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Updated Jul 16, 2022

Understand Laws about controlling nuisance wildlife

States including Oregon and Washington have laws about capturing, relocating, and humanely euthanizing wildlife such as squirrels, raccoons, and skunks. The laws vary by state and by species of wildlife. Many species require special permits to handle.

If you have nuisance wildlife in your home or on your property, contact your state’s wildlife agency to determine a legal course of action:

Wildlife control operators

Consider hiring a licensed Wildlife Control Operator to handle wildlife issues. These professionals have the expertise, licenses, and tools to get the job done right and minimize risks to your home, family, and the wildlife of concern.

Licensed pest control companies are not the same as licensed wildlife control operators. Professionals may have both sets of licenses.

Find a licensed Wildlife Control Operator professional in your state:

What About Controlling Mice and Rats?

Common rodents such as mice (Mus musculus) and rats (Rattus norvegicus, R. rattus) don’t have any special legal protections.

We recommend hiring a licensed pest control company to handle problems with mice and rats in your home. Licensed firms have the expertise to get the job done right and minimize risks to your home and family. See How to Hire a Pest Control Company.

If you determine you want to control rodents yourself, see for detailed instructions, including safety precautions:

What to Look for in A Wildlife control Company


  • Does the Wildlife Control Operator have a permit to handle wildlife such as squirrels? Does the company have experience working with and controlling the animal in question?
  • Verify they use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques. IPM examines the benefits and risks of control options to determine which method(s) would be best for your situation.
  • Is the company currently licensed, bonded, and insured?   

Check to make sure they have a license as a Wildlife Control Operator in your state:

Get Referrals for Reputable Companies

  • Ask people you trust with experience hiring a wildlife control operator for a recommendation.
  • Consider contacting the Better Business Bureau  to check whether complaints have been recorded with regard to any company.
  • Ask the company to provide references. Call the references they provide.
  • Be wary of door-to-door pest control advertising. Consider if you would have sought help to control a pest on your own.


  • Request free, no-obligation estimates from more than one company. Compare their rates and services.
  • Be wary of long-term contracts. Will you need ongoing help?
  • Does the company provide a guarantee for their work? What are the terms?


  • Ask what they do to mitigate human and environmental risks.    
  • Do they wear protective equipment when necessary?     
  • What measures will they take to prevent unnecessary exposures and accidents?

Collect ESSENTIAL Pest Management Records

  • Contact information of the company
  • Names of employees who will perform the work
  • Times and dates of inspections and treatments
  • Preparations you need to make before their treatment, if any
  • Precautions you need to take, if any

How to Measure Success in Wildlife Control Services

  • Successful pest control requires communication between you and the company.
  • Ask questions: What is the treatment process? What are the expected results? How long will it take?
  • Know  your responsibilities for making the treatment a success.
  • Contact the company or your state’s wildlife agency promptly to report any problems.


The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC)  can answer questions about pest control chemicals.
 1-800-858-7378 or  

Content provided by Weston Miller.

 Peer reviewed by OSU Department of Horticulture.

Photo of Weston Miller

Weston Miller

Project Founder and Content Writer

Weston Miller served as Community and Urban Horticulture faculty for Oregon State University Extension Service for Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties. Weston is an author for content for this website. He developed funding partnerships with Portland area agencies to initiate and build out the Solve Pest Problems website focused on this goals: