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Licensing Requirements for Wildlife Control Operators

Anyone trapping wildlife outside of the regular season in New Hampshire must be licensed as a Wildlife Control Operator (WCO) by the NH Fish and Game Department.


There are two types of WCO licenses, Level I and Level II. Level I operators may only trap furbearers, woodchucks and porcupines outside of the season and must obtain a Level I WCO license in addition to the regular trapping license.


Level II operators are engaged in the commercial practice of trapping nuisance animals. In addition to the fee, every Level II WCO must complete a 6-hour workshop, or be certified by the National Wildlife Control Operators Association (NWCOA) or have held a previous Level II WCO license (pursuant to Fis 308.05).


The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department conducts a class annually, assisted by the New Hampshire Trappers Association and the New Hampshire Chapter of the National Wildlife Control Operators Association. The class is a 6-hour training workshop covering:


  • Legal aspects of WCO activities
  • Biology of target species
  • Euthanasia
  • Best Management Practices
  • Disease risk
  • Federal laws
  • USDA Wildlife Services activities


Get more information on when the next WCO Operators class is scheduled, plus additional details on the training class, which is offered free of charge. WCO Operators classes are generally held once each year, in January.


Completion of a Trapper Education class is also required.


For more information, contact wildlife biologist Patrick Tate, NH Fish and Game Department, at (603) 868-1095.