wildlife complaint.
2. The following procedures and guidelines for NWCO permittees shall be in effect to establish what species of wildlife may be taken under the authority of this permit, the legal methods that may be used to take nuisance wildlife under the authority of this permit, and the legal methods of disposing of nuisance wildlife.
a. Only wildlife damage or nuisance complaints affecting humans and/or their property are considered valid complaints. Complaints involving conflicts between two or more species of wildlife are not valid nuisance wildlife complaints.
b. NWCO permittees are only authorized to live trap and relocate, live trap and euthanize, or lethally trap the following species when such action is warranted by a valid nuisance wildlife complaint: armadillo, beaver, bobcat, coyote, feral hogs, fox, mink, muskrat, nutria, opossum, otter, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel (including flying squirrel) and skunk. NWCO permittees are only authorized to live trap and relocate, live trap and euthanize, or lethally trap reptiles and amphibians that are not protected by federal law. Nuisance birds may be controlled as provided by existing law. Bats may be controlled by exclusion or by capture and relocation only. Bats shall not be controlled by any lethal methods. It is recommended all NWCOs working with bats complete the Bat Conservation International (BCI) professional excluders’ course available on-line.
c. The NWCO permit does NOT authorize the capture and/or handling of white-tailed deer, bears, wild turkeys or alligators.
d. The sale, trade, barter, gifting or retention of any wildlife or part thereof taken under the authority of a NWCO permit is prohibited except that furbearers taken during the open trapping season may be sold as provided by law. Additionally, individuals wishing to trap coyotes outside of open trapping season may do so with the purchase of an annual special permit which may be issued to a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries approved applicant for the trapping of coyotes only, outside of the annual trapping season. In order for the permittee to sell live coyotes he must also possess a nongame quadruped breeders license (R.S. 56:262.1) and a valid trapping license.
e. NWCO permittees must follow all state and federal laws, rules and regulations that apply to the taking of wildlife, with the exception of season dates and bag limits, except as otherwise provided in this section.
f. All wildlife taken under a NWCO permit shall be taken and disposed of in a manner to ensure safe and effective handling and/or euthanasia. Acceptable carcass disposal options include deep burial (four feet), incineration, and sanitary landfills. Disposal of carcasses must be in compliance with all local codes and ordinances. Euthanasia of a captured animal is to be performed under the guidelines adopted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
g. Traps or other capture devices set for live capture (including leg hold traps) shall be checked a minimum of once every 24 hours and all animals removed. Traps intended to result in immediate death must be checked a minimum of once every 48 hours. All traps and other capture devices shall be marked with permanent tags bearing the telephone number and LDWF issued permit number of the NWCO.
h. Only legal methods of take, as provided by existing law, shall be authorized under the NWCO permit. In addition to legal traps and snares, nets and capture by hand are authorized.
i. All traps and other capture devices shall be set in a manner that:
ii. will minimize the risk to non-target animals;
iii. will minimize the risk to the public and to pets; and
iv. are out of the view of the general public.
j. The NWCO permit does not authorize the use of firearms, except that nutria, beaver, coyotes, armadillos and feral hogs where legal, may be taken as provided by existing law. Firearms may also be used in accordance with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) guidelines on euthanasia. Discharge of any firearms shall be subject to all state, parish and municipal restrictions and ordinances.
k. When relocation is authorized, the NWCO may have the wildlife in possession for no more than 24 hours unless specifically authorized by the department.
l. Wildlife that is relocated shall be released at least five miles outside of any city limit and must be released within the state of Louisiana.
m. Wildlife shall not be released on private land without written permission of the landowner or landowner designee.
n. Wildlife shall not be released on public land without first obtaining written permission from the governmental entity owning or administering the release property.
o. Captured wildlife that appears to be sick or injured shall not be relocated. NWCOs must contact the appropriate LDWF regional office for instructions regarding sick wildlife. Injured animals may be delivered to a licensed rehabilitator or euthanized in accordance with AVMA guidelines.
p. Raccoons, skunks, feral hogs, coyotes and nutria shall not be relocated and shall be euthanized, within 12 hours of capture, in accordance with the current AVMA guidelines on euthanasia.
AUTHORITY NOTE: Promulgated in accordance with the Louisiana Constitution, Article IX, Section 7, R.S. 56:1, R.S. 56:5, R.S. 56:6 (10) and (15), and R.S. 56:112 et seq.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Promulgated by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, LR 30:2080 (September 2004), amended LR 36:75 (January 2010).