License Minnesota

Wildlife Rehabilitation Permits

Wildlife rehabilitation involves acquiring and caring for orphaned, sick and injured wild animals, primarily birds and mammals, for the purpose of releasing such animals back to the wild. The only legitimate purpose for wildlife rehabilitation is for the release of animals back to the wild.

Agency contact information:

Natural Resources (DNR), Minnesota Department of
500 Lafayette Rd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-6157 | (888) 646-6367 | (651) 296-5484 (TTY) | (800) 657-3929 (TTY)
Division of Ecological & Water Resources
Nongame Wildlife Program -500 Lafayette Rd., Box 25, St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 259-5148


Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife Rehabilitation

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages the state's natural resources. Hunting, fishing, state forests and parks, lakes, rivers and streams, boating and water safety, trails, snowmobiling, skiing, education, enforcement, wildlife management, lands and minerals are managed by the DNR.


Minnesota Rules 6244.


The permit renewal form is available on the DNR website, Ecological Resources, Nongame Wildlife, Wildlife rehabilitation permits section at Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit Renewal Application.


How to apply for permit

Before applying for permit, it is strongly recommended that applicant take introductory wildlife rehabilitation training courses, and get hands-on experience as a volunteer working with practicing rehabilitators. Wildlife rehabilitation training and hands-on experience with animals will insure the welfare of animals.

To obtain a DNR wildlife rehabilitation permit you must:

1. Contact the Regional Nongame Wildlife Specialist in applicant's
    area for information on where and when the written examination
    will be given.
2. Take and pass the written examination for particular class of permit.
3. Complete a permit application form and forward to applicant's
    Regional Nongame Wildlife Specialist.
4. Pass the Facility Inspection.

Classes of wildlife rehabilitation permitees

(NOTE: All permitees must comply with all local, state and federal rules and regulations governing wildlife rehabilitation. The following is a brief summary of the wildlife rehabilitation regulations and the levels of qualifications. For the complete laws, consult Minn. Rules  6244 and Federal Statutes 50-CRF.)

Novice Class

* Must have reasonable experience and skills at handling
   and care of animals.
* May possess only orphaned birds and orphaned rabbits,
   hares, squirrels, pocket gophers, rats, mice, voles,
   lemmings, beaver and porcupine for rehabilitation.
* May not possess any endangered or threatened birds
   or mammals, or hawks, eagles, harriers, osprey,
   falcons or owls for rehabilitation.

General Class

* Requires a minimum of two years as a Novice class
   permit holder.
* May possess orphaned, sick or injured birds, saw-whet
   and screech owls, kestrels and mammals for rehabilitation.
   Deer and bear may be possessed for rehabilitation if
   specified in the permit.
* May not possess any endangered or threatened bird or
   mammals, big game, or hawks, eagles, harriers, osprey,
   falcons or owls for rehabilitation.

Master Class

* Requires a minimum of four years as a General class
   permit holder.
* May possess orphaned, sick or injured birds and mammals,
   except endangered, threatened, and big game species, for
* Deer, bear, endangered and threatened species may be
   possessed for rehabilitation if specified in the permit.

Rehabilitation of migratory birds requires a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in addition to the Minnesota DNR permit.

Requirements common to all permit classes

* must be at least 18 years of age
* must pass a written examination for the particulars
   permit class
* must have adequate facilities for care and treatment
   of animals undergoing rehabilitation
* must have a licensed veterinary consultant to advise
   on care and treatment of animals

Mentoring program

Master class permittees helping novices
Novice class permit holders are required to have a master class permittee as a mentor. This is to ensure that novices will have an experienced rehabilitator to whom they can turn to answer questions, teach them various techniques, and provide direction in dealing with problems. A letter of recommendation from the mentor is needed in order for a novice to advance to the general class permit level.
Young squirrels in a rehabilitation center. 

Veterinary consultant 

DNR rules require all wildlife rehabilitation permit holders to have a licensed veterinary consultant. Beyond meeting the regulatory requirement, it is critical for the welfare of animals undergoing rehabilitation that permit holders have a good working relationship with their veterinary consultant. To a large extent, the quality of care you will be able to provide animals will depend on your choice of a veterinary consultant and the working relationship you maintain with that person. 

Possession of Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern species 

* Novice, general and master class permittees may possess endangered, threatened and special concern species for transport to another person authorized by permit to possess such animals for rehabilitation, or to a licensed veterinarian for emergency treatment only.

* Novice, general and master class permittees may possess special concern species for rehabilitation as allowed under the general species provisions of their permits.

* Only holders of master class rehabilitation permits may possess endangered and threatened species for rehabilitation by special provisions in their permits.

Continuing Education

Persons wishing to renew their permits will be required to first complete a certain amount of continuing education. Also, advancement to a higher class of permit (e.g., novice class to general class) requires completion of continuing education while in the lower class. Such continuing education is to help insure that permit holders keep current on changes and developments in wildlife rehabilitation and animal care in order to insure that they are handling and treating animals in a humane manner based on the most current knowledge in the field.

Record Keeping

All permittees are required to keep complete and up to date records on forms provided by the DNR. A copy of each year's record must be submitted to the department by January 31 of each year.



Period of Issuance: