NWCO Manual Use


Introduction to the Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators Manual for best practices in wildlife control

Handbook Contents | Best Practices for Wildlife Operators | How to use this Guide | Learning Objectives| New York DEC Goals | Understanding Nuisance Wildlife | The Business Side | Resources | ICWDM | Wildlife Species Information

How To Use This Manual

This manual was written in a format that works for many people. If it doesn’t match your learning style, ignore it and follow your own methods. How you learn the material doesn’t matter much; what counts is how well you master the subject.

Each major section follows this format:

  • Learning objectives
  • “Higher, deeper, further”: some optional activities to help you explore other perspectives about the topic
  • Review questions (also optional)
  • Chapter text
  • Resources
  • Wildlife Species Information

The web version of the manual displays the handbook text on the left, the contents on the right, and the section contents in colored navigation bar at the top of the page. Important general resources are also listed in the panel on the right. Each chapter has its own navigation bar that links to the table of contents, the chapter contents and the suggested resources for the chapter.

Chapters four and five cover a lot of material, so we’ve broken them into sections. You may wish to tackle them one section at a time.

If you’re an experienced NWCO, you may already know much of the material covered in this manual. If you’d like to save time, here’s a way to gauge if you’re ready to take the test. Review the table of contents. Feel that you know enough about these topics? Then read the learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter. Do they make sense to you? If so, then flip to the end of the chapter and try the review questions. If you can answer most of them correctly, then you may be ready to take the test right away. If you master those points, you should pass the test.

For those who want to work through the manual in depth, here are a few ideas that should help you work smarter, not harder. First, before you launch into the chapter, read the learning objectives. They may not make sense yet but even so, they’ll give you a sense of what’s coming and what matters most. When you’re done reading the chapter, read the learning objectives again. You should understand them now. If you stumble over one, re-read that section of the manual. If there’s a term you don’t know, check the Glossary. When you’re done reading the chapter, answer the review questions, which will help you decide if you mastered the material.

This manual is meant to be useful after you’ve passed your exam, too. The appendices include species accounts. Each account summarizes basic biological facts and control techniques for that species and was written specifically with NWCOs in mind, to answer questions that other sources don’t address. Use them with your favorite field guides and other materials. You’ll also find lists of equipment suppliers, professional organizations, government agencies, and resources such as websites, trade magazines, conferences, books, videos, and other materials.

Next Section Learning Objectives


Handbook Contents


Needs of People and wildlife

  • Six Questions NWCOs must ask

Federal Laws and Regulations

Safety Risks for Customers

Best Practices for Wildlife Control

Resources for NWCOs


This manual was written as a guide to train nuisance wildlife control operators in New York State. Laws and regulations may differ in your state. Always consult local and state laws before implementing wildlife damage management activities.

Contact Information

Contact your local Extension Office


Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
National Wildlife Control Operator’s Association
Wildlife Control


We thank the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for contributing this information.

Produced by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the NYS Integrated Pest Management Program.