To allow landowners or managers to control populations of certain wildlife species as part of a program to help other species of wildlife.
The Commission has established an optional Predator Control Permit to aid in the management of private land. It shall be unlawful for Predator Control Permit holders to take bobcat, coyote, gray fox, opossum, raccoon, red fox, or striped skunk except in compliance with the following requirements:
Predator Control Permits may be issued to applicants complying with the following requirements:
1. Applicants must be 16 years or older and possess a valid hunting license.
2. If trapping, resident applicants must possess a Resident Trapper Permit and non-residents applicants must possess a Non-resident Trapper Permit.
3. Persons having their hunting/trapping privileges revoked are not eligible for a Predator Control Permit.
4. Applicant must be the owner, immediate family of owner, lessee or have written permission from landowner or lessee of the land upon which the permit will be used.
Permit holders must comply with the following requirements:
1. Permits are valid only on private land outside the limits of incorporated towns.
2. Permits are valid from July 1 through June 30.
3. Traps must be used in accordance with Codes 17.01, 17.02, and 17.03.
4. Firearms of any caliber may be used during day or night to take these species.
5. Artificial light may be used, except from a public road (ref. Code 05.03), to take these species at night.
Dogs may not be used during daylight hours in turkey season or when a firearms deer season is in progress in a zone where dogs are not allowed to hunt deer. Dogs may be utilized at night to take bobcat, opossum, raccoon, and striped skunk.
A Depredation Permit is available for those experiencing damage to crops or other property or loss of livestock that will allow the take of game and nongame animals by shooting during the day or night or with trapping. This permit is not issued online, and you will need to contact the nearest Commission regional office to obtain one. A hunting license is required for those with Depredation Permits. No permit is necessary to shoot nuisance nongame wildlife (with some exceptions), beaver, muskrat, nutria, coyote, opossum, raccoon, squirrel or striped skunk during the day or to trap and kill them when causing damage to personal property.
Predator Control Recommendations
Predator control will be most effective in helping ground nesting birds in areas where the habitat is already managed appropriately and food and cover are adequate. If you have poor habitat, predator control is not likely to make any meaningful change for the better. We encourage landowners to first allow trappers to trap on their property during the regular trapping season in the winter and with efforts focused in January/February to limit time for furbearers to recolonize vacated ranges before using a Predator Control Permit.
Predator control will work better on larger properties (>500-1,000 acres) as other animals will be likely to move in quickly after any removals are complete on smaller acreages. Trapping will be the most effective technique to use in reducing predator numbers. When trapping strictly for predator control, setting traps in March-May would be best for removing animals immediately prior to/during nesting season. You will need to commit to setting and checking traps for at least a month with at least 1-2 traps per 50 acres. While we don’t recommend feeding deer, if you are doing so set at least 3 traps at each feeder in addition to traps set in other areas on the property. Setting a few traps for a couple of days won’t help. Regulations regarding trap types, sizes, trap tags are the same as during the trapping season.
Predator control will need to be conducted annually. Reductions in predator populations are only temporary, even on larger properties, and other animals will move in quickly after removals.