Regulatory Agency

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

  • Main Office: (360)-902-2200
  • Regional Offices
    • Eastern: (509)-892-1001 or TeamSpokane@dfw.wa.gov
    • North Central: (509)-754-4624 or TeamEphrata@dfw.wa.gov
    • South Central: (509)-575-2740 or TeamYakima@dfw.wa.gov
    • North Puget Sound: (425)-775-1311 or TeamMillCreek@dfw.wa.gov
    • Southwest: (360)-696-6211 or TeamRidgefield@dfw.wa.gov
    • Coastal:(360)-249-4628 or TeamMontesano@dfw.wa.gov
  • For information on permits: specialtrapping@dfw.wa.gov

License Details


There is a $50 enrollment fee for first time WCOs only

License Duration

WCO permits are valid for 3 years

How to Apply

  • Take a Wildlife Control Operator course
  • Fill out the application and submit it to the department
  • Applicants can chose whether or not they would like to be listed on the WDFW WCO web page

Renewal and Reporting

Permits must be renewed every 3 years

An annual report must be submitted by April 20th which encompasses control activities from April 1st of the previous year to March 31st of the current year.

The report form comes with instructions on how to fill it out

Laws and Regulations

  • WCOs are able to trap, capture, and remove small game or unclassified wildlife such as raccoons, opossums, skunks, and certain other animals year-round.
  • WCOs do not handle issues involving big game animals such as deer, elk, cougar, bear, or wolf. Those situations must be handled by WDFW officers or WDFW wildlife conflict staff and require different services where conventional trapping/exclusion techniques will not apply.
  • When euthanasia of live-captured nuisance wildlife is necessary, the euthanasia must be done humanely, consistent with the guidelines of the American Veterinary Medical Association
  • WCOs must follow trapping regulations, excluding seasons

Laws Regarding Translocation

In the State of Washington, it is unlawful to possess or transport live wildlife or wild birds (except starlings and house sparrows by falconers) without a permit (WAC 220-450-030)

Biologists do not recommend releasing wildlife outside their home range

Trap Tags

Traps must have a metal tag attached to them with either the trapper’s WDFW indentification number (trapper ID or Wild ID) or the name and address of the trapper

Hunting and Trapping License

A hunting license is not required to obtain this permit. However, if a firearm is being used as a control method or a method of euthanasia a hunting license is required

A trapping license is required to obtain this license