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Non-lethal methods of handling the issue should be tried before removing the animal.

Do I Need a Permit?

Check out the PHOTO GALLERY for help with identification and to see at a glance when a permit is needed. The flowcharts below can also guide you on whether a permit is needed.

Removing Mammals

Controlling Nuisance Mammals in Illinois

If the mammal is a: Choose mammal type Bat Woodchuck Furbearer (Includes Raccoon, Opossum, Skunk, Beaver, Muskrat, Coyote, Foxes, Mink, River Otter, Badger, Weasels, and Bobcat) Rabbit Tree Squirrel (Includes Fox, Gray, Red, and Southern Flying Squirrels) Mole, Shrew, Gopher Small Mammal (Includes Mice, Rats, Voles) White-tailed Deer Contact your local animal control agency or the Illinois Department of Public Health (phone number 217-782-5830) if you find a bat in the living quarters of your home and think people or pets might have been exposed to the bat. Bats inside rooms will exit on their own. Close off the room and keep windows open and clear of obstructions overnight. Removal of bat colonies from buildings is best done by a licensed professional with experience. In urban or suburban areas, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recommends hiring a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (NWCO) to remove wildlife that are damaging property or causing risks to human health or safety. Landowners and tenants who want to remove wildlife themselves should contact an IDNR District Wildlife Biologist to see if they qualify for a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit. In rural areas, the IDNR encourages removal during open hunting and trapping seasons whenever possible. Exceptions include Red Squirrel and Southern Flying Squirrel which are both protected by continuous closed season (i.e., these species may not be taken under authority of a hunting or trapping license). Most small mammals may be killed or removed without a permit. This includes house mice, Norway rats, moles, voles, gophers, shrews, chipmunks, and thirteen-lined ground squirrels. A permit is needed to remove eastern woodrats, rice rats, and Franklin’s ground squirrels, which are listed as endangered or threatened species in Illinois. A permit is needed. Go to the Removal Permits Section at https://www.wildlifeillinois.org/gallery/mammals/deer-like/white-tailed-deer#removal_permits for more information.

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Removing Birds

Controlling Nuisance Birds in Illinois

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) provides federal legal protection for wild birds with the exception of species not native to North America (pigeon, European starling and house sparrow) and resident game birds (wild turkey). Protection under this act extends to bird feathers and other body parts as well as to eggs and active nests. Most birds, including resident game birds, are also protected by Illinois laws. You will need to obtain federal and/or state permits in order to legally remove most birds or nests with eggs or young. Endangered or threatened species may not be removed. Non-lethal control, such as repellents and frightening devices, should be tried before a removal permit will be issued.

If the bird is a: Choose bird type Pigeon, European Starling, House Sparrow Canada Goose Blackbird ((American Crow, Red-winged Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird) Excludes the state endangered Yellow-headed Blackbird.) Resident Game Bird (Grouse, Quail, Ring-necked Pheasant, Hungarian Partridge, Chukar Partridge, Wild Turkey) Other Species (Includes Songbirds, Woodpeckers, Birds of Prey, Shorebirds, Wading Birds, Ducks, Geese (except Canada geese), Vultures, Swans, etc.) Pigeon, European Starling, House Sparrow: A permit is not required to remove or kill these species. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act does not protect these three species since they are not native to North America. Resident Game Bird: Control outside the hunting season, or in situations where hunting is not allowed, requires a permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Resident Game Bird: Control via hunting, where allowed during regular hunting season, requires a hunting license and a habitat stamp. Turkey hunting requires an additional permit. State hunting regulations must be followed. Go to Controlling Nuisance Canada Geese in Illinois for more information. A permit is not needed to remove these birds if they are damaging property, crops, or creating a health hazard. An annual report must be submitted to the USFWS under CFR 21.43. Blackbirds can only be removed, if local law allows, by shooting with a shotgun or air gun, or by trapping. Pesticide use for blackbirds is highly regulated. Blackbirds can only be removed on the site where damage is occurring. Contact an Illinois Department of Natural Resources District Wildlife Biologist for more information. Federal and state permits are needed to remove these species or their active nests and eggs. Contact USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services in Springfield, Illinois. They will determine if the situation warrants removal of the bird and assist with applying for a permit if necessary. If a federal permit is issued, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will review the situation and may issue a state permit.

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Removing Canada Geese

Controlling Nuisance Canada Geese in Illinois

Do I need a permit to? Choose permit inquiry Disturb or Destroy Canada Geese Nests Remove Canada Geese in Urbana Areas Remove Canada Geese in Rural Areas Outside Hunting Season Remove Canada Geese in Rural Areas During Hunting Season Alter Canada Geese Habitat as a Deterrence Yes. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources may issue a permit (see footnote 1) to destroy Canada geese eggs or nests in some situations. Destroying eggs or nests without a permit is a Federal and State offense. No. A permit is not needed on land you own. Wetlands cannot be destroyed in order to deter geese without proper authorization. Usually permits to remove Canada geese during the hunting season are not issued. Control via hunting (where allowed) is encouraged and requires a hunting license3, state and federal waterfowl stamps, and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration (see footnote 4). Follow all current hunting regulations (see footnote 5). Yes. Removal of Canada Geese in urban areas is not allowed unless there is a direct threat of harm to human health or safety or damage to property.
  1. For more information about Canada Geese removal permits contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Urban Waterfowl Project Manager at (847) 608-3167
  2. Contact an Illinois Department of Natural Resources District Wildlife Biologist in agricultural damage situations.
  3. For a hunting license go to: www.dnr.illinois.gov/LPR or call (888) 673-7648
  4. To register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP:) Get the certification when purchasing your license or call (888) 673-7648
  5. For information about waterfowl hunting go to: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/WaterfowlHunting.aspx

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Removing Deer

Controlling Nuisance White-tailed Deer in Illinois

Deer Removal Permits are generally issued to landowners for properties that are not incorporated within municipal boundaries to help reduce damage caused by deer, where excessive damage to agricultural crops, nurseries, orchards, and/or vineyards is current and ongoing. Deer Population Control Permits are issued to agencies, organizations, associations and municipalities, but are not issued to individual landowners.

If the deer damage is: Locations of deer damage. On an individual's property in an urban area. In a municipality. In a rural area during hunting season. In a rural area outside hunting season. Solutions for deer damage based on location. For deer damage on individual's urban property, Deer Removal Permits are generally issued for properties that are not incorporated within municipal boundaries. They may be issued in incorporated areas if the property owner has received a written waiver of any pertinent firearm ordinances from the municipality. If the property is not within municipal boundaries, the landowner (or tenant) should contact the local IDNR District Wildlife Biologist to request a DRP. If the property is incorporated, contact the municipality first. For more information about Deer Removal Permits (DRPs) go to: https://wildlifeillinois.org/gallery/mammals/deer-like/white-tailed-deer/. Contact an Illinois Department of Natural Resources District Wildlife Biologist at https://wildlifeillinois.org/get-help/removing-wildlife/do-it-yourself/request-a-permit-from-the-illinois-department-of-natural-resources/. For municipalities, Deer Population Control Permits are issued to agencies, organizations, associations and municipalities, but are not issued to individual landowners. These permits authorize the reduction and/or control of deer numbers by nontraditional/non-hunting methods (e.g., sharpshooting). Contact the IDNR Urban Deer Project Manager at (847) 798-7620 about the DPCP application process. For more information about Deer Population Control Permits (DPCPs) go to: https://wildlifeillinois.org/gallery/mammals/deer-like/white-tailed-deer/. Municipalities may also be issued DRPs to control deer damage. Contact an Illinois Department of Natural Resources District Wildlife Biologist at https://wildlifeillinois.org/get-help/removing-wildlife/do-it-yourself/request-a-permit-from-the-illinois-department-of-natural-resources/. For deer damage in rural areas during hunting season, controlling deer numbers by allowing hunting on private property during all legal statewide deer hunting seasons can reduce deer-related damage. State hunting regulations must be followed. For more information on deer hunting regulations in Illinois go to: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/DeerHunting.aspx Control outside of the hunting season, or in situations where hunting is not allowed, requires a Deer Removal Permit issued by an IDNR District Wildlife Biologist. For more information about Deer Removal Permits (DRPs) go to: https://wildlifeillinois.org/gallery/mammals/deer-like/white-tailed-deer/. Contact an Illinois Department of Natural Resources District Wildlife Biologist at https://wildlifeillinois.org/get-help/removing-wildlife/do-it-yourself/request-a-permit-from-the-illinois-department-of-natural-resources/.

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Request a Removal Permit

If you need a permit, fill out this FORM to request one from your local Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) district wildlife biologist.

An animal removal permit will only be issued if the IDNR determines that the animal is causing substantial property damage or if there is a serious public health or safety concern. Permits are not issued to deal with inconveniences such as squirrels raiding feeders, woodpeckers drumming trees, or rabbits foraging in flower beds. While these situations are understandably frustrating for the homeowner, there are other methods that can be used in those situations.

Before you tackle this job, know that there are several reasons why it is often more convenient to hire a professional.