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wildlife control operators are sometimes referred to as "NWCOs"
Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators
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tips for contracting a wildlife control service

Captured badger (Photo © Desert Wildlife Services)
Angry badger being extracted from burrow
Tucson, Arizona

The expanding human population and the habitat alteration (or loss) accompanying it are resulting in a progressive increase in the frequency of wildlife/human conflicts. As a result, each year thousands of calls from citizens seeking advice on how to deal with unwanted wild animals. Although laws give citizens substantive latitude to deal with problems, many are either unwilling or unable to handle human/wildlife conflicts.

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People who handle wildlife damage problems can be designated by a number of terms.

Typically these individuals are referred to as "NWCOs" (nuisance wildlife control operators) or simply "trappers." They must be licensed through the state, and conform to its regulations, they are not state employees. They operate as private enterprises and set their own fees.

Under the authority of their permit, wildlife control operators are able to trap, capture, and transport raccoons, opossums, skunks, etc. year-round. While most state regulations vary most Wildlife control operators do not handle issues involving deer, elk, cougar or bear. Those situations still must be handled by Fish and Wildlife Officers and require different services where conventional trapping/exclusion techniques will not apply.

While many conflicts can be solved with information about an animal's activities, or by adopting a more tolerant stance or doing some repair work, wildlife control operators are recommended for work that poses health or safety hazards, or work that requires special trap setting skills and knowledge of wildlife to minimize inhumane treatment of animals. This also insures that proper removal techiques are utilized to minimize the risk of a reoccuring problem.

The wildlife control business is a new industry and companies vary widely in expertise and professionalism. How do you tell whom you're dealing with?

Follow these guidelines to choose a company that suits your needs:

And, finally but importantly: Just because a company charges a lot of money for its services doesn't necessarily mean that it is better or more reputable than other companies. Be cautious of low quotes; you often get what you pay for. Discuss the situation with someone else and do the math to make your own estimate of what you are going to pay per hour for the job.

Lets look at some other services and industry prices for a comparison. If you call a plumber to fix a broken toilet, you would pay in the range of $200 to $500, depending on the level of service, for one service trip to your home. To have a boiler and chimney cleaned-$300 to $600. Need car repairs-$75 per hour. How about to remove bugs from your house-$175 to walk through your door! That does not include the actual work or supplies. For a total invertebrate (bug) removal contract you can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $300 to $1000 and up.

Consider the following:

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